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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Kids will already suffer this fall if they can't return to classrooms, and for millions of them it also threatens their access to nutritious food.

Why it matters: School is not just a place for learning; it's also a place where children get fed. Millions of children who don't go to school on any given day risk going hungry at home.

The big picture: 13.9 million children are suffering from food insecurity, up from 2.5 million in 2018 and 5.1 million at the height of the Great Recession in 2008, according to Lauren Bauer of the Hamilton Project, who used data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • "About 3 in 10 Black households with children and 1 in 4 Hispanic households with children did not have sufficient food due to a lack of resources in June," she writes.

Between the lines: School districts rushed to create temporary food solutions for kids when they closed this spring.

  • But many of those districts now face budget crunches and other issues — and kids are bound to fall through the cracks.

Among the broad consequences in terms of academic performance, food-insecure children are more likely to have to repeat a grade and have lower test scores than their food-secure counterparts.

  • A Canadian study found that "child hunger is a significant and independent predictor of youth dropping out of high school, even when multiple effects within the poverty pathway are considered."

The bottom line: The effects of childhood hunger last beyond graduation and well into the workforce.

  • What's next: Former VP Joe Biden called on President Trump and Congress to pass a $30 billion emergency package for public schools.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 27 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.