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The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing problems with education equity in the United States, Common Sense Media CEO Jim Steyer said at an Axios event Tuesday.

Why it matters: A survey by Common Sense Media, an educational non-profit, found that black and Hispanic teens were more likely than white teens to say they were worried about falling behind in their studies as a result of in-person classes being canceled.

  • There is an additional online learning gap that has become even more obvious during the coronavirus, as 12 million children do not have at-home connectivity, Steyer said.

Yes, but: Steyer said that the coronavirus crisis also presents an opportunity to close that digital divide, noting that there are three ways he believes the U.S. can make "major strides" in confronting the issue: providing devices for all kids, increasing connectivity in their homes and ensuring they have access to high quality content.

The big picture: Steyer said he doesn't think a full virtual experience will ever replace classroom teaching, noting the importance of in-person relationships, but argued that "we're never going to go back to the same form of education that we had before the epidemic."

  • "I think we're going to see a blend of certain kinds of distance learning and online learning within class experiences," he said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Aug 5, 2020 - Health

Chicago Public Schools to begin school year with fully remote classes

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Chicago Public Schools will start the next school year with fully remote classes, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: CPS is the third-largest public school district in the country, serving 361,000 students in over 600 schools. The move will likely avoid a possible strike from the city's teachers union, which had called for the school year to start remotely.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.