Data: Axios reporting; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 57,000 K-12 schools across the U.S. have closed or will close for up to weeks at a time due to the novel coronavirus, affecting at least 25 million students.

The big picture: As school systems face pressure to close, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines admit the closures could significantly pose their own risks and negatively affect the academic outcomes for students.

  • Hong Kong, which closed its schools, has not had more success in reducing spread than places like Singapore that did not.

The state of play: Children do not appear to be at risk for the virus, but there is concern that they could pass it on to older, more vulnerable individuals. Practicing good hygiene and addressing the situation in calm language can help prevent panic or anxiety among children.

  • Depending on whether a positive case was detected in a school district or building, counties can assess the appropriate amount of time off — from two to four weeks or, if needed, four to eight weeks, per the CDC guidelines posted last week.
  • Still, if districts or even entire states decide to include school closures in their mitigation plans, some children can be at a disadvantage if they depend on free-reduced lunch programs for their main meal or if they don't have access to the internet.

What they're doing:

  • In San Francisco, recreation centers and libraries will halt regular programming and operate as emergency care facilities to provide low-income families with recreation, learning and food.
  • After much debate, New York City's public schools system will close after it's become largest hot spot for coronavirus cases in the U.S.
  • The Department of Education announced several measures last week that would temporarily relax federal accountability standards for states on annual testing.

What's next: "While we have data that can contribute to decisions about when to dismiss schools, there is almost no available data on the right time to re-start schools," per the CDC.

The bottom line: In classrooms, children can ideally be graded on an equal level. But as teachers depend on millions of students to learn from home, the factors that come with that new reality — like inadequate meals, lack of internet access and general distractions — could sink some students' performance levels.

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 31,759,233 — Total deaths: 973,904 Total recoveries: 21,811,742Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 6,939,645 — Total deaths: 201,861 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,616,779Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses

President Trump repeatedly refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden, saying at a press briefing: "We're going to have to see what happens."

The big picture: Trump has baselessly claimed on a number of occasions that the only way he will lose the election is if it's "rigged," claiming — without evidence — that mail-in ballots will result in widespread fraud. Earlier on Wednesday, the president said he wants to quickly confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the election.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!