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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 38 mins ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

2 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.