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Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Federal agencies no longer need to limit the number of employees allowed in workspaces, the Biden administration told agency heads Thursday.

Why it matters: "The guidance is likely to be closely watched in the private sector, as the federal government is the country’s largest employer, with roughly 2.1 million employees," the Washington Post writes.

  • Federal agencies have been operating at 25% in-person capacity since January.

Details: Though the U.S. government has said employers have the right to mandate vaccination, the Biden administration told agencies they should not require federal workers to disclose vaccination status.

  • The administration is retaining a policy that allows "maximum telework flexibilities."
  • Agencies’ "eventual post-pandemic operating state may differ in significant ways from [their] pre-pandemic operating state,” officials wrote in the memo to department heads.
  • Federal agencies are charged with finalizing reentry plans by July 19.

Worth noting: "The new policy appears aimed at striking a balance between showing the public the administration has turned a corner on the pandemic and giving federal workers and the unions that represent them — key constituencies for President Biden — flexibility to make child-care arrangements and return to work slowly," the Post reports.

  • "The incremental approach may also reflect a wariness that Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of the country vaccinated by July is optimistic, particularly in conservative states where there are many federal offices."

Go deeper

Mapped: Afghan refugees headed to 46 states

Expand chart
Data: White House; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

The Biden administration notified governors and mayors on Wednesday of the number of Afghan evacuees their state is expected to receive in the coming weeks, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: Although their exact immigration pathway is still unclear, an initial group of 37,000 Afghans will soon be headed to states across the country after many faced harrowing journeys from Afghanistan.

Judge temporarily blocks South Carolina ban on school mask mandates

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked South Carolina's ban on mask mandates in schools, ruling that it discriminated against students with disabilities and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Why it matters: As mask bans extend to public schools around the country, parents and disability rights activists have sounded alarm bells. The ruling may signal the outcomes of legal fights playing out across the country.

DeSantis takes legal action against Biden efforts on immigration

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took legal action on Tuesday to try to stop the Biden administration's immigration plans.

Why it matters: The Republican governor, who is running for re-election next year and is possibly eyeing a 2024 presidential bid, is picking a high-profile fight with Biden while re-upping his hardline stance on immigration.