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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Large school districts that were in a hybrid reopening phase reverted back to virtual learning in response to growing community spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: Both Boston and Chicago's public school districts closed for in-person learning as health officials investigate what caused the spikes in nearby suburbs.

  • San Francisco public school officials decided Wednesday not to bring students back into the classroom before the end of the calendar year, in part due to limited coronavirus testing capacity.

Why it matters: The nation's largest school systems went virtual this fall, and are juggling a slew of social, economic, health and political factors when it comes to resuming classes for in-person learning — and keeping them open.

  • Early data collected on smaller school districts shows schools so far have not contributed to community transmission.

The other side: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released updated maps Wednesday that clear 120 schools in New York City to reopen of 169 that were initially closed, Chalkbeat reports.

Go deeper

Romney: Trump's lack of leadership on COVID-19 is "a great human tragedy"

Sen. Mitt Romney and President Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) told CNN Thursday that President Trump's lack of leadership during the coronavirus pandemic is "a great human tragedy."

Driving the news: Trump has largely stayed silent on the country's worsening pandemic in recent weeks, even as the U.S. experienced a record daily death toll and hospitalizations surpassed 100,000 for the first time. Instead, the president has focused much of his public commentary on pushing baseless claims of widespread election fraud.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.