Six students and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at North Paulding High School in Georgia, where a photo showing a hallway packed with maskless students went viral last week, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports.

Why it matters: The infections underscore the difficulty of reopening schools during the pandemic, which will require a rethinking of traditional routines in order to avoid outbreaks. The topic has become politically charged as President Trump pushes for schools to resume in-person classes in order to jump-start the economy.

The state of play: The North Paulding student who took the photo last week was briefly suspended by the school, which said she had violated its policy against filming students and posting to social media without their consent. The suspension was lifted on Friday amid national outcry, according to AJC.

  • The 15-year-old student, Hannah Watters, told the New York Times that she did not regret posting the photo: "My mom has always told me that she won’t get mad at us if we get in trouble as long as it’s ‘good trouble,’" she said, referencing the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.
  • Paulding County School District superintendent Brian Otott defended the school and claimed the photo was taken out of context, writing in a letter that students were only in the hallways briefly while switching classes. But he acknowledged: "There is no question that the photo does not look good.”

Go deeper: What a day at school looks like in a pandemic

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Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
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Millions of COVID-19 vulnerable adults tied to schools

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable to the coronavirus, and at least 63.2% of employees live with someone who is at increased risk, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: We know children can catch and spread the virus. This study emphasizes why minimizing risk if and when schools reopen is crucial.

Coronavirus cases increase in 17 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections ticked up slightly over the past week, thanks to scattered outbreaks in every region of the country.

Where it stands: The U.S. has been making halting, uneven progress against the virus since August. Overall, we're moving in the right direction, but we're often taking two steps forward and one step back.

Pandemic may drive up cancer cases and exacerbate disparities

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Doctors are concerned the coronavirus pandemic is going to lead to an uptick in cancer incidence and deaths — and exacerbate racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities seen with the disease.

Why it matters: The U.S. has made recent advances in lowering cancer deaths — including narrowing the gap between different race and ethnicities in both incidence and death rates. But the pandemic could render some of these advances moot.