Apr 23, 2020 - Health

Kansas governor: "Way too early to call" whether schools will be open in fall

Photo: Axios Events

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said Thursday during an Axios virtual event that it's "way too early to call" whether the states' schools will reopen in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Kelly was one of the fastest governors in the country to move to close school buildings at the start of the outbreak, making that decision in mid-March. She added that the state would "prepare for the worst" in anticipation of a second wave of the virus in the fall and be prepared whether school buildings were open or shut.

  • School closings have had a domino effect on students' and families' everyday lives, especially as many parents rely on schools for child care or to provide their children with meals.

The state of play: Kelly said that the decision to close schools was only taken after a group of advisers "worked all night, all day for about 4 days and put together a very comprehensive, very thorough package of learning tools for our kids."

  • She noted the concerns that schools provide a wealth of resources for children beyond education, but acted decisively to provide "certainty about what was going to happen."

Go deeper: Virus-driven shift to online classes brings home the digital divide

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Notre Dame president: Science alone "cannot provide the answer" to reopening

The Main Administration Building and Golden Dome on the campus of University of Notre Dame before a football game in 2018. Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins wrote in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday that science alone "cannot provide the answer" regarding the school's decision to bring students back to campus for its fall semester.

The state of play: Jenkins said that the decision also hinged on "moral value," arguing that "the mark of a healthy society is its willingness to bear burdens and take risks for the education and well-being of its young. Also worthy of risk is the research that can enable us to deal with the challenges we do and will face."

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Go deeper (2 min. read)ArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - Health

New research suggests coronavirus spread began in U.S. in mid-February

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New research suggests that the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state was likely started by someone who came to the U.S. in mid-February, not by the first confirmed infection in the country, STAT reports.

Why it matters: The research indicates that the U.S. could have been more successful in mitigating community spread of the virus had it acted sooner.