Alhambra Unified School District. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Public schools in Los Angeles and San Diego, the two largest public school districts in California, will not be sending children back to campuses next month and will instead administer online classes due to concerns over the ongoing threat of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The two districts, which together enroll about 825,000 students, are the largest in the country thus far to announce that they will not return to in-person learning in the fall, even as the Trump administration aggressively pushes for schools to do so.

  • Both President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have threatened to withhold federal funds from schools that don't reopen, with DeVos arguing on Sunday that the money should be redirected to families who can use it to find other options for their children.
  • California, one of several states that have seen a surge of coronavirus infections in recent weeks, reported a seven-day average on Sunday of more than 8,500 new cases per day.

What they're saying: "This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August," the school districts said in a joint statement Monday.

  • "Most of all, this decision will impact our students in ways that researchers will take years to understand."
  • "The federal government must provide schools with the resources we need to reopen in a responsible manner."

By the numbers: United Teachers Los Angeles said Friday that 83% of 18,000 members polled said schools should not physically reopen in August. LA schools employ about 75,000 people.

The big picture: Some school districts like New York City are exploring a hybrid model of learning, in which students rotate their days between in-person and online classes.

  • The Los Angeles and San Diego districts will continue the online instruction they have been providing since mid-March. Several other large districts, including Santa Clara, Oakland and San Bernardino, have already established that their classes will remain online for now.
  • Yes, but: District officials have noted that plans currently in place are dependent on their regions' local infection rates and testing and that schools must be ready to change on a whim.

Go deeper: How Trump's push to reopen schools could backfire

Go deeper

New Jersey governor allows schools to reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Phil Murphy in December 2019. Phoot: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Wednesday he will sign an executive order allowing private and public K-12 schools and universities to reopen for in-person learning in September.

The big picture: New York and New Jersey have now authorized school districts to begin reopening. Both states and Connecticut ordered travelers from 31 states to quarantine before crossing their state borders after they were able to manage the pandemic.

Aug 12, 2020 - Health

Poll: America's confidence in public school system jumps amid pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's confidence in the public school system rose by 12 points this year to 41% — its highest point since 2004, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Why it matters: "Double-digit increases in confidence for any institution are exceedingly rare," Gallup notes. The jump comes as teachers, administrators and parents are still figuring out how to safely get kids back to school in the midst of a global pandemic, as the U.S. reports the most coronavirus infections and fatalities in the world.

21 hours ago - Health

We're doing a lot less coronavirus testing

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. is cutting back on coronavirus testing. Nationally, the number of tests performed each day is about 17% lower than it was at the end of July, and testing is also declining in hard-hit states.

Why it matters: This big reduction in testing has helped clear away delays that undermined the response to the pandemic. But doing fewer tests can also undermine the response to the pandemic.