Feb 12, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 411 words, a 1.5-minute read.

1 big thing: CDC says in-person school can be safe

Lear Preston, 4, takes virtual classes this week on Chicago's South Side. Photo: Shafkat Anowar/AP

School reopenings should be a priority over restaurants and other nonessential businesses, the CDC recommended today.

  • The big picture: 64% of elementary and middle school students are already seeing some in-person instruction, reports Axios' Marisa Fernandez, citing Burbio's School Opening Tracker.

Aside from masking and hygiene, the Education Department suggests using cafeterias and auditoriums for classes, staggering bell schedules and assigning one seat per row on buses.

  • In-person teaching should be prioritized before sports or other extracurriculars.
  • Districts with lower-income students or populations with disabilities should be prioritized for in-person instruction.

Families of students at risk for severe illness can opt-out of in-person instruction.

  • Teachers should be prioritized for vaccination, but it should not be mandatory for reopening.

The bottom line: The science says K-12 in-person school attendance isn't a primary driver of transmission. But high community rates of COVID-19 increase the likelihood that infections could be transmitted within a school setting.

2. Trump team rests
Screenshot from today's impeachment trial. Photo: congress.gov via Getty Images

America will likely know former President Trump's fate by mid-afternoon tomorrow, reports Axios' Alayna Treene.

  • Democratic leaders told senators that they expect to hold the Q&A portion of the trial tonight, then recess until 10 a.m. tomorrow, three Democratic aides told Axios.
  • They expect a final vote around 3 p.m.

Trump's team used just 3 of their 16 hours before resting their case.

  • Their bottom line: "It is constitutional cancel culture," said Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen.

Go deeper: Updates from today

3. Catch up quick
  1. More Cuomo revelations: A top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told lawmakers the Cuomo administration rebuffed a request for data on coronavirus deaths in nursing homes because they feared it would "be used against us" by federal investigators egged on by then-President Trump. Go deeper.
  2. The household wealth-to-income ratio hit a new high because of the increase in housing prices and the booming stock market. Go deeper.
  3. Moderate Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said a minimum wage hike shouldn't be put in the COVID stimulus bill. Go deeper.
  4. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley does not believe Trump will run for federal office again: "I don't think he can. He's fallen so far." Go deeper.
  5. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap examines a $44 million vaccination appointment system that most states are backing away from. Listen here.
4. 1 smile to go: Biden valentines
Decorations on the North Lawn of the White House. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

First lady Jill Biden was behind a pre-Valentine's Day surprise for White House correspondents when they showed up for today's pre-dawn live shots, AP reports.

  • “I just wanted some joy,” the first lady told reporters during a surprise visit to the lawn with President Biden and their two German shepherds.

The oversized hearts were erected behind the row of cameras set up for White House reporters’ live shots and will feature prominently on news channels across America all day.

  • One of the hearts was signed, “Love, Jill.”