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A preschooler drops off a specimen. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Biden administration will funnel more than $12 billion from the American Rescue Plan toward COVID-19 testing in K-12 schools, as part of a push to reopen the remaining closed districts for in-person learning, the Department of Health and Human Services will announce Wednesday.

Why it matters: About 20% of the country's students are still fully remote. Though the number of reopened schools grows each week, many still aren't at full capacity or are struggling to convince some parents and teachers to return to the classrooms.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also release new guidance Wednesday on asymptomatic screening tests in schools, workplaces and congregate settings.
  • CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that the agency is looking at potentially cutting social distancing guidelines from 6 feet to 3 feet to help more kids get back to school.

The big picture: Several school districts across the U.S. have been investing in their own surveillance testing protocols to ease worried parents and teachers.

  • President Biden in January pledged to help K-8 schools reopen within his first 100 days in office.

By the numbers: As a part of the newly signed $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, $10 billion in funding will go toward screening tests to help schools reopen.

  • $2.25 billion will be directed toward scaling up testing in underserved populations.

What they're saying: “COVID-19 testing is critical to saving lives and restoring economic activity,” Norris Cochran, acting secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

What to watch: Walensky and White House testing coordinator Carole Johnson will elaborate on the plans Wednesday afternoon.

Go deeper

Pelosi announces bid for re-election ahead of 2022 midterms

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her bid for re-election Tuesday, amid a deluge of other safe-seat Democrats announcing their retirements.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s announcement follows months of speculation — despite her denials — that she was preparing to leave Congress.

Scoop: Qatar emir to visit White House on Monday

The emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, leaves the White House after meeting President Trump in 2019. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The emir of Qatar will meet with President Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss Afghanistan as well as contingency plans to provide natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Europe's reliance on Russia for 40% of its natural gas is undermining Biden's attempts to coordinate "massive" sanctions to be imposed from both sides of the Atlantic if Russia invades. The White House wants Qatar to help ensure European countries can enforce tough sanctions without risking an energy crisis.

Biden: There won't be "American forces moving into Ukraine"

President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that he does not foresee U.S. troops moving into Ukraine.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come as tensions between Russia and Ukraine persist, and a Russian invasion of Ukraine appears increasingly likely.