Medical workers handling coronavirus test samples in Houston on July 17. Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Texas on Friday gave public schools the ability to offer online-only instruction for up to the first eight weeks of the school year to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, AP reports.

Why it matters: Texas has effectively shut down campuses across the state until November. The Trump administration has threatened to withhold funding from schools that do not fully reopen at the start of the academic year, although it's not clear what authority it has to unilaterally do so.

By the numbers: Texas reported 10,256 new cases and 174 new fatalities from coronavirus on Friday, its highest single-day casualty count since the start of the pandemic.

  • Over the past five days, 543 people in the state have died from coronavirus, while 10,632 are currently hospitalized for the virus.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) also announced guidance for public schools on Friday.

  • California schools in high-risk counties cannot reopen for in-person learning unless their risk status has been downgraded by the California health department for two consecutive weeks.

Go deeper: The coming political brawl over reopening schools

Go deeper

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
Oct 21, 2020 - World

Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases

Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Spain exceeded 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Western Europe to hit the milestone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Spain, which reported 16,973 cases over the previous 24 hours, was one of the most affected countries when the pandemic started, and cases have been on the rise since September, according to NPR.

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

CDC changes "close contact" guidance for COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep LAGO / AFP, Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who is considered a “close contact” of an individual infected with the coronavirus in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The update is likely to pose challenges for schools, workplaces and other group settings as the U.S. prepares for a third coronavirus wave. It also reinforces the importance of masks in the face of President Trump’s repeated attempts to belittle their efficacy.