On Wednesday morning, Axios Cities Correspondent Kim Hart discussed the impact of COVID-19 on education, from school reopening with Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, the homework gap with Khan Academy CEO Sal Khan and the importance of broadband in remote learning with FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

Gov. Kelly was one of the fastest governors in the country to move to close school buildings at the start of the outbreak and highlighted the collective efforts of education experts around the state.

  • How the state of Kansas took immediate action: "We had about 40 of the best and brightest teachers from across the state of Kansas with some administrators and some counselors come together and [create] a very comprehensive, very thorough package of learning tools for our kids. They thought beyond just what kids needed to learn, but also what other functions do our schools provide for our kids?"
  • On whether schools will be open come fall: "We fully expect that there will be a second wave of this virus come in the fall...It's way too early to call whether or not we'll actually open the schools' buildings in the fall...We will anticipate the worst and be ready to continue online academic packets to go and school nutrition programs to go if that's what we need to do."

Sal Khan discussed how Khan Academy and other online learning platforms are stepping up in this nationwide shift to online learning.

  • On how online learning has been used to fill in educational gaps: "Half of our usage is formal usage inside of schools where it allows teachers to support, say, 30 students in a classroom who all need to learn at different [rates]. We know that every student has different gaps...And they need an opportunity to fill in those gaps."

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai discussed the importance of broadband during the coronavirus pandemic, underscoring its use in remote learning and telehealth services.

  • On progress the FCC has made since 2016: "If you look at the statistics, for example, from 2016 to 2018, the number of Americans who didn't have access to 25 megabits per second broadband...fell by 30 percent. The number of Americans with access to 250 megabits per second broadband increased in 2018 alone by some 47 percent. The number of rural Americans with that access tripled from [2016 to 2018]."

Thank you to our partner Heartland Forward and our sponsor the Walton Family Foundation.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Jul 29, 2020 - Health

Reopening schools is a lose-lose dilemma for many families of color

Reproduced from KFF Health Tracking Poll; Note: Share includes responses for "very/somewhat worried", income is household income; Chart: Axios Visuals

Children of color have the most to lose if schools remain physically closed in the fall. Their families also have the most to lose if schools reopen.

Why it matters: The child care crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic is horrible for parents regardless of their race or income, but Black and Latino communities are bearing the heaviest burden.

What the 2020 election means for science

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 presidential election presents two stark paths for the direction of future-focused scientific research.

Why it matters: Science is a long game, with today's breakthroughs often stemming from research carried out decades ago, often with government help. That means the person who occupies the White House over the next four years will help shape the state of technology for decades into the future.

Zeta, now a Category 2 Hurricane, makes landfall on Louisiana coast

The probable path of Zeta, per the National Hurricane Center. Photo: NHC/NOAA

Zeta, classified as a "significant" Category 2 hurricane, made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana on Wednesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday. The hurricane is producing 110-mph maximum sustained winds and stronger gusts. The core of Zeta — including its destructive eyewall — moved ashore near Cocodrie.