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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.

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.

31 mins ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.