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Students cleaning a classroom in March in Provo, Utah. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued a public school face mask mandate on Thursday for all K-12 students, faculty, staff and visitors for the fall term to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: States across the U.S. are currently wrestling with how to get kids back to school this coming academic year amid increasing COVID-19 caseloads and strained budgets.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all school staff wear masks and students stay six feet apart at all times.

What they're saying: "Some flexibility will be given to school boards and principals to accommodate younger children, and we call on those local leaders to use common sense in the flexibility they use," Herbert wrote on Twitter.

  • "I believe in you, Utah. So let us all wash our hands, wear our masks, and put our shoulder to the wheel to get this done."

The big picture: Herbert said the state reported 722 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, its highest single-day increase so far.

  • He added that Utah's seven-day average was 576 cases daily as of Wednesday. He challenged the state to reduce its average to fewer than 500 new cases by August 1.

Go deeper: The coming political brawl over reopening schools

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2020 - Health

Davidson freezes college tuition because of COVID-19

Davidson, the private college in North Carolina, will freeze tuition and fees next year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Carol Quillen told students via email.

Why it matters: It's the school's first freeze in 25 years. Davidson has need-blind admission and costs just over $70,000 a year (the school's average financial aid package is roughly $49,000 a year).

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
Oct 17, 2020 - Health

Over 1,000 current and ex-CDC officers decry the "politicization" of the agency

President Trump calls on reporters during a news conference with White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 1,000 current and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officers have signed an open letter, decrying "the ominous politicization" of the agency throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The CDC is typically at the forefront of the U.S. response to public health crises, but the agency has largely been sidelined during the COVID-19 outbreak, with the White House attempting to control messaging, which, at times, contradicts scientific evidence.

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