no longer have to shut temporarily whenever two unrelated virus cases are detected.

Many parents with children in schools said that the rule disrupted learning and created an environment of daily uncertainty. Schools have closed multiple times, sometimes opening for just a few days at a time. In recent weeks, closures have accelerated as middle and high school students returned after months of all-remote learning.

Epidemiologists and medical experts told ProPublica and the education news site Chalkbeat that New York’s two-case rule was arbitrary and had led to unnecessary closures. They called on the mayor to adjust it. There has been very little virus transmission in the city’s classrooms since they reopened last fall.

“The way to beat Covid is not by closing schools excessively, but by suppressing transmission both inside and outside of schools,” Dave A. Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, said during a news conference on Monday.

three feet apart.


The number of students across the country attending school in person has increased significantly in recent weeks. One reason: Governors from both political parties have decided to prod, or in some cases force, schools back in session.

In Ohio, DeWine offered school districts a deal: early access to vaccines for their staff members if they committed to opening classrooms by March 1.

In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee banned fully virtual instruction starting in April.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker required most elementary schools to offer full-time in-person instruction by April 5, and most middle schools by April 28.

Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Connecticut and Bates College in Maine.

  • The University of Richmond walked back a decision to keep the names of people associated with slavery and segregation on campus buildings.

  • Almost 100,000 students in Massachusetts cannot get transcripts from the state’s public colleges and universities because of overdue balances.

  • Lake Superior State University, in Michigan, will offer the first scholarship in the U.S. to study the chemistry of marijuana.

  • George Soros will give Bard College $500 million, one of the largest gifts ever to U.S. higher education.

  • A good read from The Times: Community colleges represent a low-cost path to an education. Now they’re struggling, along with the working-class students they aim to educate.


  • Youth sports are ramping up in many parts of the country. But without a vaccine for children, we still need to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

    Jenny Marder broke it down. Here are a few key points.

    Most important, the founding director of a girls’ soccer club said, find a way to safely “help them have some joy.”


    Email your thoughts to educationbriefing@nytimes.com.

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    W.H.O. and Critics Look at What’s Next to Investigate Virus Origins

    The joint international and Chinese mission organized by the World Health Organization on the origins of Covid released its report last week suggesting that for almost every topic it covered, more study was needed. What kind of study and who will do it is the question.

    The report suggested pursuing multiple lines of inquiry, focused on the likely origin of the coronavirus in bats. It concluded that the most likely route to humans was through an intermediate animal, perhaps at a wildlife farm. Among future efforts could be surveys of blood banks to look for cases that could have appeared before December 2019 and tracking down potential animal sources of the virus in wildlife farms, the team proposed.

    Critics of the report have sought more consideration of the possibility that a laboratory incident in Wuhan could have led to the first human infection. A loosely organized group of scientists and others who have been meeting virtually to discuss the possibility of a lab leak released an open letter this week, detailing several ways to conduct a thorough investigation. It called for further action, arguing that “critical records and biological samples that could provide essential insights into pandemic origins remain inaccessible.”

    Much of the letter echoes an earlier release from the same group detailing what it saw as the failures of the W.H.O. mission. This second letter is more specific in the kind of future investigations it proposes.

    the report issued last week, as it dismissed out of hand the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, calling it extremely unlikely.

    but mink have. China has a thriving mink industry but has not reported any mink farm infections to the W.H.O.

    Dr. Lucey said he referred to the lack of information about China’s mink farms as “The Silence of the Mink.”

    As to human studies, the report suggests that testing blood in blood bank donations made from September to December 2019 could be very useful. The first recorded outbreak occurred in the Huanan Market in Wuhan in December 2019.

    Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said that the W.H.O. mission had asked the Wuhan blood bank system to hang on to donated blood from that time period. That was agreed to, she said, and now the Chinese are seeking permission to test the blood for antibodies to the virus that could help to pin down exactly when the virus first appeared in humans. If such studies were extended, it could help with location as well.

    Dr. Koopmans said that she hoped studies of blood donations could be extended to other provinces and regions outside of China. “My perfect study design would be that you include regions in Italy and France where there were possible indications of the presence of the virus before December,” she said.

    She said that standardized tests should be done for all regions in question. That in turn might point to isolated pockets of early appearances of the virus. Wildlife tests in such areas might be productive.

    Dr. Koopmans defended the W.H.O. team’s mission, saying it was always intended to be a scientific study with Chinese colleagues. If an investigation is the goal, she said, “you need to do an inspection or something, but that’s not a scientific study.”

    On that the critics agree. One of the most telling sections of the letter from W.H.O. critics is about the composition of a team investigating Chinese labs. If the ground rules for a second mission are rewritten, the letter says, the W.H.O. should “ensure the incorporation of a wider skill-set in the international experts team, including biosafety and biosecurity experts, biodata analysts and experienced forensic investigators.”

    Almost at the very end of the report, in discussing what should be done to learn more about the likelihood of a laboratory incident, the report recommends: “Regular administrative and internal review of high-level biosafety laboratories worldwide. Follow-up of new evidence supplied around possible laboratory leaks.”

    Mr. Metzl said he couldn’t agree more and said that in the future, such review should include U.S. labs. But, he said, the pandemic is of utmost urgency and he wants to start right away with China. Still, he and the other signers of the two letters, he said, are highly concerned with virus research around the world.

    Whereas many virologists and disease specialists want to collect and study viruses as a way to learn more and be more prepared for outbreaks, Mr. Metzl said he and others wanted more restrictions on virus studies.

    “It absolutely makes sense to establish a global regulatory system overseeing aggressive work with dangerous or deadly pathogens everywhere,” he said.

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    MLB All-Star Game Moved To Colorado Amid Uproar Over Georgia Voting Law

    Major League Baseball changed the location of the game from Georgia to Colorado. That’s puts a state with a history of expansive voting access in the spotlight, after Georgia passed restrictive laws.

    STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

    Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver. That move came in protest against Georgia’s new law that limits access to voting for many people. Republicans favor new voter restrictions after losing the 2020 election. And they have now responded to Major League Baseball with a new disinformation campaign. They’ve said Colorado’s voter laws are just as restrictive as Georgia’s. In reality, Colorado voting laws are among the most inclusive in the country. Here’s Andrew Kenney of Colorado Public Radio.

    ANDREW KENNEY, BYLINE: Major League Baseball said that they chose Colorado as the new site of the All-Star game for purely logistical reasons. The Colorado Rockies already had a strong plan for hotels and events and security. But it was hard to ignore the politics of it. Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, said that if the standard was the election system, moving the game to Colorado was hypocritical. He made the point on Fox News that Georgia has 17 days of in-person early voting.

    (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

    BRIAN KEMP: Including two optional Sundays. Colorado has 15 is what I’m being told. They also have a photo ID requirement. So doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

    KENNEY: Colorado does not require a photo ID. Kemp was correct that Colorado has fewer days for voters to physically show up at the polls. But since the state started mailing all voters ballots in 2014, most people here don’t vote in person.

    HILLARY HALL: Ninety-five percent of our voters will use a mail ballot.

    KENNEY: Hillary Hall is the former clerk of Boulder County and is now a vote by mail advocate with the National Vote At Home Institute. She says that when people do go to the polls, it’s often because they didn’t get a ballot at home or simply personal preference.

    HALL: In our state, early voting is really the safety net to allow people who aren’t already registered or who have moved or any of those sorts of things to participate through early voting.

    KENNEY: Colorado is one of a few states that mails out ballots to every registered voter weeks ahead of time. Voters can then mail them back or drop them in one of hundreds of official 24-hour drop boxes. Georgia’s new law, on the other hand, will make it harder to vote by absentee mail ballot. A New York Times analysis found the new law is set to cut the number of drop boxes around Atlanta by some 75%. Colorado election leaders say the differences between the two systems are evident. While Georgia is known for hours-long voting lines, Colorado is second in the nation for turnout. Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold says the All-Star game is another chance to celebrate how her state votes.

    JENA GRISWOLD: So I think it’s really exciting, of course, that we’re going to have the All-Star game but also the ability to highlight how elections can be for all American voters.

    KENNEY: Major League Baseball’s All-Star game is scheduled for July 13 in Denver.

    For NPR News, I’m Andrew Kenney.

    (SOUNDBITE OF GIANTS’ “JOPLIN, MISSOURI”)

    Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

    NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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    Medical Support Coordinator Testifies in Chauvin Trial

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    Medical Support Coordinator Testifies in Chauvin Trial

    Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains Minneapolis police officers on providing medical care, said at the trial of Derek Chauvin that bystanders could make it easier for officers to miss signs that a detainee is in distress.

    “You talked about how sometimes E.M.S. will stage off site until the scene is clear and safe, correct?” “Correct.” “And have you heard the term load-and-go?” “Yes.” “Can you describe for the jury what that is?” “Load-and-go, that would be, I think it’s more like an informal term that’s used with first responders. That essentially means that as soon as they’re going to be arriving, it’s a priority to get that person into the ambulance as soon as possible and get en route to the hospital as soon as possible.” “And what about people in the area? Could that affect an E.M.T.’s decision to load-and-go?” “Yes.” “How so?” “If you had a very hostile or volatile crowd, I know it sounds unreasonable, but bystanders do occasionally attack E.M.S. crews. So sometimes just getting out of the situation is kind of the best way to defuse it.” “And have you ever had to perform emergency services in a just not even a hostile crowd, just a loud, excited crowd?” “Yes.” “Is that, in your experience, more or less difficult?” “It’s incredibly difficult.” “Does it make it more likely that you may miss signs that a patient is experiencing something?” “Yes.” “And so the distraction can actually harm the potential care of the patient?” “Yes.”

    Recent episodes in Chauvin Trial and Floyd Protests

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    Justin Fairfax Accuses Terry McAuliffe of Treating Him Like Emmett Till

    Terry McAuliffe, the leading candidate in this year’s Democratic primary for Virginia governor, faced a flurry of attacks from his rivals at a debate on Tuesday night as they aimed to diminish his broad support from Black voters. In the most extraordinary broadside, the state’s Black lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, accused Mr. McAuliffe of treating him like George Floyd or Emmett Till after Mr. Fairfax was accused of sexual assault by two women in 2019.

    Mr. McAuliffe, a white former governor of the state who has the backing of many of the state’s top Black elected officials, issued a public call that year for Mr. Fairfax to resign.

    Mr. Fairfax’s remarks on Tuesday — in which he compared himself to two Black people killed in episodes of white violence — were the most pointed attempt by one of the three Black candidates in the race to draw a racial distinction between them and Mr. McAuliffe, who is aiming to reclaim the office he held from 2014 to 2018.

    The accusation came at the end of the debate, the first for the five Virginia Democrats running for governor. Responding to a question asking the candidates to envision the future of law enforcement in Virginia, Mr. Fairfax said theoretical descriptions were unnecessary because he was a living embodiment of the harm that false accusations and a rush to judgment can produce.

    two women accused Mr. Fairfax of sexually assaulting them in separate episodes — allegations that Mr. Fairfax has always denied. Mr. Fairfax faced a torrent of calls for his resignation. Weeks later, in a speech on the floor of the Virginia Senate, he compared himself to lynching victims.

    Mr. Fairfax was not the only candidate on Tuesday night to try to cleave Black voters from Mr. McAuliffe. The scant public polling of the race has found Mr. McAuliffe holding sizable leads over his four opponents, and no survey has shown him with less than a two-to-one advantage over his closest rival.

    Jennifer McClellan, a state senator who is running for governor, accused Mr. McAuliffe of underfunding the state’s parole system, cutting deals with the National Rifle Association during his term as governor and being a late advocate for racial justice.

    restore the voting rights of 206,000 felons in the state and said every police officer in the state should wear a body camera “so we can see what’s going on.”

    “Thank goodness we had all those individuals there who had those cellphones when George Floyd was murdered,” he said.

    Mr. McAuliffe barely mentioned his rivals during the debate, except to remind the audience that Ms. McClellan was a frequent partner of his when he was governor. But Mr. Fairfax, by the debate’s end, sought to define himself as the chief rival to the loquacious former governor.

    “There appears to be two sets of rules up here, one where the governor can talk as long as he wants to and do whatever he wants, and one for everybody else,” Mr. Fairfax said. “I think that’s part of the issue, that we do have so many disparities in our society.”

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    Covid Victims Remembered Through Their Objects

    Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

    As the art director of the Well desk, I’ve spent the last year looking for images to reflect the devastation of the pandemic and the grief it has wrought. As the crisis has stretched on, I’ve thought of all the people who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 — not to mention those who have lost loved ones, period — and how they were cut off from the usual ways of gathering and grieving. Watching the numbers rise every day, it was easy to lose sight of the people behind the statistics. I wanted to find a way to humanize the death toll and re-establish the visibility of those who had died.

    To help our readers honor the lives of those lost during the pandemic, we decided to ask them to submit photographs of objects that remind them of their loved ones. The responses were overwhelming, capturing love, heartache and remembrance. We heard from children, spouses, siblings, grandchildren and friends — people who had lost loved ones not only to Covid-19 but from all manner of causes. What united them was their inability to mourn together, in person.

    published a photo essay in 2015 of objects collected from the World Trade Center and surrounding area on 9/11. As we launched this project, we heard from several artists who, in their own work, explored the connection between objects and loss.

    Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Elisabeth Smolarz, an artist in Queens, began working on “The Encyclopedia of Things,” which examines loss and trauma through personal objects. Kija Lucas, a San Francisco-based artist, has been photographing artifacts for the past seven years, displaying her work in her project “The Museum of Sentimental Taxonomy.”

    Saved: Objects of the Dead” is a 12-year project by the artist Jody Servon and the poet Lorene Delany-Ullman, in which photographs of personal objects from deceased loved ones are paired with prose to explore the human experience of life, death and memory. And the authors Bill Shapiro and Naomi Wax spent years interviewing hundreds of people and asking them about the most meaningful single object in their lives, gathering their stories in the book “What We Keep.”

    As the pandemic continues to grip the nation, the Well desk will continue to wrestle with the large-scale grief that it leaves in its wake. Other features on this topic include resources for those who are grieving, the grief that’s associated with smaller losses, and how grief affects physical and psychological health. As for “What Loss Looks Like,” we are keeping the callout open, inviting more readers to submit objects of importance, to expand and grow this virtual memorial and provide a communal grieving space.

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    Strong Ratings for Derek Chauvin Trial, According to Nielsen

    Viewer interest in television coverage of the trial of Derek Chauvin has been high, according to ratings data from Nielsen.

    Several cable channels, including CNN and MSNBC, have broadcast large portions of the trial live, and one cable network, HLN, has shown it in its entirety since the proceedings started on March 29. For several days last week, CNN’s highest ratings came in the afternoon, during witness testimony, rather than during its prime-time hours.

    Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd last year, faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder.

    On Thursday, roughly 3.7 million viewers were watching trial coverage on the three channels during the afternoon testimony of former Sgt. David Pleoger, who supervised Mr. Chauvin and testified that he should have “ended” his restraint after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive. That audience was larger than the number of people tuning into any other cable program that day. “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the most watched cable show on Thursday, drew three million viewers.

    been three times that size if the number of people watching it at work, at school or in airports or restaurants had been factored in.

    The Chauvin trial is expected to last several weeks, and the three cable news networks are likely to continue broadcasting significant portions of it.

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    Utah Will Require Fathers to Help With Pregnancy Bills

    A new law in Utah will require biological fathers to pay half of the medical expenses of the mother’s pregnancy and the birth, stirring debate about the state’s abortion and maternal health care policies.

    The law, which Gov. Spencer J. Cox signed on March 16, amends Utah’s Child Support Act by requiring any father whose paternity has been established to pay half of the mother’s insurance premiums while she is pregnant, and any related medical costs, including the birth.

    Some critics of the law have said it does not directly support pregnant women, and raised concerns it could tie women to abusive partners.

    The bill, HB113, was sponsored by State Representative Brady Brammer and State Senator Daniel McCay, both Republicans, who argued it would increase the responsibility of men in pregnancies for which their paternity has been confirmed. When lawmakers passed the measure in January, Mr. Brammer said it was meant to be seen as a type of “pro-life” measure, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

    automatically be illegal to have an abortion in the state if the Roe decision were overturned.

    challenged in court by Planned Parenthood.

    Karrie Galloway, the president of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said pregnant women should be able to determine for themselves what is best for them.

    “While we appreciate that this bill highlights how expensive it is to be pregnant and that many women struggle to cover the costs of their health care, we feel there are better ways to support pregnant people and families,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

    “Expanded Medicaid, better insurance coverage, equitable access to reproductive health care, and paid family leave are just a few ways policymakers could do much more,” she said.

    The law, which takes effect on May 5, may make Utah the first state to have a stand-alone mandate for prenatal child support. A few states, including Wisconsin and New York, have a legal path that can result in fathers being financially responsible for pregnancy costs, according to Mr. Brammer.

    Maryland’s family code says a court may order a father to pay medical and hospital expenses for pregnancy, childbirth and recovery. In Mississippi, child support orders may include pregnancy and childbirth expenses. In New Hampshire, a public welfare act says a father is liable for “reasonable expenses” of the pregnancy.

    State Representative Brian King, a Democrat representing Salt Lake County House District 28, who dissented when the bill was voted in earlier this year, had said he was concerned that the bill could financially entangle women with abusive partners, The Tribune reported.

    Mr. Brammer said on Tuesday that women would be able to control whether they ask for the pregnancy assistance from the father. “This likely happens after birth, as part of the claim for child support if she chooses,” he said.

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