Health, Science and Environment

Around the world, countries are debating what to do about schools during a pandemic.

In many places, they've been shut. In some they've reopened.

Hong Kong offers a cautionary tale of how difficult these decisions can be.

Schoolchildren were sent home at the end of January as the first wave of the outbreak began, originating from visitors from mainland China. Schools stayed closed through a second wave, sparked largely by European and North American travelers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics once again plunged into the growing debate over school reopening with a strong new statement Friday, making clear that while in-person school provides crucial benefits to children, "Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics." The statement also said that "science and community circumstances must guide decision-making."

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Important climate information is not being collected because of the pandemic. That is partly because research ships have not been able to sail safely. NPR's Rebecca Hersher reports.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Arizona hospitals are filling up with coronavirus patients, and many experts are concerned the health care system there could soon buckle under the pressure. NPR's Will Stone reports.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

That drumbeat sound you are hearing getting louder and louder this week as the days have passed, it's the drumbeat from the Trump administration to reopen American schools.

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