More children than ever could be in classrooms this summer; new infections reach pre-‘pandemic’ levels: Latest COVID-19 updates

More children than ever could be in classrooms for summer school this year to make up for lost learning after U.S. school districts struggled to develop online learning programs during the pandemic.

School districts nationwide are expanding their summer programs and offering bonuses to get teachers to take part. Under the most recent federal pandemic relief package, the Biden administration is requiring states to devote billions of dollars to summer programs.

The U.S. Education Department said it is too early to know how many students will sign up. But the number is all but certain to exceed the estimated 3.3 million who went to mandatory or optional summer school in 2019 before the pandemic.

Aja Purnell-Mitchell let her three kids decide whether to go back to school during summer break. All wanted to go. Purnell-Mitchell saw a litany of positives in the decision.

“Getting them back into it, helping them socialize back with their friends, maybe meet some new people, and, of course, pick up the things that they lacked on Zoom,” the Durham County, North Carolina, mother said.

Also in the news:

►The University of Nebraska Medical Center will require faculty, staff and students to document whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning June 21. Documentation is required because medical students work with patients in clinics and hospital wards, the Omaha World-Herald reported Saturday.

►Starting June 9, vaccinated American tourists will be able to visit France sans quarantine, provided they show a negative PCR test upon arrival.

►One-third of the 559,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy in May happened at restaurants and bars, an encouraging sign for workers in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality industry.

►Retail chain Walmart says it will close its doors for the second year in a row on Thanksgiving Day as a “‘thank you’ to employees for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 597,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Over 173 million cases and over 3.7 million deaths. More than 170 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 41.% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

📘 What we’re reading: First in line, still no shot: Surprising number of hospital workers refuse vaccines.

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