After spending a May day preparing her classroom to reopen for preschoolers, Ana Aguilar was informed that the tots would not have to wear face masks when they came back. What’s more, she had to sign a form agreeing not to sue the school if she caught COVID-19 or suffered any injury from it while working there.

Other teachers signed the form distributed by the Montessori Schools of Irvine, but Aguilar said she felt uncomfortable, although it stipulated that staff members would be masked. At 23, she has a compromised immune system and was also worried that she could pass the coronavirus on to her fiancé and other family members.

Aguilar refused to sign, and a week later she was fired. “They said it was my choice to sign the paper, but it wasn’t really my choice,” said Aguilar, who’s currently jobless and receiving $276 a week in unemployment benefits. “I felt so bullied.”

As employers in California and across the country ask employees to return to the workplace,

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Social distancing dividers for students are seen in a classroom, July 14, 2020.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Parents everywhere are grappling with the question whether it’s safe to send their children back to school.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidelines emphasizing that students get back to the classroom for the sake of their own emotional well-being. But not every student, parent, or teacher is comfortable with that. Some school districts will likely continue with remote learning or some hybrid blend of in-person and remote.

The situation is highly confusing and the guidelines seem to be shifting. So we asked twenty doctors, public health experts and epidemiologists with school-age children if they’re sending them to school this fall.

We got a wide range of responses, which were highly dependent on their location, personal risk tolerance, degree of support at home, the measures taken at the individual school, and the age of their children.

Six of the medical experts felt confident about sending their kids back. Eight were in “wait and see” mode. And a final six were leaning strongly towards remote learning and were not comfortable with the prospect of having kids in school — at least

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A health-care worker collects samples using a nasal swab at a mobile Covid-19 testing facility, in Miami Beach, Florida, United States on July 24, 2020.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Florida has reported more confirmed coronavirus cases than New York state, as the epicenter of the pandemic has shifted from the Northeast to the Sunbelt region across the American South and West. 

Florida has confirmed at least 414,511 total cases since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and is seeing record daily coronavirus deaths based on a seven-day moving average, along with other states like Texas and California. Florida recorded at least 12,444 new daily cases on Friday. 

Florida ranks second on the list of U.S. states with the greatest number of cases. California is leading the country with more than 440,325 cases as of Friday. New York, once the epicenter of the outbreak, is now third with at least 411,200 confirmed infections. Texas, now a hotspot as well, has confirmed a total of 380,554 cases. 

At least 5,777 people have died from the virus in Florida while New York has recorded 32,607 fatalities, the most of any state in the nation

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Hiya! I’m Lauren Olsen, your new Newsletter Editor. That’s right — the totally official, no more fill-ins, always-here-for-you Newsletter Editor. As the replacement for editor extraordinaire Brianna Labuskes, I’m here to tackle all your health news needs.

Why yes, you’re right — a pandemic is a heck of a time to take over this job. I’d argue, however, that it’s the best time, because who doesn’t need a hand sorting out all this craziness? So far, 2020 has been like trying to paint the “Mona Lisa” while riding a unicycle in a rainstorm — in other words, a sloppy mess teetering on disaster — but, with any luck, when it’s done we might all manage to smile.

In the meantime, I won’t Louvre you in the lurch. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Be sure to read each day’s top health news headlines in KHN’s Morning Briefing, compiled by yours truly. Please subscribe, if you haven’t already — and tell your colleagues and friends, too. Have a

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A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Edward R. Roybal campus in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23, 2020.

Tami Chappell | AFP | Getty Images

With some school districts just weeks away from the start of the academic year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released long-awaited guidelines for reopening with a heavy emphasis on getting students back into the classroom.

The guidelines laid out the social, emotional and mental risks of keeping students at home and gave broad outlines on how to resume in-person instruction in line with what the CDC has already recommenced to other entities, like practicing good hygiene, disinfecting surfaces regularly and spacing out students to maintain social distancing.

Other recommendations included repurposing unused or underutilized buildings or moving classes outside when possible and keeping students in “pods” where the same groups stay together throughout the school day. Schools were also encouraged to have a plan for what to do when someone gets sick, with the guidelines saying it wouldn’t be necessary for the entire school to shut down if a single person tested positive.

Some of the largest school districts in the country have already said they won’t be bringing

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