News Wrap: 1 million NYC kids return to school as de Blasio vows ‘gold standard’ of safety

In our news wrap Monday, about a million New York City students returned to school Monday, with no option for remote learning in the nation's largest public school district. Tropical Storm Nicholas is headed for landfall in Texas Monday night, with up to 16 inches of rain. President Joe Biden traveled to Idaho and Northern California for a first-hand look at the aftermath of wildfires.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The nation's largest public school district has opened for in person classes in the biggest test yet of classroom learning during a COVID surge.

    About a million students in New York City returned to school today. There's no option for remote learning, and nearly all staff must be vaccinated or tested weekly.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio greeted students and parents in the Bronx this morning, and he insisted they will be safe.

    Bill De Blasio (D), Mayor of New York: Kids coming to school today all across this city are going to experience a gold standard of health and safety measures. And, as everyone knows, in the coming days, every single adult in our schools is going to be vaccinated.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatened to fine local governments that force employees to get vaccinated. And a federal judge in Iowa blocked a state law that bars schools from mandating masks for students and staff.

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken today defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. At a congressional hearing, he called it — quote — "an extraordinary effort."

    At the same time, U.N. human rights officials cited credible reports of the Taliban hunting down and killing former Afghan security forces. We are going to look at all of this after the news summary.

    Tropical Storm Nicholas is headed for landfall in Texas tonight, with up to 16 inches of rain. It could become a minimal hurricane, and then move slowly across Texas and Southwestern Louisiana through midweek. That's likely to trigger flash flooding in a region west of where Hurricane Ida struck two weeks ago.

    President Biden got a firsthand look today at the aftermath of Western wildfires. He traveled to Idaho and Northern California. and he said the fires show the nation needs his plan for spending $3.5 trillion on social and environmental needs.

    Joe Biden, President of the United States: We can build back better than it was before. And it literally provides for billions of dollars for wildfire preparedness, resilience and response force management, and public water sources.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mr. Biden claimed every dollar spent now on fighting extreme weather and climate change will save $6 in the future.

    Top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives called today for tax hikes to pay for that $3.5 trillion spending plan. They would raise the corporate rate from 21 to 26.5 percent and also increase taxes on the wealthy.

    We will speak with Senator Bernie Sanders, who's pushing the spending bill, later in the program.

    The federal budget deficit for this fiscal year topped $2.7 trillion through August, driven by COVID relief spending. With one month to go, it's on track to be the second largest ever, behind last year's record of more than $3 trillion.

    U.S. Capitol Police have formally announced that they will put temporary fencing back up ahead of a Saturday rally. It's being organized to support Trump backers who stormed the Capitol on January the 6th. More than 600 people are facing charges.

    On Wall Street, today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 262 points to close at 34869. The Nasdaq fell 10 points. The S&P 500 added 10.

    And George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, died today at his home in New York. He launched the Newport Festival in 1954 and led it for more than 50 years. He later started the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and his success sparked numerous other events, including Woodstock. George Wein was 95 years old.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": Senator Bernie Sanders on the challenges facing the spending bill; why the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for children to get the vaccine; how the Boston mayor's race reflect that city's changing demographics; and much more.

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