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Distance While on Campus

Respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene, and social distance are among the recommendations the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes for colleges and universities seeking to reopen in the fall, Inside Higher Ed reports.

It notes that the new CDC guidelines don't address the question of whether or when colleges should resume in-person classes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Universities have been divided on the issue: California State University announced on Tuesday that its fall classes would be taking place largely online, while New York University has said it plans to resume classes at its various campuses.

The CDC acknowledges in its guidelines that schools differ in their location, size, and other features and may have to adapt its recommendations to their particular situations, though it notes a guiding principle is that "[t]he more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread."

It, for instance, suggests that universities regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often, modify how classrooms are set up to maintain physical distance where possible, recommend mask use when distance isn't possible, promote handwashing, and install protective barriers or partitions in places where distance is hard to maintain.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.