Ayesha Rascoe

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a delegation of Canadian officials to the White House virtually on Tuesday – saying the U.S. has "no closer friend" than its neighbor to the north.

There was no handshake between leaders or stroll down the White House colonnade during the session that was virtual due to COVID-19 constraints. But, the White House attempted to recreate some of the ceremonial flourishes of an in-person visit to Washington.

The federal government plans to release new guidance next week about how to safely reopen schools in the midst of the pandemic — guidelines that could add new grist to a debate over whether schools should wait until teachers are vaccinated before requiring their return to the classroom.

As the United States has struggled to get the spread of the coronavirus under control, many schools have turned to virtual learning. President Biden has pledged to get most students back to in-person learning by the end of April, but there are questions about how to do so safely.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

President Biden has said racial justice is one of his top priorities. And today, he signed four executive actions. He says they are some of his first steps to addressing systemic racism.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

President Biden signed an executive action on Monday that administration officials say will close loopholes in "Buy American" policies for the federal government.

The measure is part of Biden's promised push to boost U.S. manufacturing and continues his efforts to sign a slew of executive actions, covering an array of issues, during his first days in office.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Biden signed a series of orders and directives on his second day in office to take charge of stopping the spread of the coronavirussteps that he and his advisers say will start to boost testing, vaccinations, supplies and treatments.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden has signed 15 executive actions, part of a flurry of steps he plans to take in the coming days to address his top policy priorities — and to roll back some of former President Donald Trump's initiatives.

White House officials had originally told reporters there would be 17 actions signed, focused on addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the economy, racial justice and climate change.

Updated at 2:30 a.m. ET

President Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist who was indicted over allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of people in an online campaign to raise funds for a southern border wall — one of dozens of acts of clemency in the final hours of his administration.

The lengthy list of 73 pardons and 70 commutations landed after midnight. Trump left the White House for the last time Wednesday morning, skipping the inaugural ceremonies of his successor, President-elect Joe Biden.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

President-elect Biden laid out his plan tonight to deal with the pandemic, what he called a crisis of deep human suffering. It is his top priority when he takes office next week. The plan has a huge price tag - $1.9 trillion.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Former President Barack Obama had six Cabinet members confirmed by the Senate before his Inauguration Day in 2009. President Trump had two. But when President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week, it's unclear whether he'll have any Cabinet members in place.

Pages