First Lady Jill Biden visited children separated by plexiglass to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in a Connecticut school Thursday.
At one table, four masked children separated by plexiglass wore masks as the first lady stopped to visit their classroom at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut.
Jill Biden visits a school where four children are separated from each other and their teacher by plexiglass pic.twitter.com/mr2ZYPE4zq
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) March 4, 2021
The first lady was joined by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who praised the children’s masks.
“I love that, Ninja Turtles,” he said to one child. “Does that help you breathe better?”
One staff member said the children had attended school since August and the only problem was that some of their masks were too big.
“They’ll grow into it next year, right?” Cardona chuckled, before adding, “Hopefully not.”
The first lady urged students to keep a record of their coronavirus pandemic experiences to help them understand what they learned about themselves.
“Reflect on this time and journal it somehow whether you write it … whether you video it, whether you record it, whether you do it through artwork, we have to remember what this time was like,” Jill Biden said.
Cardona said the students were learning important life skills during the pandemic.
“You became stronger, you became more resilient, right?” Cardona said. “And those are skills that you’re going to carry your whole life, when something unexpected happens, something bad happens, then you can get through it with optimism and hard work.”
One student explained to the first lady the difficulty of keeping her phone charged during online learning.
Jill Biden sympathized with the student by noting that Secret Service took her phone away when she became the first lady.
She asked the boys in the class to speak up to share their experiences.
“We’ve heard from females. C’mon guys,” she urged.
The boys remained silent as another girl raised her hand to speak.
“All right, looks like the women are the strong ones,” the first lady joked.
The girl spoke about the importance of students learning not to be selfish and learning to control their actions by masking and social distancing to protect other people.
“It’s not just about your health,” she asked. “It’s about your neighbors, your teachers, those around you, we have to keep everybody safe and that’s why everybody has to mask, follow the protocols.”
The first lady then interrupted a student to ask her what she was reading, to which she replied, “a book.”
“A book,” Biden laughed. “OK.”
She asked another student what she was reading and she showed her the cover of the book “The Fault in Our Stars.”
“Oh yes,” Biden replied. “Gosh. Do you love it? … It’s a great book.”
At Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pennsylvania, the first lady and education secretary visited a classroom where the teacher’s desk had a plexiglass shield separating her from the children.
President Joe Biden acknowledged Tuesday that although it is safe to hold class during the pandemic before getting vaccinated, the teachers felt differently.
“Time and again, we’ve heard from educators and parents that have anxieties about that,” he said.
Jill Biden earned her PhD in educational leadership from the University of Delaware in 2007.