First Lady Jill Biden promotes COVID-19 safety at Milwaukee elementary school visit

NOW: First Lady Jill Biden promotes COVID-19 safety at Milwaukee elementary school visit

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- First Lady Jill Biden visited Milwaukee on Wednesday, Sept. 15. It's her first visit to southeast Wisconsin since she became first lady. 

Biden arrived around 10:15 a.m. at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. She was greeted by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and his wife, as well as Wisconsin National Guard Gen. David May and Chief Master Sgt. Meredith Conn. 

Biden then traveled to Pratt Elementary School where she gave remarks, and then participated in a listening session. 

During her visit, Biden's speech stressed the importance of keeping students safe as they return to in-person learning. She talked about the hope for getting a vaccine for younger children, and making sure it's safe for kids to stay in the classroom all year. 

The topic is a personal one to Biden, as she returned to the classroom herself recently at Northern Virginia Community College. 

First Lady Biden's visit also comes a few days after President Biden's new vaccine mandate, requiring as many as 100 million Americans to get the vaccine.

Biden spoke with MPS parents about the challenges of virtual learning.

"Making sure they get everything they need was hugely stressful, and, you know, we're not teachers," MPS parent Jessica Davis said at the round table.

The First Lady said the Biden administration will help schools open safely in several ways.

"We're hoping that, you know, pretty soon...we're hoping to get a vaccine for kids under 12," Biden said. 

Biden spoke to MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley about how American Rescue Act funds were able to reduce class sizes and increase covid safety.

"We know what we owe our children. We owe them a promise that we'll do all that we can to keep their schools open and as safe as possible."

The Republican National Committee (RNC) said the visit is just a distraction from Afghanistan and the company vaccine mandate.

They also criticized the Biden administration's education policy.

"I think they've done a very poor job of it," RNC spokeswoman Preya Samsundar said. "I mean, they're listening to the teachers union rather than listening to what parents are talking about."

Last week, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) rolled out its own vaccine mandate for staff members.

MPS says Jill Biden will speak with families, students and school staff about staying safe in the classroom. 

In a district release, Superintendent Posley said MPS is proud to showcase one of its high-achieving elementary schools in the district.

Ahead of Jill Biden’s education stop in Milwaukee, the Republican Party of Wisconsin released the following statement from Executive Director Mark Jefferson:

“The past seven months under the Biden administration have been a crash course in bad government as Wisconsin families witness skyrocketing prices, a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and a small business-crushing workforce shortage. Not even Dr. Jill Biden can cover for her husband’s failing grade.”
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