MILWAUKEE — Kids in classrooms and COVID-19 concerns were on the mind of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden when she visited a Milwaukee Public School and talked about vaccinations and keeping kids safe in school on Wednesday.
Dr. Biden started her day at Marvin E. Pratt Elementary school. The educator of 30-plus years with a doctorate in education talked about the importance of getting kids back into the classroom even as the pandemic continues.
"We owe them a promise that we will do all that we can to keep their schools open and as safe as possible," said Dr. Biden.
The First Lady met with five parents who shared stories about the pros and cons of virtual learning and the benefits and worries of returning to in-person learning.
Carol Johnson has two grandchildren at Pratt. "I was a little concerned about safety and things inside of school," said Johnson. "But I was able to see they had the partitions and all of that, and a lot of distancing, and very impressed by that."
Milwaukee Public Schools received more than $500 million in federal COVID-19 stimulus money to help schools with air quality improvements and teacher training.
Parent Rachel Spell, who has a 4th grader at Pratt, was asked if kids are afraid. "My daughter, she's not afraid. She's just happy to be back with her friends," said Spell.
Last week, the MPS Board of Directors voted to require all teachers be vaccinated.
Dr. Biden stressed the importance of vaccinations, but right now the vaccine is not available for children under the age of 12 and the timeline is still unknown.
"We owe them a commitment to follow the science," said Dr Biden. "And we owe them unity so we can fight the virus and not each other."
Pfizer is expected to turn over its study results by the end of September. Moderna told investors this week to expect its data on that age group by year's end.
Both companies also are testing their vaccines down to age six months, but those results will come later.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin responded to the First Lady's visit, saying: "The past seven months under the Biden administration have been a crash course in bad government..." adding, "Not even Dr. Jill Biden can cover for her husband's failing grade."