Dr. Jill Biden has revealed her personal phone was confiscated from her when she moved into the White House, while on a tour of recently reopened schools in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The First Lady sympathized with a middle school student who said she had to hide her phone while studying because it was so distracting.
“They took my phone away so I don't have a phone either. So I know exactly how you feel,' Jill replied. She went on to praise the teenager, for recognizing she had a problem focusing and handling it in an innovative way. “You came up with your strategy on your own, right? And so now you’re doing well in your studies and you’re concentrating.”
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The first lady and the president are expected to surrender their phones when they enter office for security reasons. This protocol, which was reportedly repeatedly broken by former president, Donald Trump, exists to protect the high-profile leaders from foreign surveillance and hacking.
We all want to get our kids back to school. @SecCardona and I got to see first-hand today what safety measures schools in CT and PA have implemented to stay open during COVID. pic.twitter.com/R9sooCHddSMarch 3, 2021
Jill was joined by the newly appointed Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, during her two-state trip this week, to see how schools were coping with the pandemic and to provide some words of encouragement as a college educator.
“'I am teaching virtually and, last week, I said to my students, 'How are you doing?' and they said, 'Dr. B, We're doing okay. We're doing okay. But we can't wait to be back in the class,’” she said during her speech at a school in Pennsylvania.
“And, you know, I think that's how we all feel. But we just know that we have to get back safely,” she said.
Jill was eager to see the practical ways schools were combatting the risk of the virus, giving a thumbs up to the social distancing measures in place at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut.
“I love that,” she said, referring to the partitions which separated the kindergarten children.
The First Lady’s teaching background was evident as she made her way around the classroom, speaking one-on-one with the students about their projects. She complimented the artistic abilities of a young girl painting, before asking another student to read a line of text aloud to her.
Jill also visited a sensory room, designed for children with specific learning needs. The colorful space, which was decked out with a rock climbing wall, padded mats, and bouncy balls, is used by students with ‘a lot of energy’ to help them ‘self regulate.’ The First Lady seemed particularly impressed by the facility and its special needs teachers, emphasizing the importance of such resources for all students.
“I think that no matter how old the students are, whether they’re kindergarten or in community college, that the schools provide safe spaces,” she said.
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Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.
Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.
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