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Tipsheet

'It Was Hard to Learn': Elementary School Student Explains to Biden the Difficulties of Remote Learning

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

President Joe Biden toured an elementary school in Philadelphia on Friday during his trip to the city and spoke to several students, including one who expressed the difficulties of having to learn online amid school closures.

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The Luis Munoz Marin Elementary School student explained to the president that she was grateful for the return of in-person learning because it makes learning easier and she can once again have face-to-face interactions with her classmates.

"I want to say thank you to you for letting us go back to school because in computer it was hard to learn about stuff," the student told Biden. "And in person, you can see our friends and hug them and can learn more in person."

Biden responded to the student, "Makes a big difference between being in school and on a computer, doesn't it?"

Students have suffered learning loss and mental health issues since the beginning of the COVID pandemic despite children being at low risk for serious illness.

According to White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates, Biden's visit to the Philadelphia school was to tout how the American Rescue Plan is "delivering critical resources to keep schools safe and open, combat learning loss and address student mental health."

"When the president entered office, only 46 percent of schools were open; today, over 99 percent are," Bates told reporters aboard Air Force One. "That was not by accident; it was the product of his historic investments not just to get schools open, but ensure they have the resources to address the long-term impact COVID has had on schools and students."

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The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress last March had more than $120 million going toward efforts to reopen schools after the U.S. resorted to online education to mitigate the spread of COVID during the early stages of the pandemic. But several schools across the country still failed to return instruction to the classroom for quite some time after.

Also attending Biden's visit to the elementary school was American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who has repeatedly pushed for masking students while failing to do so herself during public appearances amid the COVID pandemic.

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