First lady Jill Biden in Royal Oak praises mask, vaccine efforts for in-person learning return

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was in Royal Oak Friday emphasizing the need for in-person learning while at the same time lauding Covid precautions like maks and vaccinations for making the return to class safe.

"We did our best with virtual learning, but there are things you can't replicate — that’s why I’m so glad to be back in class aren’t you?" she said.

Biden praised schools and communities back to face-to-face learning. The stop at Oakland Community College in Royal Oak is part of the Department of Education’s Return to School Road Trip, a five-state bus tour visiting schools that are back in the classroom.

"The promise I have seen today, is what I have seen across the Midwest on our Return to School Road Trip across the US," said Miguel Cardona, the US education secretary. "Students of all ages and backgrounds from small towns to big cities, back at school and on-campus."

The department says encouraging vaccinations and requiring mask-wearing are critical to keeping classrooms open and students sliding back to virtual learning.

"Together we are going to do everything we can to make our schools stay safe and open," Biden said.

First lady Dr. Jill Biden in Royal Oak.

The stop in Metro Detroit comes as some parents and students have protested mask mandates. Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties are requiring students and staff at public and private schools to wear them.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently agreed to a budget proposal that could remove the teeth from those measures—

Dave Woodard, the chairman of the Oakland County commissioners, says otherwise.

"I’m 100 percent confident that we're going to make sure this order stays in place," he said. "That’s what we need to be working towards.

The Republican National Committee slammed the first lady’s visit saying:

"After siding with the teachers' union to keep schools closed, Michiganders won’t give Jill Biden and Miguel Cardona a hall pass for being a month too late to welcome their children back to school."