LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Spring field trips to Washington D.C. that were planned for hundreds of Michigan eighth grade students were canceled due to COVID-19. A local congresswoman found a way to take students around our nation’s capitol while they stayed safe at home.
“I am so sorry that you’re not able to come on the annual field trip to come see the Capitol, come see Washington D.C.,” Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said in a video prepared for the students. “But we’re trying to do our very best to give you the virtual version.”
Her team put together a virtual field trip complete with a capitol tour and interviews with the city’s power players, including CNN anchor Jake Tapper and federal officials at the State Department and Pentagon, for more than 300 of Michigan’s eighth graders.
Chippewa Middle School student Annabelle Largent says even after living in D.C. for a year, the virtual tour taught her some new things.
“I didn’t know that there was a special room [in the Capitol] for women,” Largent says. “I never realized that. I also didn’t know about there being two statues that would represent, that each state would choose. I didn’t know about that either.”
Slotkin also held a Q&A session with students, discussing everything from how long it takes to pass a bill to her experience working with different presidents. Largent says it may not be the experience they expected, but she appreciates the effort they made to brighten students’ days and give them something to look forward to during the pandemic.
“I think they really just need to hang in there,” Largent says. “This is going to be over soon and we’re going to get back with everybody. And doing virtual things…finding things you can do with other people while social distancing, I think, is really important.”