Bidens host their first White House Easter Egg Roll after 2 years of the pandemic
By Kate Sullivan, CNN
(CNN) -- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Monday welcomed thousands of guests to the South Lawn of the White House for the Easter Egg Roll, an annual holiday tradition that had been canceled for the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"This year we're finally getting together again," the President said from the Truman Balcony at the White House. "And it's so special. It means so much to see and hear the children and all the families show up to be here today."
The first lady, who is also a community college professor, said this year's event was designed to honor "the determined spirit of education."
"As your first lady and as a teacher, I've seen again and again that learning doesn't only happen in a classroom. There are so many fun opportunities to learn around us every day. And that's especially true here at the White House. For generations, presidents and first ladies and kids just like you celebrated the Easter Egg Roll together, racing and making crafts, reading books and of course meeting the Easter Bunny. Education never stops," Jill Biden said. She has taught English classes for a number of years at Northern Virginia Community College.
The White House was expecting 30,000 guests at this year's event, which they are calling the 2022 White House Easter "EGGucation" Roll. It is one of the few big events the Bidens have been able to host since taking office last year because of concerns about spreading Covid-19.
Approximately 50,000 hard-boiled eggs were to be used for egg roll races, an egg hunt, and dyeing and decorating, according to the American Egg Board, which donated 90,000 eggs to the event as part of its longtime partnership with the White House.
The return of the annual tradition comes as the White House looks to move the country into a new phase of the pandemic that it says will be less disruptive to Americans' daily lives. White House officials argue that even if new variants emerge and case counts rise again, the nation is prepared because of the availability of vaccines, boosters, at-home tests, treatments and masks.
But officials are closely monitoring the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2, which is now the dominant strain in the United States. The federal transportation mask mandate was recently extended in part because of the rising cases, according to US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
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