This has been a school year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools to operate either entirely online, or under a blended schedule of in-person and remote learning. For schools that are staying open, students and staff alike are taking all kinds of precautions to avoid an outbreak of the virus: mask-wearing, deep cleaning of classrooms, socially distanced desks, eating lunch in the classroom rather than the cafeteria. These measures are meant to keep everyone safe, but they only work if everyone in the school agrees to follow the protocol — and it seems that one very famous mom, Ivanka Trump, isn’t on board.
The first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, have three young children (via Biography): Arabella, 9, Joseph, 7, and Theo, 4. After Donald Trump took office in 2016, he named both Ivanka and Jared to key positions on his cabinet, and the Kushners moved from New York City to DC as they assumed their new jobs (per The Washingtonian). As is traditional for presidential families, they enrolled their children in a private school, in this case a Jewish day school in the nation’s capital (Kushner is Jewish, and Ivanka converted when she married). All seemed to be going well for most of this term… until the pandemic hit.
Ivanka chose not to play by the school rules
According to CNN, the Kushner children’s school put out an official handbook outlining the precautions that students and their parents were expected to follow in order to minimize the risk of an outbreak. The rules aligned with the guidelines the Centers for Disease Control is recommending for the general population. However, it was soon apparent to parents at the school that the Kushners were ignoring the restrictions. Media coverage of such Trump events as an election rally in Cleveland showed the Kushners going maskless among crowds of people. And when the president and first lady tested positive for the virus, the Kushners did not self-quarantine, as is recommended for anyone who has been exposed to someone with the virus.
An anonymous parent remarked to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “There was concern for the safety of children because it was very clear the Kushner parents were violating public health recommendations.” Another parent reports that the Kushners and the school unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a compromise about their appearing at large public events. Finally, in mid-October, Ivanka and Jared opted to withdraw their children from the school and enroll them in another private Jewish day school.
When CNN reached out to the White House for comment, the spokesperson said: “Unnamed sources attacking a family’s decision about what is best for their kids in the middle of a pandemic is shameful.”
It has yet to be determined whether Ivanka and Jared will be moving back to New York in January following the presidential inaugural. If so, they may have another school battle ahead of them.
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