Administrators at the posh Washington private school that the three young children of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended for the last three years expressed concern about the couple’s public flouting of Covid-19 guidelines, ultimately resulting in President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law withdrawing their children from the school, a longtime parent at the school told CNN.
Out of safety and privacy concerns for minor children, CNN is not naming the school.
Kushner and Trump “repeatedly violated a number of the guidelines” outlined in the school’s parent handbook for Covid-19 precautionary rules, according to the source.
“There was no secret about their behaviors, because everyone could see them,” the parent said, referencing the televised nature of Trump’s and Kushner’s jobs, as well as news reports of positive Covid-19 cases in their workplace, the White House.
In the wake of the complaints and requests to change their behavior – to do things like wear face masks, social-distance and self-quarantine if exposed to someone with the virus – Kushner and Trump withdrew their children, the source said.
News of the children’s withdrawal from the school was first reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The school, which is currently conducting limited in-person learning due to Covid-19, had put in place prevention protocol for staff, students, parents and family members based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, with an eye on maintaining the health and safety of its community.
“What (Kushner and Trump) did was just not OK,” said the source, who noted that several fellow parents also complained to the school about Kushner and Trump’s flagrant lack of adherence to the handbook.
However, two sources told CNN it was the school that ultimately decided to confront Kushner and Trump about the violations, and it did so independently of the parent complaints. CNN reached out to a spokesperson from the school, who declined to comment on the matter.
“Unnamed sources attacking a family’s decision about what is best for their kids in the middle of a pandemic is shameful,” White House spokeswoman Carolina Hurley said in response to CNN’s request for comment.
None of the sources CNN spoke to for this story used language that could be described as an “attack.” The longtime parent at the school reiterated several times that the concern was led by the school’s leadership and that attempts were made to resolve the issue and keep the family at the school.
“As is true for all families, schooling choices and education are deeply personal decisions and they owe no one, especially idle gossips seeking press attention, an explanation,” says Hurley.
After Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony at the White House Rose Garden in late September, which Ivanka Trump and Kushner did not attend, at least 12 attendees fell ill with Covid-19, many of them senior administration staff with regular interaction with the couple. At the school attended by their children, many parents took note of the superspreader event and called the head of school to express concern, said another source with knowledge of the events.
The chief worry was Trump and Kushner worked in and among an environment where cases of the highly contagious virus were rampant, and where wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance were not regulated.
Parents also complained that three days after the Barrett event, Trump attended her father’s first presidential debate with now President-elect Joe Biden and, along with the rest of the adult Trump family members, did not wear a mask. The youngest Kushner child was at that time attending school in person, and the two older children were learning in person once a week, the same source with knowledge of the events said.
The head of the school and other administrators attempted to remedy the situation with Kushner and Trump by reminding them of the handbook guidelines, said the longtime parent. The school’s nurse sent a note to families reiterating the agreed-upon policy that any parent or child who may have been exposed to coronavirus must be tested and enter a voluntary quarantine for 14 days, out of an abundance of caution.
Trump and Kushner did not quarantine for two weeks after the Barrett event, nor did they do so post-debate, and they did not quarantine following the positive Covid diagnoses of the President and first lady Melania Trump in early October. By October 11, Ivanka Trump was back on the campaign trail, that week visiting Arizona, Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Behind the scenes, in addition to the nurse’s note, the school “tried to work something out with the family to negotiate terms that would keep the children at the school, but also ensure the protocols were not violated,” the source said. Ultimately, it was Kushner and Trump who pulled their children from the school.