Washington — Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, said he has “no fear” about sending his own children back to school for in-person learning for the upcoming academic year, even as the coronavirus has forced students and staff in some school districts already back in session into quarantine.
“This virus impacts people in different ways,” Kushner said in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “We know a lot more now than we did, and assuming — our school is not opening up five days a week, I wish they were — but we absolutely will be sending our kids back to school, and I have no fear in doing so.”
Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, send their children to a Jewish day school in Washington, according to the New York Times. A fall 2020 reopening plan from the school released in early August said it will be beginning the school year with an off-campus and outdoor model, in which students in grades 1 through 8 will primarily use distance learning for academic instruction, with “regular in-person opportunities for outdoor education and community building.”
Still, Kushner said he is not concerned about his children’s possible exposure to the coronavirus.
“Children have a six times higher chance to die from the flu than from the coronavirus. Based on the data I’ve seen, I don’t believe that that’s a risk,” he said.
As infection rates continue to rise in different parts of the country, many school districts preparing for the start of the new school year have decided to begin with remote learning. Others are adopting a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction.
President Trump and top administration officials, however, have continued to push for schools to open their doors in the coming weeks, even as school reopenings in areas of the country where the year has already begun are off to rocky starts.
Fourteen students from Seawind Elementary School in Hobe Sound, Florida, for example, are already quarantining after being back in the classroom for just two days. And at Woodstock High School in Woodstock, Georgia, nearly 300 students and teachers are in quarantine, while nine students and staff tested positive for COVID-19 at another high school in the school district.
The U.S. has surpassed 5.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and is nearing 170,000 deaths. On Wednesday alone, there were more than 1,500 deaths.
Despite the rising number of cases and deaths, Kushner indicated the U.S. has the coronavirus under control, saying that in May, the death rate was 2,500 per day.
“We’re still below that peak. We have seen over the last two weeks that hospitalizations have come down,” he said Sunday. “The president’s taken a very aggressive approach, not just in the hot spots, but also in what we call the ember cities to push all the different measures that we can take, like wearing a mask, social distancing, using best practices.”
Kushner also lauded the Trump administration’s efforts to quicken development and deployment of the vaccine through Operation Warp Speed, noting there are six different vaccine candidates that are beginning Phase 3 trials.
“We have a lot more knowledge about who the virus impacts, in which ways. And we’ve created a lot of ways to prevent it from spreading in certain places. And we’ve created a lot of ways to help people who do get it have a much more benign experience with it,” he said. “So we’re entering a much more strategic approach, which we’re going to be taking until we do have a fully approved and safe vaccine that we can widely distribute.”