As coronavirus ravaged Indian Country, the federal government failed its schools
June 29, 2020
Samantha Honani's son hasn't completed a school assignment in months. After his high school on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona shut down in March, he finished about three weeks of distance learning via his family's computer. Then, in April, he stopped hearing from his teachers. Caught up in the tumult of Covid-19 and the struggles of sharing one computer with subpar internet, academics faded to an afterthought, Honani said.
"There was a breakdown in communication in the school and the students," said Honani, who works as a program manager for The Hopi Foundation. "There was no follow-up."
Initially, Honani put some blame on herself as a mother, chiding herself for failing to stay on top of her son's teachers and deprioritizing traditional schooling during a hectic time. But while Honani was internalizing the schools' shortcomings as her own, decisions far away in Washington, D.C., were also having an impact on her child's education.