Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Federal agency to reopen 53 Native American schools despite coronavirus fears


August 11, 2020

The U.S. Department of the Interior – Indian Affairs, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Education, announced last week that it would reopen "brick and mortar schools" under its jurisdiction to the "maximum extent possible" on Sept. 16.

That will affect 53 Bureau of Indian Education schools run by the federal government across 10 states. With President Donald Trump pushing for schools to reopen for in-person learning despite the coronavirus pandemic, his administration has a direct say in the fate of some schools on Native American reservations.

An internal memo sent to bureau-operated schools Friday and shared with NBC News included details of the return to in-person teaching. Families can opt for virtual learning, according to the memo, but instructors must still teach in person, said the memo, signed by Tara Sweeney, the assistant secretary of the interior for Indian affairs. Schools would move to entirely virtual learning only if an outbreak occurred that led to a schoolwide shutdown. Boarding schools and dormitories will operate as day schools under the new order.


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