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

BIE Schools Set to Reopen in September Despite Concerns From Native Educators


August 17, 2020

After nearly five months of remote learning and summer program cancelations, school districts across the country are developing plans to reopen schools by working with state governments. But unlike most public learning institutions, schools operated by tribes and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), which is overseen by the U.S Department of the Interior – Indian Affairs, fall under other jurisdictions.

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School tested out Zoom with some middle school students in April via Facebook.On Aug. 6, the Interior Department sent an internal memo to all BIE employees detailing its plan to return to in-person learning. The memo, shared with Native News Online and signed by Tara Sweeney, the assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, states that “BIE-operated K-12 schools will use a uniform start day of September 16, 2020, for the 2020-2021 school year. This will allow schools to prepare for the safe return of students and staff while following the CDC Guidelines for opening schools. Students more effectively learn and grow while attending school during in-person academic instruction.”

The memo specifically pertains to BIE schools, but the bureau recommends that tribally-operated schools adhere to similar protocols.


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