Reopening Indian Country Schools Seen Risky While Broadband Lags
August 17, 2020
The federal government’s September timeline for reopening 53 American Indian schools for in-person classes is premature and may be politically motivated, congressional Democrats say, even as access to broadband for virtual learning lags.
The Bureau of Indian Education plans to reopen brick-and-mortar schools in 10 states on Sept. 16, it told tribal leaders in a memo last week. The bureau is housed within Indian Affairs at the Interior Department.
President Donald Trump has pressured K-12 schools for weeks to reopen in the fall despite outbreaks of coronavirus cases and his administration has backed conditioning additional federal relief on in-person classes. The White House argues keeping schools closed would harm children and the economic recovery. While many school districts have rejected White House pressure, federal officials operate the 53 schools.