Bureau of Indian Education issues mandate on vaccines | national news

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – The federal agency that oversees schools that educate certain Native Americans in nearly two dozen states issued an employee vaccination warrant on Thursday.

The mandate covers more than 2,800 teachers and staff from 53 schools and dormitories managed directly by the US Bureau of Education in states such as Arizona, New Mexico and the Dakotas.

More than 180 schools operate under the agency’s umbrella, but about two-thirds are run by tribes under contract with the federal government or through grants, most of which are on the Hopi Reservation and neighboring Navajo Nation.

Hopi Vice President Clark Tenakhongva said school officials can decide for themselves whether to require vaccines.

“It is a human right,” he said.

The Bureau of Indian Education, part of the Home Office, is joining a growing number of government agencies that are requiring regular COVID-19 vaccinations or testing.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez issued an executive order requiring all tribal workers under his supervision to be fully immunized by September 29 or regularly test negative for the coronavirus. Tribal spokesperson Jared Touchin said this extends to employees of the Diné Department of Education.

Nez did not act on legislation recently passed by the Council of the Navajo Nation to mandate vaccines for all tribal employees. The tribe has maintained a mask tenure throughout the pandemic.

Home Secretary Deb Haaland said office workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 15 and provide proof. Those who do not comply could be made redundant or lose their contracts, the interior ministry said.

“The ministry recognizes that education plays a critical role in promoting equity in learning and health, especially for Indigenous communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said the Minister. ministry.

Schools will review individual requests for exemptions, but may require that those who are not vaccinated follow safety measures set by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, undergo regular COVID-19 testing, and prove that they tested negative before returning in person to schools or dormitories.

Bureau of Indian Education schools operate in a mix of virtual and in-person settings that take into account the circumstances in surrounding communities and the contribution of tribal and health officials, the Home Office spokesperson said. , Tyler Cherry. He said some schools had confirmed cases of COVID-19 but had not specified.


This story has been corrected to show that Clark Tenakhongva is the Hopi Vice President.

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