Bureau of Indian Educatopm schools to open Sept. 16
BIE maintains goal for in-person learning for K-12 schools

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) announced in August that BIE-operated K-12 day-school operations across the United States will have a uniform start date of Sept. 16 for the 2020-2021 school year.

Bureau operated residential facil-ities, including Off Reservation Boarding Schools (ORBS) and dor-mitories will only provide day-school instruction. This will avoid students traveling outside the commuting area and these students enrolled will be pro-vided distance learning opportunities for their continuity of education.

“The health and safety of our stu-dents and staff is our top priority. COVID-19 is challenging tribal gov-ernments, BIE-funded schools and all Indian country communities on a scale not experienced in decades,” said BIE Director Tony Dearman. “We are conFrom Page 1

tinuing our strong collab-oration with tribes, states, local health officials and our federal partners for a safe school reopening, and our Return To Learn! plan pro-vides the guidance needed for both in-classroom and online learning.”

Dearman said ORBS and dormitories will provide day-school instruction-only, with distance-learning options for students who are not able to attend in person.

“Our BIE team is fully committed to finding a path forward through these chal-lenging times that provides the educational services our students need while pro-viding support to students and their families as well as staff,” Dearman said.

The BIE's School Reopening Task Force stat-ed it is now implementing its Return To Learn! Plan, which utilizes all feedback from tribal consultations, stakeholder survey respons-es, collaboration with tribes, states and other federal agen-cies, to safely reopen based on local conditions.

The Return To Learn! plan provides guidance on reopening criteria that fol-lows current CDC recom-mendations, provides flex-ibility for local conditions and makes recommendations on distance learning plat-forms.

Schools may continue providing school lunches in the upcoming school year. They will also ensure prop-er employee safety, enforce food-handling and serv-ing protocols to the max-imum extent and highest health standards possible, and operate in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19.

More information is avail-able from the Indian Affairs COVID-19 page at https://www.bia.gov/covid-19.

About the BIE

The BIE implements fed-eral Indian education pro-grams and funds 183 ele-mentary schools, secondary schools and dormitories (of which more than two-thirds are tribally operated) locat-ed on 64 reservations in 23 states serving an estimated 46,000 individual students. The BIE also operates two post-secondary schools and administers grants for 29 tribally controlled colleges and universities and two trib-al technical colleges.

Information provided by the Bureau of Indian Education

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