- By Native News Online Staff
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Interior on Thursday announced it will require staff and faculty of Bureau of Education (BIE) facilities to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The announcement said vaccination against Covid-19 is the leading health strategy to end the deadly virus. The requirement is a means to ensure the safety of students, teachers and tribal communities, the statement said.
“Getting school communities vaccinated – including school staff and eligible students – will go a long way in preventing outbreaks before they happen and help to ensure students can remain learning in-person at school,” the announcement said.
The Covid-19 mandate is detailed in Secretarial Order 3402 requires educators at all BIE-operated elementary schools, secondary schools, off-reservation boarding schools and peripheral dormitories must receive either a single-dose Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized or approved Covid-19 vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson or comparable future vaccines) or both doses of a two-dose FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine (such as Pfizer, Moderna or comparable future vaccines) no later than Oct. 15, 2021.
Thursday’s mandate is in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that educational institutions take action to provide for the vaccination of all teachers and staff, in addition to other mitigation measures, such as masks and social distancing.
According to the announcement, the Interior recognizes that education plays a critical role in promoting equity in learning and health, particularly for Indigenous communities that have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.
The United States has a direct interest in protecting American Indian and Alaska Native children, including their education, as part of its trust responsibility. This vaccination requirement will help ensure American Indian and Alaska Native students continue to safely receive the invaluable benefits afforded by the BIE‑operated schools.
The Interior Department is the latest agency within the Biden-Harris administration to implement vaccine requirements for members of its workforce. Recently, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and Defense announced plans to require COVID-19 vaccinations for personnel.
More Stories Like ThisBard College Gets $50 Million Boost for Indigenous Studies Program
American Indian College Fund President Cheryl Crazy Bull Named Member of the Thrive Leaders Network
Princeton University to Provide Financial Assistance to Students Whose Families Earn Less Than $100K
Can Better Data Help UM Retain Indigenous Students?
New Study Reveals Challenges of College Affordability for Native Students
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.