- 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 ThisNorth Dakota Native Makes Her Debut with Children’s Book About Indigenous Culture, Bullying
The vast majority of Americans don’t learn about Indian boarding schools growing up. These Native leaders and educators want to change that.
Diné College Increases Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour
Lone Picketer Calls for Investigation of Colorado School Districts for Ignoring Decades-Old Native History Legislation
Native Perspective. Native Voices. Native News.
We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.