COVID-19’s impact on Navajo Nation students, schools

 

JUNE 3, 2020| LISA IRISH | ARIZONA EDUCATION NEWS SERVICE

When COVID-19 hit the Navajo Nation, it limited students’ educational opportunities after schools closed, eliminated essential school services, exposed ongoing inequities, and made health and economic hardships families face worse.

Navajo health officials said COVID-19 started spreading across the nation after a tribal member attended a basketball tournament in early March then went to a church revival the next day in Chilchinbeto, a small community south of Kayenta.

This crisis shines a spotlight on the chaos and poverty many Native Nations face daily, said Serena Denetsosie, deputy associate superintendent for the Office of Indian Education.

“COVID-19 has exposed the massive gap between reservation life and mainstream society,” Deputy Associate Supt. Denetsosie said.

“A gap where many Americans see no need for a lockdown, even protesting for the right to return to work, while our Native people frantically deal with some of the highest per capita infection and mortality rates in the country,” Denetsosie said.

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