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Return To 'Orange Status' Includes New School Recommendations On Navajo Nation

Associated Press | Carolyn Kaster

The Navajo Nation is preparing to return to more stringent COVID-19 prevention measures Monday, including revised recommendations for schools. 

The Navajo Dept. of Health announced a return to Orange Status, effective Aug. 16. The new public health order scales some gatherings, including youth events and religious activities, down to a maximum of 15 people. In-person training sessions and meetings can continue to hold a maximum of 25 participants. 

Tribal health officials are now urging schools on Diné land to use stronger social distancing protocol, and consider hybrid learning strategies. The Dept. of Health also encouraged virtual learning for students 12 and younger. 

School districts — including Chinle and Piñon Unified — opened in-person after months of virtual learning. The new measures come, however, as cases on the reservation increase. 

Chinle Unified School District Superintendent Quincy Natay acknowledged the effects of the pandemic in a letter last month: 

“I think of our children whose learning and mental wellness have suffered due to the isolation of school closures,” he wrote. “They are perhaps among those who have lost the most.”


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