Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Coronavirus at Bureau of Indian Affairs / Bureau of Indian Education
Posted: April 16, 2020

Headquarters of the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.

At least seven employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education have tested positive for COVID-19, The Huffington Post reported on April 14.

Neither the BIA, nor the BIE, have publicly reported the cases. Instead, The Huffington Post said they were disclosed in “internal data” at the Department of the Interior. The figures are disseminated within Interior on a “daily” basis, according to the report.

Previously, The Arizona Republic on April 6 reported the death of a BIE employee in Arizona from COVID-19. A second BIE employee, also in Arizona, died though it was not clear at the time whether it was coronavirus related, the paper said.

On March 28, The Navajo Times reported a COVID-19 outbreak at the Rocky Ridge Boarding School on the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation. The paper reported an employee death at Rocky Ridge, as well as an employee death at Tuba City Boarding School, also on the Arizona portion of the Navajo Nation, on April 4.

Some students at Rocky Ridge contracted COVID-19, according to The Arizona Republic. Despite the outbreaks, some BIE employees at schools on the Navajo Nation were still being required to show up to work, The Navajo Times reported in early April.

According to information posted by the BIA, “all 185 BIE schools” were closed as of March 23.

The BIA and the BIE are agencies of the Department of the Interior. The majority of employees at both agencies are American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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