CASS LAKE, MN –The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe reiterates the recommendation to continue the Fall quarter in a distance learning model. We understand the complexities of learning in distance models and providing access to equitable education settings at any point in time. We, the Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee, have directed our programs and departments to work collaboratively, fully partnering with our students and families to ensure regular and timely attendance during the distance learning period. We will continue to partner with our Local Indian Education Committees to ensure continuity of services to our students during this time. Furthermore, the Leech Lake Education Department remains committed to partnering with the school districts to ensure our students receive the supports they need in order to be successful in a distance learning model.
Given the surge in cases in our region in recent weeks, we see the need to proceed cautiously towards reopening. As a tribal government, we understand that many of our Leech Lake households live intergenerational, reciprocal, cooperative lives within our community. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered and disrupted our lives in many ways; when our students and staff are required to work in-person, their exposure to COVID increases. As the exposures increase, our lives outside of school are equally disrupted including our familial cultural practices.
Proceeding cautiously will save lives within our community and will allow us to continue to focus on a science-based, Ojibwe-cultural based decision as we continue to navigate this pandemic.