The Oglala Sioux Tribe has ordered all K-12 schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to quarantine following an increase in COVID-19 infections in schools.
OST Vice President Alicia Mousseau issued an announcement Tuesday night ordering the quarantine, effective Wednesday. The quarantine order stipulates a 10-day quarantine for all students and non-essential staff until Sept. 29 and a five-day quarantine for essential staff (excluding cooking and cleaning staff and administrators) until Sept. 22.
Mousseau said in a Zoom call Tuesday that there 21 new COVID cases and 41 total active cases within the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
In addition to rising case levels in schools on the reservation, the quarantine order was implemented in consideration of the increase in Delta variant cases, the number of students under 12 years old who cannot receive a COVID vaccine, the number of inter-generational homes including high risk individuals and elders, the tribe’s limited ability to respond in the event of a surge in infections, and the need to stay ahead of the spread to protect the tribal community.
“This is a temporary solution to get ahead of this. It’s not a lockdown, we’re just trying to get ahead of the spread of these cases so we don’t have more people in our community catching [COVID] and spreading it. We know there’s a number of things in our community that put us at a higher risk [of infection] for a number of reasons, so we’re just trying to protect those most vulnerable,” Mousseau said.
People are also reading…
The tribe met with school administrators Wednesday to discuss next steps with COVID protocols.
“We’re looking out for the health, welfare and lives of our community,” Mousseau said.