Greetings and good day,
Summer presses on and fall gets closer every day. This change of the seasons brings with it the start of a new school year and the time for students to return to their studies.
We at the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education would like to welcome back all our students for the new school year. Whether you are attending class online or have returned to your school premises for in-person instruction, we are all pleased and excited to begin a year of learning.
There has been an increase in uncertainty and concern over the new school year as we have witnessed recent increases in positive COVID-19 cases. The start of the pandemic in 2020 led to over a year of online learning and numerous challenges along with it. While it is natural to be concerned for the safety of our students and families, we want to make it clear that DODE extends our support to our schools and the surrounding communities.
We urge our students, families, and communities to continue to remain vigilant and follow the safety guidelines, as well to build strong communication channels with their schools. We ask they share their voice and concerns to their schools regarding their reopening and safety conditions.
The challenges we have faced over the past year and a half of the pandemic have shown how important it is to communicate and cooperate. This extends to students and families working with their school’s principal, school board, and superintendent. When we work together, we can create a safe, accommodating environment in which we can welcome back our students.
It has been a unique and challenging year with all our students having to move their lessons online, just as it has been for teachers to instruct their students online. But as you know, the Navajo people have shown strength and resilience throughout history. We want you all to know making it to this point of the pandemic on the Navajo Nation is the next chapter of that history.
We must continue to serve, support, and respect each other to build the best paths for future generations to follow, so they in turn can do the same by following the example we set.
To our students, we share the important message of packing hand sanitizer or cleaning wipes along with your school supplies and to clean your hands often throughout the day. Make sure your mask fits properly and you may also carry several if you choose. For students over 12, we highly advise you receive a COVID-19 vaccine if you have not done so already.
Together, we can make this school year a safe and happy one.
Ahe’hee, and welcome back!
Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education Administration