Dear Tribal Leader Letter

Dates: April 07, 2021 10:15pm to 10:15pm

Dear Tribal Leader:

The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) would like your input on its school reopening plans. The BIE will rely upon the latest U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance regarding reopening its K-12 schools, residential facilities, and post-secondary schools for safe delivery of in-person and hybrid instruction.

Further, BIE is considering additional items that are beyond ED and CDC guidance as it undertakes the plan updates. The items include:

  • What is needed to ensure student safety when using commercial transportation services before students travel to a residential facility and when they travel home?
  • Would you recommend that students be vaccinated before arriving on campus if vaccinations are available?
  • What are your recommendations to serve students that plan to attend residential facilities and post-secondary institutions from communities with high rates of COVID-19?
  • Are there any recommendations for grades K-12 and residential facilities not already addressed by ED and CDC reopening guidance that requires additional clarification or guidance by BIE?

The BIE-operated schools include three categories, each of which BIE will plan for separately:

  1. Schools serving grades K 12;
  2. BIE residential facilities;
  3. Post-secondary institutions (specifically, Haskell Indian Nations University and Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI))

The intended purpose of the Tribal consultation and stakeholder engagement is to ensure that BIE is meeting the needs of its students, schools, and Tribal communities during the COVID -19 Pandemic recovery.

Webinar sessions are scheduled for:

K-12 and Residential Facilities
May 10, 2021
3 p.m. - 4 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)
The webinar link to this meeting is no longer valid.

Post-Secondary Institutions
May 11, 2021
3 p.m. - 4 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)

The webinar link to this meeting is no longer valid.

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the session. Each day of Tribal consultation session will be followed by a public session from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET.

The BIE will accept both oral and written comments . Written comments may be emailed to or by postal mail to Bureau of Indian Education, Ms. Juanita Mendoza, 1849 C Street NW MIB-3612, Washington, DC 20240. Comments must be received on or before 11:59 p.m. ET, Friday, May 14, 2021. Questions regarding the Tribal consultations may be directed to Dr. Tamarah Pfeiffer, Chief Academic Officer, Bureau of Indian Education; fax: (505) 563-3043 or email :


Bryan Newland

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs

Cc: Acting Chief Academic Officer

Associate Deputy Bureau Director, School Operations Associate Deputy Director - Bureau Operated Schools

Acting Associate Deputy Director - Tribally Controlled Schools Acting Associate Deputy Director - Navajo Schools

Youth Running on beach coast. Northwestern Portland Area Tribal Youth Running on Coastline

Contact Us

Office of the Assistant Secretary
1849 C Street, N.W. MS-4004-MIB
Washington, DC 20240
Open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday.