This week on the Minnesota Native News health report, why face coverings remain important as we navigate the delta variant, specifically in schools. Reporter Dalton Walker explains in this week’s stories
School is just around the corner for many across Minnesota, and part of your back-to-school checklist should again include face masks.
It’s true, COVID-19 cases remain low and are considerably less than this time last year, or even a few months ago. But that could change.
Over the past few weeks, health officials have been warning citizens about a new threat known as the delta variant of the coronavirus. It’s highly contagious and dangerous if caught, especially to the unvaccinated. Most coronavirus cases in the state are of the delta kind.
Last week, we explained how tribes across the state have been pushing for more vaccinations because of the variant.
Now, in relation to the delta variant, state health and education officials issued new school COVID-19 guidance for the fall. The guidance is not a mandate and will be up to individual districts to implement.
One recommendation is for students, teachers and staff to wear masks even if vaccinated against COVID-19. Another is for anyone 12 years and older to get vaccinated.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and other state health officials have been providing COVID-19 briefings more regularly again.
“Students, families and K-12 educators are preparing now for the start of the 20-21 school year. I don’t want to miss saying that we are in a much better place than where we were last year thanks to the millions of Minnesotans who have stepped up to get vaccinated, and that is a critical difference. But it’s very clear that we are not done with the pandemic yet,” said Malcolm in a recent Minnesota Department of Health briefing.
Be sure to reach out to your local school district for the latest guidance as school approaches.
In news related to face masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention again revised its guidance for wearing masks indoors among groups.
Fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors if they are in areas where the virus is surging. In Minnesota, 75 percent of new COVID-19 cases are delta, according to health officials.
Also, Tribes in Minnesota have routinely shared weekly updates since the start of the pandemic. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is one of them.
Mille Lacs Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin shared the latest covid numbers among citizens. She relayed a message from the tribe’s Health and Human Services about the delta variant.
“The best way to make sure that you and your family are protected when you are in large groups, please wear your mask. If you have family members and friends that do not have the covid vaccine, you can make them aware that there are clinics at the Health and Human Services building so if they are interested in getting the vaccine,” said Benjamin.
Dalton Walker reporting for Minnesota Native News
More from Native Lights
- Food For Thought- Bringing Back Indigenous FoodsThe movement to rebuild Indigenous Food Sovereignty is getting help from many sources. This week on Minnesota Native News, reporter Emma Needham shares a story on writers and community partnerships working to bring back Native food practices in Minnesota.
- New MN Poet Laureate, Publishing Celebration, and Wise Words for Changing TimesDr. Gwen Nell Westerman has been appointed the new MN Poet Laureate. And a celebration is being held soon for the publication of five Ojibwe language books. And also, Dr Antony Stately, CEO of the Native American Community Clinic, shares wise words on the radio.
- Reservation Dogs Review: “I Feel Represented”This week on Minnesota Native News, we dive into the new hit series Reservation Dogs, which is mid-way through its first season. Reservation Dogs is an all-indigenous production. Diego Luke reports.
- A Protest and a PlayThis week on Minnesota Native News, the Line Three protest comes to the capitol and – New Native Theater takes its new show to the street.
- Leadership Program Opens ApplicationsApplications for the 12th cohort of the Native Nations Rebuilders Program are now open. The program is operated by the Native Governance Center, and the Native American Community Clinic in Minneapolis is now requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for its health center staff. Native Nations Rebuilders, the two year leadership development program, begins this coming December. It …