Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, operated by the Cherokee Nation, reopened for in-person learning Monday after the tribal government received new, rapid test kits from the federal government, allowing school administrators to test all students and staff weekly before they enter the building.
"My team has worked each day to find safe ways to bring students back, and recently we obtained new cutting edge rapid tests, known as BiNaxNOW tests, that have made these decisions for limited in-person instruction possible," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. in a letter to students and families.
Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the receipt of about 77,000 BiNaxNOW tests from the federal government on Oct. 1.
Sequoyah students will attend in-person classes one day per week, with each day from Monday through Thursday for one of the four grade levels it serves. Friday will be a virtual learning day for all.
Hoskin said if reopening goes smoothly, extracurriculars may be reinstated as well -- but not those activities involving other school districts.
"Because we cannot control the safety standards at other schools in the region, those activities will not initially involve competitive activities with other schools," Hoskin said.
"Let me be clear: Decisions at Sequoyah are made based on protecting students, teachers and communities from COVID, not politics, not pressure, and not decisions by other school districts," Hoskin said.
According to Sequoyah's website, it has more than 300 students from 42 different tribes and 14 states.