Mask mandate lifted in local schools on Navajo Reservation

By David Boyle
News Director
On May 5, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren signed an Executive Order to amend the public health order that made wearing a mask mandatory in enclosed areas and in public on the Navajo Nation.
While the mask mandate had been lifted earlier in January 2023, exceptions existed for healthcare facilities, schools, and senior citizen centers. That changed with the updated order signed on May 5.
The President indicates that anyone still choosing to wear a mask while on the Navajo Nation could continue doing so.
However, the signing of the executive order means the Navajo Nation is no longer requiring masks.
“As always, anyone should feel free to wear a mask if they so choose,” said Nygren. “If institutions such as healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and schools choose to require masks, they may do so under their own guidelines.”
President Nygren said he will respect healthcare facilities, schools, senior centers to continue enforcing their COVID-19 protocols.
He added many schools across the Nation wanted the mask mandate to be lifted because it was difficult for schools to require students to wear them in class.
“It was really tough on the (school) administrators,” he said.
That was the case in particular at Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, where more than half of the members of the student body signed a petition in November, 2022 asking that the mask mandate be lifted at the school.
With the Navajo Nation lifting their mandate the masking mandate has been lifted at Whitehorse High.
President Nygren reiterated wearing a mask is an option and encouraged everyone to continue staying safe.
“Let’s continue to be diligent,” he said.

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