The school buses were a giveaway.
School wasn’t supposed to be in session on March 16, the day Arizona’s statewide shutdown of public schools went into effect. But that morning, residents in the tiny Navajo community of Hardrock spotted buses running their usual routes. They were headed to Rocky Ridge Boarding School.
The school didn’t have to comply with Arizona’s decision. It’s operated by the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Education, an overlooked and often criticized agency with schools scattered across Indian Country. Fears of COVID-19 prompted BIE to close many of its schools. But Rocky Ridge held one more day of school, an employee confirmed, and some school employees continued meeting for at least two more days.