BANGOR, Maine (AP) — The Penobscot Nation is suspending its youth program and day care at week’s end as the tribe grapples with the surge of COVID-19.
“I understand that this is disappointing and frustrating news. Our hope is that these measures will only have to be in place short term,” Chief Kirk Francis wrote in the letter to the community.
Other measures include reducing workers in tribal offices and eliminating public access to buildings except for the health center. A mask mandate was also put in place inside tribal buildings.
Two weeks ago, leaders from the Penobscot Nation Health Department said during a virtual town hall that the tribal vaccination rate is between 33% and 45%, far below Maine’s statewide vaccination rate.
Francis encouraged tribal members to get vaccinated and to wear masks in public places.
In other pandemic-related news:
There are at least 10 COVID-19 outbreaks in Maine schools but that’s not the only problem: There’s a shortage of bus drivers.
The superintendent of RSU 4 in Sabattus, Litchfield and Wales announced Wednesday that there will be no bus runs until Tuesday, and two buses serving Oxford Elementary School were canceled on Thursday and Friday, WMTW-TV reported.
RSU 4 Superintendent Andrew Carlton said in a letter to parents it’s better to have a hodgepodge of transportation provided by parents than going to a remote-learning model.
“While I know none of this is ideal and there will be some that cannot get their children to school, I did not want to close our doors as remote learning is not the most ideal option if we can avoid it,” he wrote.