Osage Nation government offices to open Monday

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Osage Nation government offices will reopen to the public on Monday, May 11 at normal working hours.

Osage Nation government departments will implement precautionary measures that continue the current social distancing guidelines, including six feet of separation between individuals, and limiting the number of people in a department at a time.

Wearing masks is not only authorized but encouraged. The Osage elders and employees determined “at risk” by their directors remain the most vulnerable population, and provisions should be made for them to continue to work from home (under COVID-19 leave) or in a more isolated area, if possible.

The Osage Nation has tested its employees for COVID-19 prior to having them return to work on May 11. This was done Friday, Monday and Tuesday at the WahZhaZhi Clinic on a drive-through basis.

Daposka Ahnkadapi (Immersion School) and Head Start will remain closed for the rest of the school year in line with Oklahoma Public Schools. Teachers and staff can use the available time for lesson planning, cleaning, rearranging classrooms, etc. The Early Learning Academy will open as normal but extra cleaning and sanitizing will occur throughout the day. Additionally, temperature checks will be conducted for each child prior to entering the facility, and children will be monitored throughout the day.

The annual summer camp has been cancelled. Parents are encouraged to make accommodations for childcare now for the rest of the summer. Parents with children still in school through distance learning will be allowed to remain home until May 14 or 21 (depending on the last day of school for your school district) to help their children finish their schoolwork. A household with two employee parents will only have one parent eligible for this purpose.

“Keeping our people safe and healthy has been our number one priority during this pandemic,” said Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. “With the help of social distancing and suggested guidelines, we hope to get all our employees back to work.”

The opening date of Osage Nation offices is subject to change depending on the behavior of the COVID-19 virus. Any employee that does not feel comfortable returning to work may use paid time off after coordinating with their director.