NAYA asks all staff to be vaxxed

As MNA first day approaches, NAYA asks all staff to be vaxxed

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the spread and severity of COVID-19. For months, NAYA has taken the strongest possible measures to keep its staff and clients safe during this pandemic. In response to the recent record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases in Oregon, NAYA now requires employees to be fully vaccinated, effective August 31, 2021.

The organization’s COVID-19 Task Force cited both science and the traditional Native values that guide all of NAYA’s work—particularly respect, community, and accountability—in issuing its recommendations. Employees granted reasonable accommodation for medical or religious exemptions will be required to be tested regularly.

“Our community trusts NAYA to keep them safe from harm” said NAYA Executive Director Paul Lumley, Yakama. “While our center remains closed—and will for the foreseeable future—there are still rare instances where clients, including children and elders, must visit campus. If there is one measure we can take to give them added protection against this terrible virus, certainly, we will do it.”

The beginning of in-person classes at the NAYA Many Nations Academy high school on September 7, added a sense of resolve and urgency to notifying NAYA staff of the requirement.

“Students have told us in no uncertain terms that they’re really hurting when thinking about another year of virtual learning,” Lumley said. “So we decided to do whatever we could to open the school year in person. Being able to tell families we’re doing everything we can to protect their children is critical.”