Citing a public health emergency, Turtle Mountain schools will close for nearly two weeks in an effort to reduce rising positive COVID-19 cases.

Belcourt schools, Dunseith Indian Day School and Ojibwa Indian School will close from Jan. 5-14. Schools will remain closed on Monday, Jan. 17 because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will resume Tuesday, Jan. 18.

The request to close schools was brought forth by TMBCI. Both the Belcourt School District Board and Bureau of Indian Education agreed with the closures.

No virtual instruction will be held, according to a Facebook post from Dr. Michelle Thomas-Langan, the district superintendent, and sports will continue with athletes being tested for COVID twice a week. As of now, schools have accumulated enough extra instructional time to cover this school closure without having to make-up days, the post said.

“We want to educate our students, but we want to do it in the most healthy environment and when a request is made by our Tribal Council, we will respect and consider that and work with our community to ensure not only our children, but our elders are safe. That’s our job to do here. And so, we will do whatever it takes and we will hit the ground running, just as we have since the onset of COVID and begin teaching our children whenever they return to school,” Dr. Thomas-Langan told KX News.