Charles M. Roessel, the president of Diné College, was worried in June.
Summer enrollment at the tribal college in Arizona was down 60 percent. Fall enrollment was down 70 percent. And it was easy to understand why: the college serves the Navajo Nation, which was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The area where the main campus is located was hit by the virus even harder than the rest of the reservation.
“We started thinking the worst,” Roessel said.
Then, a few weeks before the semester began, the college’s phones started ringing. Diné was getting 200 calls per day