Naval Academy Begins to Ease Restrictions on Midshipmen Although Classes Still Online
The Naval Academy began to ease restrictions Sunday night that were placed on midshipmen after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the academy, now allowing food to be delivered to the Yard again and the brigade to perform outdoor meetings and formations.
Midshipmen interaction is still limited to roommates only outside of in-person, socially-distanced formations and musters that will take place outdoors, said Naval Academy spokesperson Cmdr. Alana Garas.
Meetings and formations are “military obligations,” Garas said in the email.
Midshipmen are now allowed to receive deliveries to Gate 1, as long as they are done in a socially-distanced manner. The Yard will continue to be closed to visitors, Garas said.
The Naval Academy Business Services Division, which includes the beauty/barber shop, Midshipman store and other services, will resume appropriate services, as well, Garas said. One of these services is likely the barbershop as midshipmen took to social media Monday to comment on the number of midshipmen in line for haircuts.
Varsity sports also resumed practice Monday.
COVID-19 cases at the academy are decreasing, allowing for the midshipmen to have fewer restrictions. The academy experienced an outbreak of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, although the academy could not release how many midshipmen were sick due to operational security concerns. Nearly 200 midshipmen were moved to local hotels in order to expand quarantine and isolation space in Bancroft Hall.
Limiting midshipmen interaction is expected to keep COVID-19 cases decreasing, although the academy will continue to reevaluate as needed, Garas said.
However, the cases nor the number of midshipmen in the isolation/quarantine space are not decreasing as rapidly as academy leadership hoped, and classes will continue to remain online through March 26, according to an email from Provost Andrew Phillips posted to social media app Jodel over the weekend. Garas confirmed Phillips sent the email.
“Simply put, the numbers have not decreased to a level that makes us comfortable having midshipmen return to in-person classes, as we had previously hoped,” Phillips wrote in the email.
The academy is open to faculty, the provost wrote, but he encouraged remote working if possible.
“The academic workspaces remain safe … very safe, but we are approaching everything with an abundance of caution, and providing everyone with as much workplace flexibility as possible under the circumstances,” he said.
In-person classes will be revisited next week, according to Phillips’ email.
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