MIDSHIPMEN TO RETURN TO ANNAPOLIS FOR FALL SEMESTER
POSTED ON: Saturday, August 8, 2020 4:34 PM by firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — U.S. Naval Academy leadership recently made the decision to bring the Brigade of Midshipmen back to Annapolis for the fall semester for a combination of in-person and virtual learning on its campus. USNA is a key naval officer accession source and is designated as mission-essential by the Secretary of Defense.
The decision includes limiting the school’s dormitory berthing to about 90% capacity during this time, with approximately 4,100 of the 4,600 midshipmen residing in Bancroft Hall. This is in an effort to maintain adequate quarantine and isolation space, as well as to decrease the population density within the building. Several alternatives are being explored for appropriate accommodations for the remaining roughly 500 midshipmen, but the goal is for all midshipmen to reside in the Annapolis area this fall.
“While not optimal, a significant portion of academic learning may be achieved in an online forum. I am a firm believer, however, that leadership development requires hands-on learning, and training future leaders is the primary mission of this institution,” said Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck. “Having the Brigade of Midshipmen back in one central location is critical to our mission accomplishment.”
The return of the Brigade, which began mid-July, will continue to be staggered through early-September, utilizing the same “test-ROM (quarantine)-test” construct used throughout the summer. Upon arrival, midshipmen will be tested for COVID-19, then conduct a 14-day restriction of movement (ROM - quarantine) period, followed by a second COVID-19 test.
Some additional details of the reform plan for Fall 2020 include:
- The Naval Academy will continue to maintain increased cleaning protocols across the Yard with emphasis in Bancroft Hall, academic and physical mission buildings.
- In order to maintain appropriate social distancing during meals, the Brigade will be fed in waves (instead of seated all together during most meals, as is typical for the service academy).
- Faculty, staff, and coaches will conduct daily self-monitoring for influenza-like illness or COVID-like illness and, if symptomatic, refrain from reporting to work and seek medical treatment, as required.
- Flexible personnel policies are being implemented to adjust workspace occupancy levels to support physical distancing requirements as well as address ongoing impacts such as high-risk employees, childcare, etc.
- Work spaces (cubicles, classrooms, shared offices, etc.) are being re-configured to ensure a minimum distancing of six feet between individuals, and virtual meetings will continue to be maximized.
- Academic instruction will be conducted in a hybrid format, partly in-person and partly online, at approximately half capacity. (For example, no more than 10 midshipmen in a classroom that would normally have 20.)
- Masks will be worn by all midshipmen and a minimum of six feet will be maintained between each student in the classroom. Faculty will be masked whenever within 10 feet of students.
- Midshipmen who will begin the fall semester remotely --- a majority of whom are 3rd Class Midshipmen (sophomores) -- will have textbooks mailed directly to where they are currently residing.
- Additionally, random COVID-19 testing of the Naval Academy general population is planned to be implemented beginning Aug. 24, in accordance with NAVADMIN 178/20.
The safety of midshipmen, faculty, staff, coaches and the entire USNA community, as well as the local Annapolis community, remains our number one priority. For this reason, and to limit potential COVID-19 vectors from asymptomatic individuals, the Yard will remain closed to the general public, and midshipmen will not be permitted liberty off the Yard.
Additionally, we ask that those who may have approved credentials to access the Yard -- such as sponsors, parents, active/Reserve/retired military -- please refrain from visiting the Naval Academy at this time in order to minimize the spread of this virus.
We have embraced the challenge of COVID-19 and are learning, adapting, and improving continuously. The ongoing global pandemic is an evolving situation and, based on the environment, details could change rapidly. We will continue to evaluate our plans on a daily basis while we set out to educate and train these future leaders for success.