NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN BEGIN FALL SEMESTER FROM SJC
POSTED ON: Friday, September 4, 2020 12:06 PM by email@example.com
This weekend, U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen from the 4th Battalion will move into the dormitories at St. John’s College for the fall semester, Sept. 4-6.
In response to COVID-19, the Naval Academy set aside approximately 130 contingency rooms in its Bancroft Hall dormitory for quarantine and isolation requirements, if needed, creating the need for several hundred midshipmen to reside elsewhere during the fall semester.
After SJC announced that their students would not return this semester and will continue with remote learning, the two schools signed an agreement Aug. 21, for some midshipmen to utilize SJC dormitory capacity.
The contract was funded through Navy appropriated funds, and allows USNA to utilize the SJC dormitories through December. The majority of the midshipmen moving to SJC are from 16th and 18th company, as well as additional members of the 4th Battalion from 17th, 19th and 20th companies. These midshipmen will reside in the eight dormitory buildings spread across the SJC campus.
Naval Academy 4th Battalion Officer Capt. Greg Mendenhall is leading the move of midshipmen over to SJC.
"The midshipmen are adapting well to the change, as they have over these last six months, with resilience and enthusiasm,” said Mendenhall. “They have dubbed SJC as the ‘9th Wing’ of Bancroft Hall and 16th Company will begin honing their croquet skills in the coming weeks. We are appreciative of the SJC leadership and staff for opening up to us and we will continue to be great ambassadors to our town of Annapolis.”
The midshipmen residing at SJC will live by the same rules, regulations, and standards as Bancroft Hall. This includes abiding by the Midshipmen Regulations Manual that govern all midshipmen conduct, and fulfilling watch bill duties.
- The structured midshipmen leadership will exist at SJC as it does in Bancroft Hall.
- A coordinated, midshipmen-led watch bill, with company officer and senior enlisted leader oversight, will be utilized to maintain the safety and security of the SJC spaces.
- The watch organization will mirror that which is used in Bancroft Hall, adapting the watch schedules to conform to the new environment, including a 24-hour active duty military watch schedule which will provide comprehensive oversight of our activities.
- Misconduct by midshipmen while guests at SJC will not be tolerated and dealt with swiftly.
- Midshipmen will also use the security protocols already in place at SJC for access to each building.
- Each floor of the SJC dorms will be integrated with males and females and members of each class as space permits.
- Naval Support Activity Annapolis, Annapolis Police Department, and NCIS have been consulted in preparation for this move.
One adjustment for midshipmen living at SJC is planning for more time in transit to get to events on the Yard, given the added 10-minute walk to most areas of the Naval Academy. Additionally, most rooms at SJC are single rooms and the rooms do not include a shower or a sink, so additional time will be necessary as the midshipmen prepare for each day. Midshipmen will not be permitted to have personal vehicles at SJC.
While the Academy is focused on physical security concerns mentioned above, safety is also a primary focus in terms of COVID-19 and mental health.
“We know that COVID-19 has produced unique challenges and we are prepared to meet them,” said Mendenhall. “The same COVID-19 precautions and procedures we have implemented on the Yard will be implemented and enforced at St. John's College. Any individual testing positive for COVID-19 will return to the Yard for isolation. We have also constructed a daily battle rhythm that accounts for the mental wellbeing of our shipmates. We will ensure that the midshipmen housed at SJC are still a well-integrated part of our family and their efforts will directly lead to our team success.”
Other noteworthy items included in the plan:
- Midshipmen living at SJC will not be permitted to have visitors from the Yard, to include midshipmen from other battalions. Midshipmen living at SJC may visit with members of the Brigade, but must do so in Bancroft Hall or on the Yard.
- Midshipmen will be provided food from King Hall, ‘grab and go’ style, consistent with midshipmen residing on the Yard.
- A separate coffee/snack kiosk run by an outside contractor is being established for off-meal times at SJC, with similar offerings to what is available to midshipmen on the Yard.
- Midshipmen may receive in-town delivery service for food, consistent with the policy for midshipmen living on the Yard.
- Downtown Annapolis and the area adjacent to the State Capitol remains off-limits to all midshipmen at this time. To minimize the spread of COVID-19, midshipmen are not currently authorized off-Yard liberty. That policy continues for the time being although the liberty policy is reviewed weekly.
“This move has been a substantial undertaking, we will monitor it closely and adjust as necessary as the days and weeks ahead unfold,” said Mendenhall. “The midshipman leadership has been key to our efforts thus far and will be instrumental to our success in continuing the Naval Academy mission moving forward.”