Dozens of U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen infected with COVID-19 are being moved from the school’s dormitory to an Annapolis hotel as the academy works to contain an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The movement of 98 midshipmen to the Hilton Garden Inn will provide additional quarantine and isolation space for sickened students, the academy said in a statement Monday.
“The academy is executing a short-term contract to utilize the hotel’s lodging service and meal service with two midshipmen per room,” according to the statement. “These midshipmen are recovering from the COVID-19 virus and are from a variety of classes within the brigade. They will continue to be monitored twice daily.”
Those being housed at the Hilton will be required to stay in their own room “except when escorted outdoors at set times for wellness purposes,” according to the academy.
“Classes will be attended virtually,” according to the statement. “In addition, midshipmen are not [allowed] authorized guests or deliveries from food vendors or delivery services.”
First and second class midshipmen will begin to return to the Naval Academy in Annapolis in about a week under a staggered plan.
Monday’s announcement follows a Sunday address by academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck that COVID mitigation measures would be increased due to an uptick in cases among the Brigade of Midshipmen.
Those measures include a return to full restriction of movement, or ROM, for students, according to an academy release Sunday that included Buck’s comments.
“While our midshipman population is young and healthy, and likely able to rebound from COVID-19, there are still too many unknowns with COVID-19 to take this situation lightly,” Buck said Sunday. “The health and safety of our entire Naval Academy family is, and will remain, my highest priority while we continue to execute our mission of developing our future naval leaders.”
Sponsors, parents and current and former military members will not be allowed onto the academy grounds in order to prevent any spread of the virus, Buck said Sunday in the release.
Sunday’s release also laid out a raft of measures that will be taken for at least the next 10 days to mitigate the virus’ spread.
Classes will all go remote and all meals will be eaten in dorm rooms, the release states.
Midshipmen will be allowed outdoor physical activity for two hours max a day, with one roommate, while students identified as close contacts of positive cases will be tested daily.
All sports events and practices will be suspended, with a few exceptions.
The men’s team will be allowed to participate in postseason play since the team has been isolated from the rest of the brigade since last week, but the women’s team will not get to play in the Patriot League tourney because of a recent positive COVID-19 test within the program’s “Tier 1,” which includes players, coaches and team staff, according to the release.