Message from the Commandant
January 15, 2021
Campus Health and Safety Pause
With the combination of new vaccines, herd immunity and adherence to continued safety protocols, there is finally a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. We expect that things will improve in early Spring; however, February is still a major concern based on the science currently available. For that reason, we are requiring you to do what Massachusetts Maritime Academy cadets are known for "Discipline, Knowledge and Leadership" and add endurance and perseverance.
On February 2nd, we will start to welcome back the majority of our Regiment to restore some sense of normalcy at the Academy as we begin our spring semester. The plan is for cadets to submit a negative PCR test done within 72 hours of arrival, be tested upon arrival, and then retested shortly thereafter as we continue surveillance testing. The purpose is to start the semester with a reasonably healthy campus community. All of this effort will be for not, if we resume business as usual and allow cadets to leave campus and return at will. These are not ordinary times. For this reason we are making the extraordinary request that cadets remain on campus (including weekends) until Friday, February 26, a period of three weeks. This effort will provide us with the greatest chance to complete Spring semester on campus, and for seniors to graduate on time, and for all cadets to get back on track academically.
To show our commitment to keeping the campus community safe, we reiterate that any cadet that willfully and knowingly violates the MMA health & safety protocols will not be allowed to live in the dorm complex or on the ship and will be removed from in-person classes. Cadets living off-campus, who are currently approved to return to campus for in-person classes, will lose that privilege. Cadets who violate health and safety protocols will also be subject to disciplinary action because they are a danger to others and have violated orders.
We acknowledge that this is a lot to ask of cadets, especially if you have a job off campus or a Military Drill/ROTC obligation. We have discussed numerous other safe return scenarios but this is the one that affords us the greatest chance of achieving the goals of the President:
- Ensuring the safety of Cadets, Faculty and Staff and by extension their families
- Not allowing the academy to become a super spreader
- Getting Seniors to graduation on time
- Keeping all cadets on track academically
For cadets that work or have military obligations, a Company Officer will contact your employer and explain the request for time off, if needed. Those cadets with military obligations, CDR Kelleher will contact your command and explain the situation. He will request an excused absence or permission to make up the missed drill weekend later in the spring. Col Dilliplane, OIC BU ROTC and Navy SSOP have all been advised of the MMA return plan. Email CDR Kelleher with your specific military requests.
We understand the need to have a balance between health and safety and the social well-being of our cadets. It is our intention to make the three week Health and Safety pause as positive an experience as possible for the cadets. Chartwells is working on a variety of new food selections and special events. The SGA is rolling out a host of on-campus activities both during the week and weekends, to include a Super Bowl function. There will be a robust intramural program along with increases in SGA recreational equipment which can be signed out by individuals. We extended hours for the gym, mail room and ABS and have spaces for group study and/or just socializing such as the Fantail, Baystate Conference, Mess Deck and the ABS. There will be no outside morning formations during this three week period and all cadets are allowed to have a mini-refrigerator (for this COVID semester only) in their room. Modified varsity athletic practices for residential students are targeted to begin 13 Feb. Male cadets should arrive with a fresh haircut meeting regimental standards. During the month of February, regimental standards for male haircuts will be relaxed because we do not want cadets cutting each other's hair.
In order to keep the campus as safe as possible, there will be significant restrictions placed on regimental commuters, faculty and staff and where they can go on campus. Faculty and staff and commuters are restricted from entering the dining facilities, main gym, express gym, and the ABS. The only exception to the dining facility for staff is the "Mate on Watch" and the "Academy Staff Duty Officer".
Regimental Commuter Expectations
- Regimental Commuters must complete CAMPUS CLEAR EACH morning.
- Regimental Commuters must obtain a negative PCR COVID test done within 3 days before February 8th and submit it to Health Services at email@example.com (campus access not allowed without this)
- Regimental Commuters should not come to campus if they have COVID symptoms or if they have been exposed to COVID, but should contact Health Services directly
- Regimental Commuters are part of surveillance testing and must report when selected.
- Regimental Commuters are not allowed in the dormitories unless selected for COVID-19 surveillance testing and/or random drug testing. Testing will be held on the 00 deck of 2nd Company. Specific instructions on when, where, and how to report will be issued in the testing notification.
- Regimental Commuters are not allowed in the mess deck or the Razor’s Edge/Fantail.
- Regimental Commuters are required to adhere to uniform and grooming standards.
- Regimental Commuters are not allowed in the main gym or the express gym
- Regimental Commuters are not allowed in the school store
- Regimental Commuters are not allowed in the ABS
- Regimental Commuters will not be allowed to join varsity athletics practice until the February restrictions are lifted, and possibly later. This subject will be reviewed at a later date.
- Regimental Commuters are not allowed to participate in "on-campus" activities
- Regimental Commuters are not to carpool to campus unless they are living in the same household.
- Regimental Commuters will need a parking permit (which can be purchased in Self Service) for the gym parking lot
- A room will be provided within the Harrington building for a study space for all commuter students.
Cadets approved to be totally ONLINE will not be allowed on campus. If an ONLINE cadet needs to come to campus they must follow the VISITORS POLICY contained on our website.
Finally, as we begin the Spring term, all the health and safety measures established in the Fall will remain in effect for the Spring term. We hope that as we start the spring with these continued restrictions and protocols we may be able to ease some of these restrictions as we establish a safe environment and local cases begin to decline.
I want to acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances that everyone has endured since March of last year. I am grateful for your efforts and willingness to sacrifice to help us all get to the other side. Please remember, as with any plan during this ever-changing COVID period, this plan could change. If this is the case, we will do our best to provide updates to you as quickly as possible. Please take care of yourselves and your family. We are all looking forward to seeing you all back on campus soon.