By HEATHER MONGILIOCAPITAL GAZETTE |SEP 22, 2020 AT 12:59 PM
Midshipmen will not be allowed to go home for Thanksgiving, with the Naval Academy instead considering local and weekend leave.
The decision was made to protect the health and safety of the midshipmen, staff and faculty and based off of the COVID-19 situation at the academy, the Annapolis area and the country, as well as potential health risks to midshipmen who would have traveled, according to a press release from the academy.
Midshipmen found out Monday evening through an email from Commandant Capt. Thomas R. Buchanan.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and our association protocols do not afford the opportunity for the entire organization to go home and return as we would like for a normal Thanksgiving,” Buchanan said in the email.
The midshipmen will have a normal day of class on Wednesday, have off on Thursday for the holiday and then have a reading/study day on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Liberty for Thanksgiving is still to be determined based on the COVID-19 situation, according to Buchanan’s email.
As of last week, at least 14 members of the Naval Academy community had tested positive for the coronavirus causing COVID-19 over the previous four weeks, according to percentages provided by the academy.
The midshipmen may have liberty on the weekend after Thanksgiving, but that is also dependent on the coronavirus pandemic.
Looking toward the end of the semester, the last day of classes for midshipmen will be Dec. 3 with exams commencing on Dec. 4 and ending Dec. 11.
The midshipmen will be at the academy on Dec. 12 for the Army-Navy game, according to Buchanan’s email.
The academy leadership will inform the midshipmen about when winter break begins and ends at a later date, according to the email.
Information about the academic schedule for the spring semester is not available currently, according to the academy press release.
Midshipmen previously raised concerns about low morale and mental health, which in part stemmed from lack of leave up until two weekends ago.
At the time, midshipmen expressed concerns that they would not be allowed to go home for Thanksgiving.
Midshipmen have taken to anonymous app Jodel and anonymous Instagram accounts to express dismay over the decision to not be able to go home for Thanksgiving.Heather MongilioCONTACT
Heather Mongilio is the Report For America corps member with the Capital Gazette, where she covers military affairs. Mongilio previously reported at The Frederick News-Post and the Carroll County Times. She earned a master’s degree in science writing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from American University.