By HEATHER MONGILIOCAPITAL GAZETTE |MAR 30, 2021 AT 7:17 AM
Nearly all midshipmen who wanted a vaccine for COVID-19 have received their first dose.
The remaining midshipmen — those who may have had COVID-19 — will be receiving the vaccine this week, Cmdr. Alana Garas, academy spokesperson, wrote in an email.ADVERTISING
The Naval Academy began vaccinating midshipmen in mid-March, with the first rounds of midshipmen receiving the Moderna vaccine, although the academy can distribute the Pfizer vaccine as well.
Midshipmen received the vaccine on a voluntary basis, as the vaccines are distributed on emergency authorized use, which means midshipmen are not required to receive the vaccine.
Midshipmen received the vaccine, in part, to allow them to do summer training, The Capital previously reported. Midshipmen who decline the vaccine will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Midshipmen started in-person classes Monday, Garas said. Midshipmen had been attending classes virtually while in the restriction of movement period.
The yard remains closed to visitors, but midshipmen are allowed to access more resources, including 1845 Coffee at the Midstore, according to the Naval Academy coronavirus website. The 1845 Coffee at the Gatehouse will open in a week.
The Midshipman Store is open, as are the barbershop and cobbler shop. Nimitz Library Coffee and Drydock remain closed. The Alley Restaurant will open in a week.
It is unclear how many midshipmen were sick with COVID-19. The Naval Academy cannot say the number of positive cases due to operational security.
However, the academy sent nearly 200 midshipmen, including 98 midshipmen recovering from the disease, to local hotels in order to increase isolation and quarantine space available at Bancroft Hall. Midshipmen are no longer at the hotels, Garas said.
There are also approximately 200 midshipmen living off-campus with friends, family and sponsors to allow the academy to have isolation and quarantine space in Bancroft.
A decision about commissioning week, slated for the end of May, has not yet been announced.
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.