Nearly 200 midshipmen moved to hotels as Naval Academy tries to curb COVID-19 spread

Nearly 200 U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen are now being housed in hotels as the academy tries to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the brigade at the academy Annapolis, Maryland.

The academy moved an additional 98 midshipmen to the Graduate Hotel on West Street in downtown Annapolis Tuesday evening, and said the move was made to increase quarantine space in the Bancroft Hall dormitory.

It is the second wave of midshipmen to move out of the dormitory because of COVID-19. The academy housed another 98 students at the Hilton Garden Inn on Monday.

The midshipmen who moved Tuesday will be housed in 50 rooms at the Graduate Hotel. Students will be required to stay in their rooms and be escorted outside at set times for “wellness purposes.” They will attend classes virtually and cannot have guests in their rooms or deliveries from food vendors.

The academy selected the hotel because of its COVID-19 protocols and proximity to the Hilton Garden Inn, a news release said. Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck thanked the local community and management of both hotels for helping the academy navigate “this challenging period.”

“This is a dynamic situation and decisions are made on a daily basis in a way that prioritizes the health care needs of the midshipmen and well being of our entire Naval Academy community,” Buck said.

The academy said it will continue the on-campus movement restrictions it set on Sunday because of an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases. Students will remain in their dorm rooms for classes and meals, and can go outside for two hours a day, with only one roommate. The campus remains closed to the public.

To boost morale for the remaining midshipmen in Bancroft Hall, the Naval Academy Business Services Division has made multiple changes to support the students. That includes providing contactless shopping through an online marketplace to buy essential items.

The Business Services Division also will give out more than $10,000 worth of food to students through a new coffee shop on the yard and meals and snacks from the Drydock Restaurant.

The initial hotel quarantining of midshipmen came on the same day that Buck told the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee that the academy was developing plans to vaccinate its students so they can be deployed on ships this summer as part of their training.

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