After unusual semester, Naval Academy to start winter break after Army-Navy game
By HEATHER MONGILIO | The Capital | Published: December 9, 2020
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — The last activity of the fall semester for midshipmen will be the Army-Navy game Saturday.
Midshipmen will officially begin their winter break on Dec. 13, the day after the football game, Provost Andrew Phillips said during Monday's Board of Visitors meeting.
This is the first time midshipmen will be able to leave Maryland, outside of travel for sports. For some midshipmen, it is the first time they will be able to see their families.
Midshipmen have had restricted liberty this semester due to COVID-19 restrictions. The first time the midshipmen were allowed to have town liberty, which allowed them to go within 20-miles of the academy, was on Sept. 12. The academy had planned Thanksgiving overnight leave, which would have allowed to spend the holiday with any visiting family. However, it was later canceled after a rise in COVID-19 cases among midshipmen and in the surrounding area.
Pandemic restrictions also led the academy to cancel the annual Parents Weekend.
Like with the fall semester, the Brigade of Midshipmen will return in January in a staggered fashion. Unlike the fall semester, the reform will take place over two to three weeks. When midshipmen return to campus in the winter, they will go through a restriction of movement period, as they did in the fall, Phillips said.
Classes, which start on Jan. 19, will be all online for the first week, with the hybrid model currently in use resuming in the second week of classes, he said.
There will be some logistical challenges in the spring semester to make sure all classes are offered. Over the summer, midshipmen were able to take some classes, which helped alleviate some schedule problems in the fall. The midshipmen are not able to do that over winter break, which means more classes need to be offered. All available classroom space will be used in the spring, Phillips said.
The midshipmen will be focusing classes on what they need to take to graduate, he said.
The Naval Academy is not able to provide additional details about the spring semester, said Cmdr. Alana Garas, spokesperson for the institution. One of the details is whether the midshipmen will be housed at St. Johns College again.
Midshipmen were housed at the neighboring college over the fall to allow the academy to use some of the space in Bancroft Hall to isolate midshipmen who exhibited signs of COVID-19.
Part of the reason the academy was able to rent the space was because St. Johns did not bring its students back in the fall. It is unclear if students will come to campus in the spring semester, although the school implied on its website it planned to have students attend in person.