Training activities that typically took place in the dorm hallways could not be done within the parameters of physical distancing rules. As a result, any activity normally conducted in the hallways is now held outside where cadets are able to spread out.
Much planning was dedicated to developing a feeding plan that meets the needs of the Corps while operating within current COVID-19 guidelines. With a Corps of over 2300, a lot was taken into consideration when it came to developing the schedule. For the fall semester, the Corps is divided into five feeding blocks that work around academic schedules, and morning and evening formation. To continue the physical distancing protocol, morning and evening formation are spread out across the Quad. Physical training times will be conducted with 10 cadets or less, and certain training activities will not be conducted.
Signage across the Quad and in the dorms clearly communicates the face covering requirement, reminds cadets to practice healthy habits to include physical distancing and hand washing, and to self-monitor for COVID symptoms. Great care was taken to reduce the number of areas where large groups of students can congregate, adjusting traffic patterns by specifying doors for entry and exit into/out of buildings and providing safe study spaces for cadets.
A lot of time and effort went into planning for Freshman Orientation Week and the start of the new school year. Many of the processes and plans in place would not have come to fruition without the collaboration and support of Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, Director of Student Health Services, Dr. Mark E. Benden, Associate Professor and Department Head for the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the School of Public Health, and Dr. Shawn Gibbs, the Dean of the School of Public Health.
The processes and procedures the Corps of Cadets has in place this semester make for a different environment. All are necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of cadets. Through the Corps’ work with the Health Science Center, the Texas A&M School of Public, and Student Health Services, the Corps of Cadets can continue to operate while helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.
by Brittany Coker, Corps of Cadets