Second Coast Guard Academy cadet tests positive for COVID-19

A second Coast Guard Academy cadet has tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus disease.

The 20-year-old female, who is in her third year at the academy, was among a group of seven cadets who traveled to Spain over spring break earlier this month. While the cadets were there, President Donald Trump ordered a suspension on European travel in response to the global pandemic and they had to return to the U.S.

The academy cautioned all cadets, before they left for spring break, not to travel or have a layover in any of affected counties, which at the time did not include Spain, spokesman Cdr. Dave Milne said. Staff reviewed cadets’ travel itineraries before they left, he said.

Another cadet, a 20-year-old male also in his third year at the academy, was the first cadet in the group to test positive for the virus. He became symptomatic after returning from the trip and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. He has been quarantined at home in Florida. The female has been quarantined at home in the Virgin Islands.

None of the other cadets on the trip, who were in the process getting tested last week, has reported testing positive for the virus. All cadets are required to inform the academy if they receive positive test results.  

Cadets are not on campus, which is usually abuzz with activity. The academy’s spring break started March 9, and Superintendent Rear Adm. Bill Kelly said this week he is evaluating on a weekly basis when cadets might be able to return. The academy has suspended or canceled all scheduled academy events through April 30.

“When we are able, we will make recommendations on the return of the corps or portions of the corps of cadets,” Kelly said, adding that he is soliciting advice from Coast Guard leadership and leadership from the other service academies.

Kelly said he is “still committed” to hold the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, which is scheduled to take place May 20.

"When we are able, we will release information on how that’s going to take place,” Kelly said. “Hang in there.”

Cadets started remote classes and online training Monday, after tireless work by faculty and staff to get it up and running. The academy has adopted a “broad-based telework strategy” for faculty and staff, Kelly said.

Kelly also had a message for those who’ve applied to be in the Class of 2024. The admissions department, which is working remotely, continues to evaluate applications and hopes to let all applicants know their status by April 1, with the goal of having them inform the academy whether they plan to attend by May 1. Kelly said he’s “hopeful” that the class’s first day at the academy can be June 29, as scheduled.


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