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Nearly 200 midshipmen leaving Naval Academy grounds to make space for coronavirus quarantine

Approximately 190 upper-class midshipmen will commute to the Naval Academy this semester, living off-campus to make room for coronavirus quarantine space.

About 60 of the midshipmen are staying with sponsors, while the others are with their family or friends. All commuting midshipmen are living within a 35-mile radius of the academy, said Jenny Erickson, media relations director.

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Coronavirus restrictions forced the Naval Academy to set aside approximately 130 rooms in Bancroft Hall in case midshipmen become sick or need to isolate, creating a space crunch.

During the fall semester, the academy was awarded more than $1 million to rent dormitory space at neighboring St. John’s College in Annapolis to house 380 midshipmen. The college’s plans to bring students back to its campus in the spring semester prevented the academy from being able to rent that space.

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St. John’s will start off its spring semester with online classes until Feb. 12, according to the college’s website.

Midshipmen who are living off-campus will follow most of the same regulations as their counterparts living in Bancroft.

All midshipmen went through a 10-day restriction of movement period upon return to Annapolis. Commuters spent this period at their off-campus residence and received a 10-day allowance for meals, Erickson wrote in an email.

Once the commuters finish the restrictive period, they will eat their three daily meals at King Hall at the academy.

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Midshipmen who live off-campus are still required to follow the same liberty restrictions as those on campus. They will technically have yard liberty at their residence, just as midshipmen do on campus. However, outside yard liberty, the commuters are only to travel to and from the academy. Stopping for gas and emergencies are allowed, Erickson said.

Living off-campus was a voluntary option for midshipmen, and they will not receive compensation despite being housed off campus and needing to commute. Likewise, sponsors, families and family friends are housing midshipmen on a voluntary basis and are not being compensated.

This was communicated to midshipmen, sponsors, families and family friends, Erickson said.

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