The Air Force Academy’s Class of 2024 has started Basic Cadet Training ― with some added precautions in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are dedicated to keeping everyone safe and healthy but need your help,” Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria told new trainees in the Holaday Athletic Center last week, per a service news release. “Follow our health and safety guidelines, wear your masks and social distance whenever possible.”
This also means each trainee will undergo COVID-19 testing and remain quarantined for two weeks while being monitored, the service said. The Air Force Academy did not disclose details about where the trainees would be quarantined, and the Air Force Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Air Force Times about quarantine details and other COVID-19 precautions in place.
Silveria, who graduated the academy in 1985, extended open arms to the newest class of more than 1,100 trainees on June 25.
“I get to greet the best and brightest young leaders this country has to offer,” Silveria said. “You are here not only because you’ve accepted this challenge, but because we are confident in your abilities and potential.”
Silveria acknowledged that the six weeks of Basic Cadet Training would pose challenges for the trainees, but urged them to embrace the service’s core values and know that staff and faculty are rooting for them.
“We expect all of you to embody our core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do,” Silveria said.
“You’re not alone and never will be,” Silveria said. “We have an outstanding professional staff and faculty dedicated to supporting you.”
The Air Force has taken multiple precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard against the spread of the virus. For example, the Air Force Academy dismissed most cadets from campus in March as the COVID-19 pandemic started to pick up steam in the U.S. and pursue online distance learning to wrap up the semester.
However, senior cadets remained on campus. Weeks later, almost 1,000 cadets graduated from the Air Force Academy during a socially distanced commencement in April where they were spaced out 6 feet from one another outdoors at the Falcon Stadium on campus.
The Air Force also implemented precautions for the enlisted pipeline at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, including requiring a two-week “restriction of movement” period and reducing the number of trainees who reported for duty for each class.