The US Air Force Academy has eased coronavirus social-distancing restrictions after it reported back-to-back suicide deaths of two cadets, according to a report.
Some people complained that the rules made the Colorado Springs academy prison-like for the nearly 1,000 seniors who remain on the campus while others complete the year online, according to The Gazette, which obtained emails from the school.
“After last night and today, thank you for all the conversations and direct engagement with me and (Air Force) senior leaders,” Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the school’s superintendent, said in an email announcing the policy changes Monday night.
“I asked them to come out and talk to you and I am grateful that despite the travel restrictions, they wanted to talk to you.”
Cadets will be allowed to leave the campus for drive-thru food, get a casual Friday during which they can wear civilian clothing and may congregate in small groups while following with state guidelines.
Also rescinded are long “tours” of marching practice for cadets who don’t stay six feet away from their classmates.
“No one is being punished for social distancing violations. Be smart!” Silveria said in an email.
Alcohol, while still forbidden in dorms and vehicles, will be allowed elsewhere on the 18,500-acre campus – and the academy staff was encouraged to bring their dogs to work.
“Dogs are mission-essential and allowed any time,” the general said.
The policy changes came after the senior class remained on campus, spread out across emptied dorms, and ordered to stay separated from one another while taking online classes and eating take-out meals.
The cadets who committed suicide on March 26 and 27 were set to graduate this spring.
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