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Tags: Coronavirus | covid19 | westpoint | military | vaccination

Unvaccinated Cadets Fear Retaliation at West Point

Unvaccinated Cadets Fear Retaliation at West Point
West Point Commencement Ceremony on May 22, 2021, in West Point, New York. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 17 June 2021 10:27 PM

Three dozen unvaccinated cadets at the military's West Point academy now fear retaliation after the academy's implementation of stricter quarantines and other restrictions than at the pandemic's height.

The unvaccinated few stand alongside 4,500 students at the academy, the rest of whom have been vaccinated. The new measures included a seven-day quarantine for the unvaccinated cadets before summer training.

"It's like solitary confinement — for a disease we don't have," one cadet said anonymously, according to FOX News, fearing they could be reprimanded. 

The seven-day quarantine is stricter than the previous restriction of motion (ROM) put in place because before, cadets coming back from break could still enjoy some activities, including going to the mess hall. 

Last week, documents were revealed that indicated unvaccinated cadets were cited with Negative Cadet Observation Reports, or NCORs, for not social distancing or wearing a mask. 

Even though the military has issued no vaccine mandate and New York, where West Point is located, lifted its COVID-19 restrictions, unvaccinated students are still required to wear masks in shared spaces, including bathrooms and showers.

The school's public affairs office said, "In shared indoor spaces masks are required. Identical to the academic year mask requirements, if the shower and bathroom is in a shared indoor space, non-vaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask when not performing personnel hygiene."

Masks should also be worn when cadets are swimming unless a socially distanced space is maintained. The only time masks are not required by those cadets is during physical training.

According to the U.S. Military Academy's Public Affairs Office, the reason for the restrictions is that unvaccinated individuals still posed a risk of spreading the virus. 

"Though they train together and are fully integrated in all activities, unvaccinated cadets are currently being housed separately from vaccinated cadets to minimize transmission risk and are provided with equal or better living conditions," one spokesperson said.

"The academy's risk mitigation plan for summer military training was developed under the guidance of medical advisers, experience from last year's academy summer training experiences, and is aligned with the measures used in other military training exercises across the Army."

West Point denied that the school's COVID coordinator, Col. Laura Dawson, coerced cadets into getting the vaccine or face the possibility of leaving the academy.

"Currently, the Department of Defense is not mandating vaccinations for U.S. military members, and it remains optional but encouraged for West Point personnel," the school stated. "Any harassment, abuse, threats, or punitive measures targeting unvaccinated personnel is antithetical to West Point policy, ideals, and Army values. West Point takes every report of inappropriate behavior very seriously and takes immediate actions to address such reports in a timely manner."

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Three dozen unvaccinated cadets at the military's West Point academy now fear retaliation after the academy's implementation of stricter quarantines and other restrictions...
covid19, westpoint, military, vaccination
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2021-27-17
Thursday, 17 June 2021 10:27 PM
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