The Marine Corps has ended the mandatory 14-day quarantine recruits were required to complete before starting training camp.
In late March 2020, outbreaks of potentially fatal COVID-19 during recruit training caused Parris Island, South Carolina, to temporarily cease receiving new recruits for a short time. In San Diego, the number of recruit shipments has been halved for April 2020.
In an effort to resume normal shipping numbers and prevent future escapes, the Corps introduced a two-week quarantine period in April 2020, along with mask requirements and increased social distancing. Now the quarantine period has been dropped.
“The restriction of movement (ROM) based on COVID-19 concerns ended in the two depots at different times depending on local factors in each depot,” said Captain Sam Stephenson, spokesperson for the Command. from Marine Corps training and education, to the Marine Corps. Times in a Wednesday email.
Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, ended its quarantine period on July 11, while Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego ended the requirement on August 9, Stephenson said.
The change was made even as the COVID-19 death rate for Department of Defense staff skyrocketed in August and September.
Marine Corps Sgt. Edmar IsmaéI, 27, of Marine Logistics Group 2 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, became the first Sailor to die of the virus on August 14.
The rush to locate a quarantine site saw some recruits heading to The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina.
It also put a strain on the finances of the Corps.
In July 2020, General William F. Mullen, then commanding general of Marine Corps Training and Education Command, told reporters that a 10 billion dollars an additional fund passed by Congress has played a key role in allowing the Marine Corps to continue to train and afford off-base quarantine locations.
Mullen said at the time that he feared that if a cheaper option was not found, the order could run into a budget deficit by the end of the year.
Despite budget concerns, Marine Corps Commander Gen. David Berger told Congress in December 2020 that the Corps plans to maintain quarantine long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended to help fight the disease. “Raw recruits” – illnesses that inevitably arise when recruits are tired. live and train with so many new people from all over.
“Usually every class of officer candidate, every recruit training class, gets some sort of grime in the first two weeks and that shuts them down,” Berger told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee on Dec. 2, 2020.
Stephenson said the Corps still has not decided whether or not to extend the period of restriction of movement in the future.
Although the quarantine period at both depots is currently over, Stephenson said the Corps is still taking precautions to ensure the safety of all Marines, recruits and civilians at the recruiting depot.
“To ensure the safety and well-being of recruits, permanent staff and our families, all preventive medical procedures such as masking, regular temperature checks, targeted quarantine and isolation of those infected remain in place. up, ”he said in the email.
The Marine Corps has demanded that all Marine Corps personnel, unless medically or administratively exempted, be vaccinated against the coronavirus within 90 days of September 1.