Class of 2020,
To say it's been a challenging few days/weeks would be an understatement. Together, we are facing a global pandemic, and we don't have all the answers...we will continue to navigate the evolving situation as a team and do our best to make the most informed decisions we can in a timely manner to take care of you, our faculty, and all permanent party.
I’d like to pass on how proud I am of your class for stepping up and leading under such difficult circumstances. Your effort to deliberate and efficiently get the underclassmen dispersed to their homes last Friday and over the weekend was an amazing sight. Thank you for stepping up in an extraordinary manner, thank you for leading, thank you for being their calm in this COVID -19 storm. I need you to keep being those leaders/coaches/mentors to all of your underclassman throughout their time away. Your actions last week demonstrate that you are indeed ready to be second lieutenants in the USAF and USSF...keep it up through this challenging time!
As we move forward, I want to make our evolving expectations clear, so as the Dean said, please read these emails (and all others) to ensure you understand our expectations and stay up to date on all of the latest guidance. First and foremost, we are all going through this national emergency together and the situation will evolve daily even hourly. I ask for your patience and leadership as we work thru each new twist. Our goal is to keep you healthy and in class so you can graduate on time. We must all be adaptable and flexible and you need to understand that there may be even more sacrifices required to our everyday conveniences in life.
Local area restrictions: Effective immediately, all cadets residing in the USAFA dorms are only permitted to leave USAFA to go to a local grocery store (during off peak times) or to get food from take-out locations. Cadets are no longer permitted to go to sponsor families homes or visit any other domiciles/establishments in the local area. Permanent party is following the same guidance. Our goal is to continue to prevent exposure to the virus and limit spread as much as possible. Your job is to stay healthy and stay in class...I expect you all to exercise precautions aggressively and hold each other accountable!
Class schedules/prep-plan: The Dean and her team are working hard to transition the majority of your learning to virtual forums. We need to support the DF in any way we can and each of you needs to be ready when classes/practice sessions begin. The Dean has given guidance (read her email) for you to get prepared today and tomorrow and for you to ensure all of the lower class cadets you are responsible for are also ready. Once the Dean has a clear picture of all of the DF requirements for class times/schedules, we will give you more guidance on your daily routine/schedule of calls. Be proactive with your learning, the further ahead you can get now, the better off you will be if things become more challenging.
ROEs/Standards: Lt Col Bures and the standards/eval team sent out guidance for ROEs during this transition period...please read them and enforce them.
Commissioning Education: Everything has been transitioned to distance learning and is open...get it done by March 19, 2020.
Org structure/communication: Your groups/squadrons have assigned 4-5 lower class cadets to each of you for you to lead/mentor/coach thru this process. It is your responsibility to check in with each of them at least once a week to ensure they are getting to class, have the support they need, check on their living situation, check to see how they are feeling, mentor them thru challenging times...you should each start today to make sure they are ready for their virtual learning requirements.
Establish a good routine: Use some of your extra time to stay in shape, eat healthy and find creative ways to build your morale in a healthy manner. The cadet gym will remain open at this time but will be limited to 50 cadets at a time. Academics are going to be challenging in a new environment, dedicate your time to getting ahead in your class materials as much as possible.
Please know that we will continue to pass information as it is solidified and trust we are always keeping your best interest in mind. If you have questions, concerns, or need things within your units, please use your chain of command.
Remember, “a culture is strong when people work with each other, and for each other” – Simon Sinek.
Take care of yourself, take care of each other, stay focused on graduation!
MICHELE C. EDMONDSON, Brig Gen, USAF
Commandant of Cadets
United States Air Force Academy