U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Scores of cadets swapped online learning for classroom attendance after a coronavirus safety restriction limiting their movements lifted Jan. 15.
The spring semester began last week via online learning, after thousands of cadets returned from a holiday break Jan. 5-7 under strict health and safety guidelines.
Each cadet was tested for the coronavirus, placed in quarantine or isolation if they tested positive, and their movements restricted.
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Brig. Gen. Linell Letendre, the Academy’s dean, said she’s excited for cadets, staff and faculty as they start the semester and New Year.
"We're certainly dealing with some challenges, but I'm especially proud of our cadets for staying optimistic and understanding their greater purpose as future officers as we make our way through the obstacles posed by this pandemic,” she said. “Their motivation, combined with our faculty’s dedication, inspires me every day."
No matter how or where they attend class, the Academy’s chief information officer said the Academy’s ongoing investments in its IT infrastructure have given cadets and staff a safe and secure internet environment.
“Cadets and staff are technology consumers, so with campus-wide wireless access and connectivity, the start of the spring semester went smoothly,” said Col. Harold Hoang, who is in charge of the school’s network infrastructure and use.
Hoang said the Academy will continue to provide secure, cutting edge high-speed internet access, with an emphasis on cloud-hosted services accessible "from anywhere, anytime, on any device."
“Besides the network connectivity, the new semester requires us to generate a schedule of instruction, assign instructors and cadets to appropriate classes and sections, while maintaining the COVID social distancing protocol, and a variety of other changes,” he said. “It has been a team effort all around with everyone doing their part to make sure academics resume as smoothly as possible. It is the whole of the Academy making it successful.”