- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2020

The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado is planning to put up some of its cadets in nearby hotel rooms in an effort to encourage social distancing and precautionary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 on its campus.

The academy said in a notice earlier this month that it has purchased 220 hotel rooms with a minimum of two queen beds per room to house roughly 440 cadets within a 10 mile radius from its Colorado Springs campus.

“In order to keep the cadets in close proximity to the base as well as close proximity to one another due to safety requirements and travel costs absorbed by the individual cadets, the goal is to have the 440 cadets reside in as few hotels as possible,” the academy said in a memo.

Michael Slater, a spokesman for the school, told Military.com on Tuesday that the academy “knew this was going to be a part of the mathematical predictive modeling going forward as we bring approximately 4,000 cadets to the Academy from every Congressional district in the U.S.”

He explained that most of the cadets will continue to live on campus during the 2020-2021 school year, but “using some off-base lodging will allow us the space we need in the dorms at USAFA to have quarantine and isolation space as cadets return. The number of cadets [living] off-base would be relatively small.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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