They are training to protect our country, but right now Marines Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is trying to protect recruits from the Coronavirus.
The exact numbers have not released, but we do know there has been an outbreak of COVID-19 on the Parris Island base. Possibly two dozen recruits and staff have tested positive.
That has led to a landmark decision for the base and the 50% of America’s future Marines who are coming to train there.
“i think it’s as serious for us as it is for other communities whether that’s military or civilian communities it’s a pandemic its unprecedented for everyone,” said Cpt. Bryan McDonnell, Director of Community Strategy and Operations MCRD Parris Island.
That’s why MCRD Parris Island is taking unprecedented steps to help curb the outbreak. The base is not shipping in its latest set of recruits to begin their training.
“Have to balance force preservation with the need toi have a ready Marine Corps,” said Cpt McDonnell.
Training will continue “as planned” for the nearly 6000 recruits on base with a few changes.
Social distancing. Recruits ordered to carry hand sanitizer at all times.
Taking classes in barracks rather than large classrooms. Eating in more open mess halls and even delaying some close contact drills that would normally take place.
There has been no timetable set for when the next set of recruits will be brought to the base. But when they do the rules will change.
“All new recruits will enter a staging phase,” said Cpt McDonnell. “They will arrive at the depot and be sent into a 14 days period of isolation where they will be monitored multiple times a day by personnel and be checked for a two week peroiod to basically make sure they are not just asymptomatic but the are symptom free and COVID-19 free over two weeks.”
The Marine Corps says it had a plan to respond to this type of situation. Sickness is one of the challenges a Marine might face out in the field, and they are approaching the solutions just as any other challenge smartly.
“COVID-19 is one element of uncertainty in an uncertain world and that’s why we have a Marine corps,” said Cpt. McDonnell.
The base adds that its mission now isn’t just to train but to keep the recruits, staff, and families safe during this battle right here at home.