Coronavirus Impact on Campus
1.15.21 MMI has reported three additional cases in January. SEE UPDATED TESTING REPORT
1.11.21 Over the holiday break, MMI reported several employee cases as well as students testing positive at home. SEE UPDATED TESTING REPORT.
12.28.20 President’s Update for Spring 2021
To our families,
As we enjoy the last of the 2020 Holiday Season, I wanted to reassure everyone that MMI plans to be as diligent with COVID-19 mitigation and response for the Spring 2021 semester as we were during the Fall 2020 semester. We will continue to follow operational and mitigation guidance from the State of Alabama, the Alabama Community College System, and the CDC. We will continue to monitor the latest information and news regarding all aspects of the pandemic including regional conditions and vaccine availability. We will continue to apply proven mitigation measures as cadets arrive back on campus, measures that have remained in place for our faculty and staff throughout the holiday break and include strict mask-wearing, spacing and distancing, and hand hygiene policies and guidelines that apply across the campus and in all spaces. Our monitoring program will include initial testing as well as an expanded sentinel testing program that will begin immediately upon the first cadets arriving to campus. We will also continue to use strategically placed thermal cameras and temperature check protocols and will continue to provide robust medical monitoring and response capability.
We learned much from the Fall 2020 semester and with that experience plan to make MMI’s on-campus experience as safe this Spring as we did last Fall, but also as fulfilling as possible as well. In this regard, although we will initially restrict off-campus movement as we did for the Fall semester in order to establish a low exposure risk environment on campus, as we get further into the semester we will evaluate conditions with an eye toward a careful and measured relaxation of this restriction by implementing some off-campus liberty opportunities. We expect these will most likely be weekend walkout and limited drive out passes. We do not expect a return to normal overnight passes this semester unless conditions have improved substantially enough to allow this to be considered. However, we do plan to resume our Tailgate-With-Your-Cadet program and will continue to offer the opportunity to drop off supplies and care packages. These programs should start soon after Cresting with pandemic conditions in our area ultimately dictating the timing. We will keep the MMI community up to date and all of these things through the cadet information channels and social media.
Finally, I want to ask that everyone be especially careful all the way through the New Year’s holiday and beyond to avoid potential COVID exposure at least 10 days prior to arriving on-campus by adhering to mask-wearing, distancing, and handwashing mitigation measures, and avoiding crowded indoor spaces. Everyone’s diligence before cadets return to campus will make MMI’s mitigation program substantially more successful once cadets are back on campus. I hope you all have had an enjoyable holiday break to this point, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and look forward to a very successful and fulfilling 2021 here at MMI.
COL David J. Mollahan, USMC (Ret)
12.22.20 In the month of December, MMI counted four additional employee COVID-19 cases. SEE UPDATED TESTING REPORT
11.20.20 One more student who tested on campus has received a positive COVID-19 test while in isolation at home. SEE UPDATED TESTING REPORT.
11.18.20 Another MMI student who was quarantined at home has tested positive for COVID-19. Contract tracing has placed an additional two students in quarantine. SEE UPDATED TESTING REPORT
11.17.20 MMI has reported three positive COVID-19 tests for students, believed to have contracted the virus while off-campus during MMI’s hurricane recovery. Contract tracing is in place to quarantine close contacts. SEE UPDATED TESTING REPORT
11.10.20 MMI has reported one additional COVID-19 positive student who contracted it while off-campus (during hurricane recovery) and is now isolated at home. Contact tracing has been done and close contacts are in quarantine as well. SEE UPDATED TESTING REPORT
11.5.20 MMI has reported one additional staff member case of COVID-19 and has updated the POSITIVE TESTING REPORT for the MMI community.
11.3.20 President’s November Update
To our families,
With November here, we are now less than three weeks from the end of the semester and the long holiday break that starts with Thanksgiving. If the challenges of COVID weren’t enough, we have had to face the additional challenge of dealing with the impacts of a direct hit by Hurricane Zeta, which brought hurricane-force winds that caused extensive regional damage, a power outage, then an extended and related water outage. Although power was restored fairly quickly, the after-effects of the water outage have persisted over the last few days, which is not uncommon with a temporary loss of municipal water. We have kept in close contact with the City, which has worked hard to get everything up and running as quickly as possible, assisted by both the County and the State. So we expect to be back to normal all in the next day or two. We can then put Hurricane Zeta behind us. In the meantime, we will ensure our cadets have all that they need, with health and safety being the first priority.
Despite everything that 2020 has thrown at us, we still expect to finish this Fall 2020 semester the same way we started – with the MMI Corps of Cadets on-campus. We are closing in on final exams and have been tracking well overall. We have accomplished this because the Corps of Cadets has done what they are supposed to do. They followed the COVID risk mitigation protocols, to include Corps-wide compliance with what was effectively, at least until this past weekend, an on-campus quarantine since they arrived. Although we were forced to break this quarantine because of our health and safety response to the impacts of the hurricane, we are still planning to press forward while sustaining vigilance in our efforts to monitor for COVID once the Corps is fully back on campus from the break.
So, they have done what they are supposed to do and are at the cusp of completing a successful Fall 2020 semester. It has not been easy, but we have all come together doing the things necessary to effectively prevent a COVID infection from spreading through the MMI campus community. For this reason, I have been especially vocal about how proud I am of this year’s Corps of Cadets and the young men and women who comprise it. You all have a right to be as proud of them as I am, if not more so, because they are more than a Corps of Cadets; they are a family.
As we look toward the Spring semester, we will likely start out initially much as we did this Fall to ensure we have initial control of a potential COVID impact. However, we are also hopeful that we can become less restrictive as we move further into the semester. Of course, the conditions will be the driving factor, but based on the medical progress we constantly monitor, we are hopeful.
Regardless, the ultimate goal for MMI is to provide the same extraordinary education we always have. It is truly a one-of-a-kind education, one which will be all the more effective and carry all the more weight for each cadet if each finishes what they have started here by either getting their Service Academy appointment or their MMI degree. These achievements are the ultimate goals for each cadet in their respective programs regardless of COVID. COVID is something we must deal with, but it should not distract us from our ultimate goals.
Once your cadet returns home for Thanksgiving, I know you will fully enjoy this special holiday, thankful that they are home after having successfully completed their Fall semester. I hope you will also take a moment to be thankful for the experience they have had so far here at MMI. It is a special experience, especially this year. I know I will take a moment to be thankful for the opportunity to be a small part of their experience here, and to witness first-hand the hope they each represent for the future of our country. Based on how they have conducted themselves through the challenges presented to them this semester, I can say with certainty that our country’s future is bright.
COL David J. Mollahan, USMC (Ret)
11.3.20 MMI has reported one additional cadet case from an individual who tested positive at home. SEE POSITIVE TEST REPORT
10.14.20 MMI is reporting two additional cases in our campus community: one staff member and one student. Close contacts have been identified and quarantined. We continue to conduct robust random testing through the Sentinel Program (about 10% of our student population weekly) and have no positives from that program thus far. SEE POSITIVE TEST REPORT
9.16.20 President’s Fall 2020 Outlook
To our families,
As I write this letter, MMI is less than 70 days away from the end of the semester and the long holiday break that starts with Thanksgiving.
We have weathered the COVID pandemic well so far. Early on we had two cadet COVID cases that triggered a quarantine requirement for them as well as for those we identified as close contacts, but since then the Corps of Cadets has done a remarkable job following the protocols, and the result has been no COVID cases in the Corps of Cadets since that time.
However, it has not been easy. The mitigation protocols can be onerous and tiresome, and the Corps has remained on campus since they arrived, but this combination has effectively prevented a COVID infection from getting into and spreading through the Corps.
We continue to assess the conditions in our campus community as well as our local community and our region to better inform our decisions regarding relaxation of protocols, but in the meantime we will continue to plan and conduct a variety of on-campus recreational activities for the weekends that have thus far included intramural sports and activities, movies on the quad and multiple food and dessert trucks. We are also considering other activities such as a talent show, a pumpkin carving contest, a cookout on the quad, puppies on the quad, and many others.
Additionally, we are planning some MMI-controlled off-campus activities and are also thinking when and how we might begin to lift, at least to some degree, the on-campus restriction we currently have in place, though we are not quite ready for that yet.
However, we are finalizing a plan to allow “tailgate” visits to campus by family members. I ask family members who do come to campus to comply fully with our guidelines. I also ask that you come to campus only if you are absolutely certain that you do not represent a potential infection risk to your cadet, because this same risk can inadvertently be passed on to other cadets and spread from there.
Every cadet has a right to be safe on this campus, so it is absolutely incumbent on visiting families to be respectful and considerate by following our guidelines to the letter, remembering that the guidelines are intended to minimize COVID transmission risk to the entire MMI campus community.
Please remember that cadets are here for various reasons – to get a Service Academy appointment, or to get an Army commission, or to play their beloved sport, or to get their first college degree, but most fundamentally of all, for every cadet, to get an extraordinary college education that cannot be achieved on-line. We do not want to place any of this at risk for any cadet whether that cadet is yours or someone else’s.
We intend to make it to Thanksgiving on-campus and not on-line, and we need your help to do it. Please continue to encourage your cadet to hang in there, to not quit, to not give up, to finish what they have started, and to follow the protocols, because once we get to Thanksgiving, there will be a long holiday break as pay-back.
COL David J. Mollahan, USMC (Ret)
9.3.20 Part of MMI’s comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation strategy is “tracing” – being able to determine who might be considered a “close contact” of someone who has tested positive. The UAB/GuideSafe Exposure App is the best tracing capability currently available. MMI is encouraging all cadets, faculty and staff members to download this app to their smart phones.
8.26.20 Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures to protect our campus community, the Marion Military Institute QM student center is temporarily closed to the general public. We are only allowing cadets & employees to dine in or take out from the grill at this time. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
8.24.20 MMI has received notice that one employee has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the campus total to 3. All employees and students are required to fill out the Healthy Roster survey each morning to be cleared for class/work. SEE POSITIVE TEST REPORT
8.18.20 Marion Military Institute (MMI) has received notice that at this time two students have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently quarantined. They will receive medical treatment as may become necessary in accordance with public health protocols. Out of an abundance of caution, and in our efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we have notified several close contacts, and these individuals are also in quarantine for the next 14 days as per Public Health close-contact guidelines.
Health and safety remain our number one priority. MMI is following medical protocols from state and national health authorities and has implemented recommended guidelines in relation to face coverings, social distancing, hygiene, travel, and visits to the college. MMI is committed to keeping you updated on the COVID-19 risk on our campus and will provide direction to our staff, students and families with additional instruction as appropriate.
8.7.20 UPDATE FOR COVID TESTING REGISTRATION
– Email. You will receive an email to your MMI account from Testing@Guidesafe.org
– Registration Site: This email will direct you to the registration page of Healthyverify.com
o Healthy@Work. Don’t be concerned that the registration talks about “healthy@work” it is the right site!
o When asked for the appointment date/time, put in the day you will be moving in. You can use ANY TIME slot – you will test the day you arrive on campus regardless of the time of your appointment.
o Print and bring in your registration page.
– All Cadets currently on campus will be given specific instructions for the day should register, all incoming cadets will register for the day they are scheduled to arrive on campus.
8.3.20 ZOOM TOWN HALL FOR MMI CADETS & FAMILIES. UPDATE: Recording from 8/4 now on youtube.
7.27.20 COVID-19 Oriented Protective Posture (COPP) Announced
MMI’s comprehensive planning document for the Fall 2020 semester covers everything from move-in days, on-site testing, sick protocol, dining procedures and instructional changes to conducting training/extracurricular activities and more.
7.24.20* Frequently Asked Questions for Fall 2020 Return*updated
7.15.20 Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s amended Safer at Home order, extended through July 31. Masks are now mandated statewide when in public.
6.2.2020 – President’s Update re: Fall 2020
To our entire MMI Community; incoming students, returning cadets, parents & families, alumni, employees and our community partners:
We began planning for the Fall 2020 semester in late March and have continued to refine our planning through April and May. Having just closed out our academic year with virtual end- of-year ceremonies, our entire focus has shifted back to the Fall 2020 semester. As of today, we are preparing to conduct instruction ON-CAMPUS with all cadets in residence. Our top priority is creating a safe and healthy environment while delivering our cadets the extraordinary education we are known for.
To that end, the Fall 2020 semester will be conducted in a manner that reflects the reality of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. MMI will implement a wide range of risk mitigation measures intended to ensure that this campus is as safe as it can be made given the circumstances. These measures will include things such as protocols for face-coverings, distancing, health screenings, isolation, quarantine, home recovery, medical response and support, and off-campus movement and activities. These protocols are aimed at substantially reducing COVID transmission risk to both our campus community and our local community. While some of these measures will make cadet life more restrictive than would normally be the case, at least initially, they won’t alter the quality of our on-campus education which will remain, by any measure, top-notch. At the same time, however, as we progress through the semester we will continue to assess changing conditions to determine when restrictions may be relaxed.
The academic year is scheduled to start with college classes beginning August 17 and ending the week of Thanksgiving. We will use a slightly condensed academic schedule to achieve this, which will save cadets one travel event as they will not be required to return to campus to complete the semester right after Thanksgiving, as would normally be the case. Arrivals will be staggered in July and August, and MMI will inform each contingent on their specific report date along with detailed move-in procedures for their families.
As we have all been affected in numerous ways by the COVID-19 pandemic, we appreciate your continued understanding as MMI adapts while remaining committed to our high academic, leadership, and character development standards. We will continue to produce Marion Made young leaders for our state and nation, and COVID-19 won’t stop that. Determination, mutual respect, patience and flexibility will be the themes for the coming year. If we all do our best, if we all do our part, if we all think about each other and protect each other, and if we all stay-the-course, this upcoming academic year will be one for the record books because of the challenges we will have overcome.
Colonel David J. Mollahan, USMC (Ret.)
4.20.20 – President’s Mid-Semester Update
MMI cadets, families, alumni and friends:
At this time of year we would normally be in the final days of our Spring sports season; we would have just completed our annual Alumni Weekend; and we would be gearing up for the Spring Formal and the final events that mark the end of the academic year. Of course our world looks a little different now. Despite a quiet, empty campus, we are still executing our education mission and maintaining contact with our cadets through a variety of communications means to include recurring live virtual updates and student success recognition. We will continue this through the end of the semester.
MMI is happy to announce that we have developed plans for virtually conducting our traditional end-of-the-academic year ceremonies. These ceremonies are now going to be changed from what were originally scheduled to two weeks later to be live-streamed from the historic MMI Chapel via three formats simultaneously – Zoom, Facebook and Instagram. The Service Academy Program Convocation will proceed on Wednesday, May 20th at 4:00 p.m. Central Time (CT). Honors Convocation is Friday, May 22nd at 4:00 p.m. CT. Commencement will go on Saturday, May 23rd at 10:00 a.m. CT. The MMI Army ROTC Department will conduct the virtual Commissioning Ceremony on Saturday, May 23rd at 1:00 p.m. CT.
Out-processing and the barracks move-out for our Early Commissioning Program (ECP) cadets (ECP) is now scheduled for May 11 – 22. The plan for this is being coordinated by the Army ROTC Department directly with our ECP cadets and will include various coronavirus mitigation measures. Similarly, we have also developed a detailed plan for out-processing and move-out for all remaining cadets to take place at the end for May and early June. Exact dates and details of this plan will be forthcoming and disseminated via various means.
Regarding the question of reimbursement, we have completed a plan for a prorated reimbursement for all cadets who were enrolled at MMI after March 16 and through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. The business office will begin issuing reimbursements in the coming days in accordance with guidance from our higher headquarters, the Alabama Community College System.
Finally, I wanted to thank everyone again for the patience and perseverance that has been demonstrated and made apparent since we went to remote operations after Spring Break. At MMI we will continue to do all we can to support our cadets and their education, and at the same time to keep all of our constituencies, from cadets and their families, to our alumni and friends, up to date and connected despite the challenges of remote instruction, shelter-in-place, and tele-work. We will get through this crisis so long as we do it together, after all, that is what we as Americans have always done.
Colonel David J. Mollahan, USMC (Ret.)
3.24.20 – Commandant’s Guidance for Cadets
General Situation: As we enter the “danger zone” of possible exponential growth of the Covid-19 virus cases in Alabama, Marion and Perry County still do not have any reported cases. MMI is on minimum manning with most of the faculty and staff working from home. Campus is closed per order of Governor Ivey.
FOCUS AREAS FOR MMI:
On-line education. Faculty and staff are focused on supporting you through this period to ensure you not only finish the semester, but finish strong. If you focus on your studies and exercise a bit of self-discipline, you will do fine and continue on with your plans. Remember, “Finish what you start!”
Campus clearance. Our secondary mission is to plan for and execute an efficient and safe plan for you to return to campus and clear your rooms, etc. Two criteria drive this plan, 1) to safeguard the health of you and all our staff – remember we are not young like you! 2) to ensure that you have the opportunity to take care of all your requirements required by specific programs (such as ECP).
Preparing for Fall. Lastly, we are looking at our Fall Semester, and it is looking good! We are taking advantage of an empty campus to get ahead of our maintenance and renovation projects, such as putting new windows into Rane Hall and extending the running trail. We are also revamping our ITC program and working out a plan to conduct leadership boards for all of you who want to compete for a position. We are looking at taking in a large C1 class in the Fall, so plenty of leadership opportunities will be available. The future is bright!
Graduation, convocation and commissioning and just staying involved. The Dean and staff are looking at possible options to commemorate your achievements this year. Additionally, we are continuing with Year Book work (a slightly different format), class coin design and other ways to stay in touch and involved with your fellow cadets. Keep your eye on our social media pages for more details and the opportunity to participate.
Stay away from campus! The next 2-3 weeks will be critical in the effort to “flatten the curve” of new cases of the virus. Marion and Perry County are particularly vulnerable due to our demographics. Unfortunately, many of you spent Spring Break in places and circumstances that exposed you to the virus – you may be a carrier and not even know it. Therefore, we ask that you do not come to campus until your designated time. This will allow us to manage the numbers and control, to the greatest extent possible, risk factors. Until then, if you come to campus you will be asked to leave. Barracks are closed and locked. Not to worry, we still love you, but we have to act according to the Governor’s direction and in the best interest of everyone. If there is an emergency situation, you may send your request through your TAC for consideration. Unfortunately, approvals will be rare.
Practice Social Distancing and Self Isolation! This will help to limit exposure to yourself, your family, friends and those around you. Additionally, this will help mitigate risk factors for you, your fellow cadets and faculty and staff when you return to clear your rooms etc.
ECP and SAP Cadets and DODMERB. Mrs. Sumlin is still available to assist you in your DODMERB processes. Please call or email her directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) 205-441-3278. Ensure you leave your name and good contact information should you text or leave a voice mail.
Keep tuned to new developments. This is an evolving situation, and so our plans are evolving as well. Expect some changes, remain flexible and we will get through this quickly!
UPDATE 3.20.20: For our Cadets, their Parents and Families. After much careful thought, staff discussions and consultation with State leadership, like many of our sister institutions around the country, MMI will complete all remaining classes this semester remotely with off-campus on-line academic instruction. Therefore, cadets will not return to campus for classes this semester. This is done based on evolving guidance from State leadership and public health authorities, and is in the best interest of the health, welfare and safety of our cadets, their families, our MMI faculty and staff, and our local community. We ask our cadets to stay disciplined and focused in their studies and, should they have any issues, to reach out to their instructors for assistance. As per recent direction from Governor Kay Ivey, there will not be any of our traditional on-campus end-of-year events and activities, to include commencement and commissioning ceremonies where large groups of people would gather. In the next few days, and in the coming weeks, we will provide updated information as necessary, as well as guidance associated with administrative and logistical implications posed by this situation, to include a plan for our cadets to retrieve their personal items and clear their rooms. Please continue to monitor cadet email, MMI’s website and social media, and communication links through the TACs and faculty. Again, thank you for your understanding and flexibility!
UPDATE 3.19.20: MMI would like to inform our community partners that, under state and Alabama Community College direction, the MMI campus has gone to minimum manning temporarily, and so all facilities are closed to general public use to include the Excess House, QM, tennis courts and golf course until further notice. Essential administrative functions continue to operate, including Enrollment Management, but please call ahead if you have plans to visit campus to ensure someone is here to receive you. We apologize for any inconvenience.
UPDATE 3.18.20: To safeguard employee health, as directed by AL Governor Kay Ivey and ACCS, MMI will be operating primarily in a telework mode until Monday, April 6, 2020. Supervisors have been charged with managing their departments and will be responsible for determining employee telework schedules, as well as on campus work schedules if such work is essential, but this will be kept to a minimum and coordinated with the President. Those employees who cannot do their work in a telework mode, and are not otherwise required by necessity to be on campus, will remain home on paid emergency leave until April 6. Thank you for your patience as we continue to adjust to a rapidly changing environment nationwide. Please continue to check MarionMilitary.edu/coronavirus for updated information.
State of the Community:
Comprehensive Coronavirus information for Alabama can be found at the Alabama Department of Public Health:
Office of the Governor of Alabama COVID-19 info:
Johns Hopkins University https://systems.jhu.edu/
Centers for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/
Department of State (overseas travel) https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
World Health Organization (overseas travel) https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Coronavirus Prevention Guidelines:
MMI strongly encourages all cadets, faculty and staff to follow the following prevention guidelines:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.