Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) announced March 19 that until further notice, all large-scale graduation ceremonies for Recruit Training Command (RTC), in Great Lakes, Illinois, and Officer Training Command (OTC), in Newport, Rhode Island, are suspended. The measure is intended to help protect the mission by limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Recruits, officer candidates and other students will continue to graduate, but these milestones will be marked by small, internal events that cannot be livestreamed.
The decision, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical professionals, is intended to support the well-being of students and staff, and to maintain RTC's mission-essential function of providing basically trained Sailors to the fleet.
Although graduation is an important symbolic event for Sailors and families, it is not essential for training. In light of concerns about large gatherings, NETC determined it would be inappropriate to continue public ceremonies. Graduations and guest attendance will resume as soon as it is safe.