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Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy has had 29 cadets and five staff members test positive for COVID-19.
As of Oct. 16, the cadets and staff were experiencing either no symptoms or mild symptoms. All are being monitored closely and have been quarantined on the academy’s campus. They have been separated from the cadets and staff that tested negative for the virus. All of the academy’s 97 cadets as well as its staff members and kitchen workers are being tested and receiving results. The cadets’ tests were conducted after a staff member tested positive. The entire facility has been cleaned and sanitized. The academy has been in close and open communication with the legal guardians of all its cadets regarding these positive tests. In addition, the academy is working hand-in-hand with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, following any and all recommendations on containing the virus.
This Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy class has been on campus since July and all cadets were screened for COVID-19 upon entering the academy. This class has been conducted in small groups of with no interactions with outside groups as a precaution against COVID-19. In addition, masks and social distancing have been mandatory throughout the class. The class has been conducted in a “bubble” with the program limiting exposure to the public as well as to their families and guardians. For example, family weekends were replaced with Zoom and phone calls.
This class is scheduled to graduate in November and academics have continued with both those that have tested positive and those that have not. Classes for those who have tested positive are being conducted using video-conferencing technology.
“It is disappointing. We made it several months without a positive COVID test and were taking great precautions, but, our cadets are meeting this new challenge with the same dogged determination that got them this far into the program,” said Col. (retired) Michael Haerr, Director of Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy. “I can’t say enough about the resilience, tenacity and persistence of these young men and women and the staff of this program.”