December 9, 2020
Dear MMA parents and guardians,
Soon your Cadets will be back home and safe for the holidays. For planning purposes, please plan to have your son return to MMA no later than 10 January 2021. It is important that they return by this date so that they do not miss the required COVID-19 testing date. This will allow us to provide the COVID-19 test to each returning cadet before introducing him back into the Corps of Cadets. We are open for classes!
We have all worked hard this fall to promote a healthy positive school community. MMA has remained COVID-19 free since the fall academics commenced. I have been especially proud to see MMA promoting safe and healthy learning environments — both indoors and outdoors. In every class I see, students and staff members being diligent about protecting one another’s health and safety, wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and more.
As your young man’s learning journey continues this academic year, it is critical that you have a clear picture of their progress. Grades provide a common language for understanding and communicating with your son’s teacher(s) about their strengths and areas for growth. I am incredibly pleased with the focus and dedication your son has put into his academics this fall. It has indeed been an academically rigorous challenge navigating together throughout this journey, but the students have prevailed. The first quarter grades were fantastic with a Corps average GPA of 3.21. and the second quarter is shaping up to be just as good or better.
Teachers will continue to provide daily live instruction for our students in the new year. Our amazing educators deliver live instruction to our young men in a formal setting that increases productivity and learning. We also know and understand that current circumstances in the pandemic can be exceedingly difficult for you and your children. Students have been isolated from their families, but our school community remains focused on the mental health of your son. Cultivating a climate of academic excellence using strategies of best practice in all areas of teaching and learning that encourages students to develop the skills they need for college and life while discovering their individual strengths and interests. As a result, your young man will leave MMA as confident, critical thinkers who possess the tools for personal success and leadership in the community and beyond.
I have received several inquiries about our protocols for integrating the Cadets back into the classroom after the Christmas break. Please rest assured that we will implement the same protocols that we successfully used in the fall. Each Cadet will be tested upon return to campus. All COVID-19 free cadets will continue to practice all of our safety protocols at all times. If we do have any returning Cadets test positive for COVID-19 they will be segregated, and you will be consulted as to what course of action you want for your cadet.
In addition to testing upon return to campus, we have added one additional round of testing for all Cadets on 18 January 2021. After that, we will continue random sample testing to ensure our Cadets remain healthy.
We are still working on the spring school calendar. Nothing would make me happier to announce we will have a spring break. I will make an announcement on whether we will be able to allow the boys to leave for spring break shortly after their second round of COVlD-19 testing.
We are working aggressively to obtain the COVID-19 vaccines for the students and staff We will continue to do weekly testing models of both the Corps of Cadets and staff until we have the vaccine. Please note that we will NOT administer any vaccines to your son until we have approval from you.
I am sad to announce that our Commandant of Cadets. Sergeant Major Bass will be leaving us during the holidays. He will be greatly missed and while Cadets and staff inevitably change the devotion to your Cadet will remain our priority. On a happier note, I am pleased to announce our new Commandant of Cadets will be Sergeant Major Delvin Smythe. Currently, SgtMaj Smythe is the Drill instructor for Echo Company. The new Drill Instructor for Echo Company is First Sergeant Sergio Barrios, USMC and he arrived on campus and is ready to take the reins.
Thank you all for your continued support in the development of your son … they are indeed remarkable young men. Happy holidays and enjoy your son for the next four weeks.
Christopher S. Dowling
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
Marine Military Academy 320 Iwo Jima Blvd Harlingen. TX 78550