COLORADO SPRINGS — The U.S. Air Force Academy is now closed to the public until Nov. 11 as it extends its public health emergency declaration, according to officials.
The declaration was first issued on March 23 in response to COVID-19. The Academy will remain closed to the public with the extension, which includes hikers and bicyclists who do not live or work on base.
"This has been a challenging time for the Academy and our Colorado Springs community," Col. Brian Hartless said in a release. "We've come a long way in these last five months and we know there are more challenges to come. Not adhering to public health measures not only endangers yourself and others, but it’s also a military readiness issue. Continue to practice social distancing in all venues including vehicles; wear masks; stay home if you are sick; and wash your hands often."
The Academy has also approved the Trusted Traveler Program to continue that allows drivers with DOD identification to sponsor passengers riding in their vehicles.
Roughly 4,000 cadets returned to the campus at the end of July after being sent home in March to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Mark Esper designated all military accession sources and training pipelines mission-essential during the pandemic. The Academy was one of the first universities in the nation to have all of its students back.
Cadets began classes on Aug. 12 with combined in-person and online learning.