The U.S. Military Academy Corps of Cadets may be spread throughout the country due to COVID-19, but many of the resources provided to them at the academy are still available, if in a different form. Professors are teaching classes digitally as West Point has transitioned to remote learning for the rest of the semester and tutors are still available to help cadets in their classes. As cadets adjust to the drastic changes that have occurred in the past month, the academy’s Center for Personal Development and the West Point chaplains have also worked to ensure a full range of counseling services are still available to cadets.
“It has been a bit of a change,” LTC Brian Crandall, the director of the Center for Personal Development, said. “We’ve quickly adapted like most of us and we use (Microsoft) Teams all the time now. We’ve allowed cadets from wherever they are in the world to be able to make appointments with us.” Cadets, like people throughout the world, are adjusting to changes caused by COVID-19 including the social distancing guidelines and widespread closures that have cut off the vast majority of face-to-face contact outside of people’s immediate families. The CPD and chaplains have worked to make sure cadets still have access to mental health resources to help them adjust to the changes.
“We’re social beings,” Crandall said. “Most of us, maybe not everybody, function best when we are connected to other people. So, this is a huge stressor on everyone right now—this disconnect. It is going to take a little more effort to make sure that you’re having those social connections.” The counseling services have also had to adjust, but Crandall and LTC Donald Carrothers, the Corps of Cadets chaplain, said they have continued offering the full range of services via Teams and over the phone.
“Our message that we pressed out to cadets is, don’t suffer in silence,” Carrothers said. “You can still connect with a lot of great helping resources. Our encouragement is not to just be quiet, sit at home and struggle by yourself. They can still reach out and connect and have some pretty good contact.” As cadets adjust to life away from West Point, Crandall and Carrothers both said they need to find a way to have balance in their lives and also to maintain a daily routine, even though they have more freedom than they typically would at the academy. Read more.