CASTINE — Maine Maritime Academy’s May 2 commencement has been called off and the spring training cruise will not depart as scheduled as the academy takes precautions against the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a statement issued last week, faculty explained the changes.
“We know that you have questions about future plans and schedules as we continue to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 situation on our operations,” Elizabeth True, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, and Professor Mark Cote wrote to students. “We also realize that decisions we make will influence your plans going forward. We are trying to be as proactive as possible and are making decisions as soon as we can, based on the information available.”
This week, the college launched online instruction for all classes that can be taught remotely. Some courses will require that students eventually return to Castine to complete course material that requires “in-person assessment of practical skills.”
The training cruise aboard the State of Maine has been postponed. The academy still intends to conduct a training cruise this summer, even if it is shorter than originally planned. Officials said they are hopeful the cruise can depart in June. Students will be given at least 30 days notice prior to departure.
MMA President William Brennan is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the United States Maritime Administration and the presidents of other state maritime academies to address the possibility that students will not log a sufficient number of days at sea to fulfill maritime licensing requirements.
As for the canceled graduation exercises, “MMA will consider alternate options for recognizing the Class of 2020’s academic accomplishments.”