There were 90 positive COVID-19 cases among 110 individuals. About 82 of the 90 cases were students, with the rest being cadre, said Janice Burton, a spokeswoman for the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, which runs the program, known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE training.
The class was six hours from completion, said Burton. The entire SERE course lasts roughly three weeks. All 110 individuals were quarantined after the outbreak and the next class won’t start again until July 13, Burton added.
“We were already heading into a natural break with the 4th of July weekend, so we’ve extended that out further,” Burton told Army Times.
The news was first reported by the New York Times. A unit press release stated that individuals in the SERE course are “naturally isolated” from other students in different training courses run by the Special Warfare Center and School, or SWCS.
The entire SERE class was tested after a few individuals exhibited COVID-19 symptoms. So far, none of the cases have resulted in hospitalizations and most positive cases are not showing symptoms, said Burton.
There are roughly 2,400 students at SWCS at any given point in time. Command officials there have said they’re testing all students when they arrive for training, and regularly screening them throughout the program.
“The health and wellness of our students and staff is our top priority,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, SWCS commanding general and commandant of the school, in a statement on the outbreak. “We will do everything we can to protect our students and their families.”
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.