Traditionally, when a new class of cadets arrives at West Point, more than 1,200 individuals come through the gates on a Monday during Reception Day and begin the process of their 47-month journey. This year, as seen a month ago with the graduation of the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2020, traditions have taken a backseat to a new practice due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic running rampant through the United States.
Consequently, as the initial 1,238 new cadets’ streamed into the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School to begin their in-processing as the USMA Class of 2024, it also included R-Day being stretched out over three days instead of one. More than 400 new cadets arrived each day Sunday through Tuesday (July 12-14) with the Oath Ceremony taking place on The Plain Wednesday (July 15).
Generally, new cadets would arrive at Eisenhower Hall, however, USMAPS was used this year as an initial entry point. This allowed for screening each new cadet for COVID-19 and also kept a buffer zone from Central Area, the new cadets’ living area, to make sure they were COVID-19 negative before they began receiving their initial equipment issue, getting sized for their uniforms, receiving haircuts and assimilating into their Cadet Basic Training company under the cadet cadre’s guidance.