Navy OCS During Covid
Covid-19 has affected everyone for the last year and a half and Navy OCS is no different. During my time at OCS, there were some notable changes the command implemented that you may want to know about in case you’re shipping out soon. I expect by fall OCS will largely return to its normal-weird self but for now it’s still its weird-weird self with Covid safety precautions still in place as far as I know.
ROM – Restriction of Movement
The first and maybe biggest change that has taken place is the implementation of ROM. Originally just a 13 week course, OCS has been extended to 15 weeks due to the 2 weeks of isolation required to make sure you’re symptomless entering the program. This means being locked in your hatch with your hatchmate at all times except for one or two hours a day of outside PT. You’ll have one “box chow” delivered to your hatch for breakfast, lunch and dinner (6AM, 11:30AM, and 4:30PM usually) and none of them will be good. Breakfast is the best and it goes downhill from there. For lunch you will get a hamburger bun with a slice of deli meat and a slice of cheese with chips and a granola bar. For dinner you’ll get whatever the chow hall is serving and, if you’re lucky, a hair or two for extra protein. The food is much better once you’re in training but looking back on it I wish I had brought more snacks and electrolytes during ROM.
You’ll also have online learning modules to accomplish each day which take about 5 hours to complete by the time you account for all the interruptions you’ll get from your 100-person group chat of your OCS classmates. Other than that ROM is chill and goes by quickly after a couple days.
The beloved Ney Hall… The shining star in a dark night… The one thing that was actually better during Covid. Improvements included having extra spacing between seats at the table, not having to wait for your entire company in order to start eating and not having to do chow hall entry procedures (I can’t express enough how great this was). But don’t worry, these were some of the first things to disappear as OTCN transitions back to normalcy. The chow hall is now completely back to normal and it almost makes chow the worst part of the day. It takes about an hour to do all the procedures and finish your meal and I don’t miss it one bit. Not sure why I even included this since it’s no longer different due to Covid but if you’re headed to OCS I just want you to know how awful the procedures are.
Masks were worn at all times unless immediately before PTing or in your hatch with only your hatchmate. Other than that you had your diaper-white, double-thick cotton mask on at all times. You were typically issued two new masks every couple weeks but they would typically be a nice brown/grey/booger-green by the end regardless.
Racks (beds) were made so that hatchmates slept at opposite ends from one another versus how the OCR has both candidates feet pointed towards the door. This was integral in preventing Covid.
One of the greatest learnings gained from implementing Covid precautions is that RLP is no longer an event at OCS. To keep staff safe they decided it would be better not to have them near the candidates while sweating and spitting everywhere so it was just altogether removed.
That’s all I can think of for now that was vastly different. You obviously didn’t have off-base liberty either but with more and more people getting vaccinated, OCS Is likely to go back to normal conditions really soon if I were to guess. In the coming future I plan to go over OCS in more depth and explain some of the details that are often skipped over or left out altogether by recruiters. Stay tuned.