ALBANY, N.Y. -- Some classes at West Point are being combined or canceled and military faculty members are being forced to fill in for civilian instructors furloughed because of the government shutdown, academy officials said Thursday.
The academy furloughed 1,422 civilian employees this week, including 132 faculty members. While the academy's faculty is about 70 percent military personnel who are unaffected by the shutdown, the civilian furloughs are forcing instructional changes, said U.S. Military Academy spokesman Lt. Col. Webster Wright.
"The ability to maintain this tier-one education level is being challenged, it's certainly degraded," Wright said. "And it's not going to be sustainable for a long term."
West Point is combining classes when it can and temporarily suspended a few classes. Military instructors are being asked to prepare for subject matter they don't normally teach, Wright said.
"They're teaching a curriculum outside what they normally do ... it's a challenge to them because on top of their normal course load, they're having to go through extreme measures to pick up these other courses," he said.
Academy officials this week said they're focused on minimizing the impact on classroom instruction and military training for cadets during the shutdown. They have suspended West Point tours and closed the commissary.
Cadet activities such as academic travel appear to be at risk.
Despite some initial concern, Army's football team will play at Boston College Saturday. The academy said on its athletics website that "all previous contests not cancelled will compete as scheduled."