Navy Closes San Diego Schoolhouse After 2 Students, Instructor Get Coronavirus

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Sign greets visitors at Naval Base San Diego.
Sign greets visitors at Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy)

The Navy has shut down a schoolhouse in California after several personnel connected to the facility tested positive for coronavirus, officials announced Tuesday.

Training Support Command San Diego closed the schoolhouse Saturday after three sailors tested positive for the new virus, named COVID-19. Two of the sailors were students at the schoolhouse and one a uniformed instructor, Cmdr. James Stockman, a Naval Education and Training Command spokesman, told Military.com.

Stockman declined to say what type of training occurs at the schoolhouse. The building is now being cleaned according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, he said.

The training occurring there has been temporarily halted, Stockman said, and not moved to another location or online. It's not immediately clear how many personnel are affected by the closure.

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Training Support Center San Diego officials said in a statement that they're committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of the force. The center supports several major Navy training programs in the Pacific region, including Surface Warfare Officers School, Submarine Learning Center, and the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, among others.

On Saturday, a sailor from the amphibious assault ship Essex tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the news release. The sailor had been attending a training course at Naval Base San Diego since Feb. 6.

"The individual is currently isolated at home and restricted in movement," the news release announcing the closure states. "... Personnel that the individual immediately identified having close contact with have been notified and are in self-isolation at their residences."

Two other sailors, one at Naval Base San Diego and the other at Naval Base Point Loma, also tested positive for coronavirus since Friday. One of those sailors was in the same course as the Essex sailor, Stockman said, and the other an instructor.

Military health officials are investigating whether those sailors had close contact with other Navy personnel. Depending on the results, additional precautionary measures could be taken, the statement adds.

"We remain in close coordination with state and federal authorities, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population," it states.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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