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Marine recruits will now quarantine out of state before reporting to Parris Island

A road sign in Parris Island, SC, May 13, 2011. (DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Marine recruits will quarantine in hotels in Georgia before beginning boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island to prevent spreading COVID-19 on base and in the community.

Incoming recruits have been housed in barracks at The Citadel in Charleston for two-week periods since May. Because the school is preparing to reopen to cadets, the Marine Corps is moving out and recruits will begin reporting to hotels in Atlanta as of Monday, Capt. Bryan McDonnell said.

In Atlanta, recruits will receive medical checks twice a day and remain isolated for 14 days before traveling to South Carolina to begin the 12-week training required to become a Marine. Graduation ceremonies will remain closed to the public “for the foreseeable future,” the base announced Thursday.

“We will continue to weigh the safety of both recruits and families alike,” Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough said in a statement posted to the Depot’s Facebook page. “I do not know what will happen in the future, but I promise each of you the command leadership is making careful considerations for what is necessary for the safety of everyone involved.”

After the coronavirus outbreak began and cases were reported on the military base, recruits were quarantined in tents on the island before beginning boot camp. The staging area has not been used while recruits quarantine elsewhere but is still in place and available if needed, McDonnell said.

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The Pentagon in April awarded Fluor Intercontinental Inc. a $12.6 million contract to build the tent camp, federal data show. The deal with the international engineering firm, which has an office in Greenville, is the largest federal contract for COVID-19-related projects in South Carolina this year, according to Pandemic Response Accountability Committee data last updated July 6.

Public Works Officer Navy Cmdr. Andrew Litteral said in a statement Wednesday that the project’s contracting office — a part of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command — was satisfied with Fluor’s work.

“Fluor demonstrated the ability to rapidly construct a tent camp to quarantine incoming recruits,” Litteral wrote. “They completed the first phase in two weeks. Fluor is also responsible to maintain the camp for the duration of its use. They have been very responsive to the Marine Corps’ needs.”

The Marine Corps later decided to lease space from the Charleston military school in a deal for $750,00 per month for each barracks used, with the contract not to exceed $4.9 million.

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