COVID-19 Impact on Boot Camp and Graduations

Please be aware, the Marine Corps doesn't have a road-map for the COVID-19 pandemic either, but they have to keep our troops safe. When the USMC provides answers and additional information, we will publish it on these pages of our website. Our take on this will be that the military will exercise more caution and keep civilians off the bases longer than what other populations and communities do in our country.

COVID-19 Impact on Boot Camp and Graduations

COVID-19 Impact on USMC, Marines, and Family Members


Question from Family Members: What if I've received a note from my poolee/recruit's recruiter about the two week quarantine? Response: We understand that some parents have received notes from the recruiter and this note includes information about the schedule while poolees are under the two week quarantine. The Recruit Training Regiment has announced they have built a training plan for poolees while they're in quarantine. This plan includes some of the normal activities they would do during recruit training such as cleaning of living spaces and educational classes. This time will not include any training that requires close contact with others such as physical conditioning and MCMAP. Additionally, they will also be checked by medical professionals twice daily.


Question from Family Members: Can I send a cell phone to my recruit before Graduation? Response: Thus far, Parris Island is allowing cell phones to be shipped to the recruits the week before graduation. At this time, there is no official word from San Diego. We will update you as we learn more.


Question from Family Members: Has the Depot stopped passing out mail? Some mail is being sent home. Response: As of now, our understanding is that mail is operating as normal. We have not heard anything that contradicts that previous information. We will update you if we hear anything new on this.


Question from Family Members: Will the Depot do a live stream of graduation this Friday? Response: Both MCRD Parris Island and San Diego have been live-streaming the graduations on their Facebook pages.


Question from Family Members: Is there an additional two weeks added to boot camp due to the 14-Day holding period for poolees shipping to boot camp to check for COVID-19? Response: Both Depots have announced that poolees will undergo a 14-day quarantine period before officially beginning boot camp. This means they will spend 15 weeks at boot camp instead of 13. During this time, they will be monitored and medically screened in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


There has been some inconsistency in the message for whether those in quarantine are poolees or recruits. After speaking with the CWO2 Yarbrough at the Communication Strategy and Operations (CSO) office at MCRD Parris Island, we will be referring to those in quarantine as POOLEES. CWO2 Yarbrough told us the Marine Corps wants a clear distinction between those in quarantine and those in training. Poolees in quarantine are in a more relaxed environment without Drill Instructors. Poolees will become recruits after stepping on the Yellow Footprints. We are currently updating the pages on our websites that refer to poolees in quarantine to ensure the message is consistent.

Recruit Training (Boot Camp)

MCRD San Diego Allows Weekend Phone Calls in Quarantine

MCRD San Diego has informed families that they will allow poolees to make phone calls while they're in quarantine. They will have from 0800 to 2000 PST. Those in odd room numbers will make their calls on Saturdays with those in even numbers making their calls on Sundays. Recruiters may call anytime to help maintain the motivation of the poolee while they're in quarantine.

Parris Island Restrictions

On October 31, Parris Island will allow access for retirees and appropriately credentialed veterans on Saturdays and Sundays each week to access the Commissary, Marine Corps Exchange, Legends Golf Course, Traditions, boat ramps and other activities. The depot will remain closed on Fridays. For more details, click here.

Both Depots Limiting the Number of Recruits

MCRD Parris Island and San Diego are both limiting the number of recruits per company to ensure social distancing is maintained. MCRD San Diego is limiting each company to 325 recruits. Parris Island is limiting each company to 454 male recruits and 120 female recruits due to the different styles of barracks.

Parris Island Poolees Now Ship to Jacksonville

Previously, poolees who shipped to Parris Island would conduct a 14-day quarantine period in Atlanta, Georgia. Now those poolees will ship to Jacksonville, Florida to conduct their 14-day quarantine.

While in staging, each poolee will be screened and observed by medical care providers for the duration of the two-week period. Additionally, poolees will receive virtual classes to increase their general military knowledge and will be given instruction and information to perform calisthenics and body weight exercises to maintain their fitness while in quarantine.

Poolees will be transported to MCRD Parris Island following the two week period, as long as they don't test positive for COVID-19, to begin their journey toward becoming a United States Marine.

Parris Island Now Open to Specific Groups

Parris Island, on June 5, announced that Parris Island will now be open, Monday-Thursday from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm to the following groups of people:

  • Approved veterans and dependents/care-givers
  • Retired DoD civilians
  • Retired Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF) employees and their dependents
  • Those with current vetting through the "Friends of Parris Island" program

Face masks are still required in the Commissary and in all medical/dental facilities aboard MCRD Parris Island. Face masks are not required in all other MCCS retail and service activities as long as social distancing is maintained. If social distancing is not possible, face masks are required.

Parents of recruits at MCRD San Diego have been informed that they can begin sending their recruits cell phones and chargers on T-54, the day before the Crucible begins. They will be given their cell phones on M-3 and will have limited access to the device. Families can only use U.S. Postal Services to send the phone without additional insurance that requires the recruit to sign for it. Recruits are unable to receive packages that they must sign for. For more information, click here.

10-Day Leave

All Marines who graduated on or before March 13, 2020 are still expected to check in to SOI (ITB or MCT) by the designated date and time on their orders. Any Marines experiencing delays or changes to their travel that would affect their check in date need to contact the number listed on their orders.

Announced by USMC at 5:54 PM March 16, effective immediately Marine Corps entry-level training (boot camp) will temporarily suspend the standard 10-day leave period granted to new Marines following graduation from recruit training.

Following graduation, all new Marines will report to the appropriate School of Infantry via government provided transportation, where the next phase of their entry-level training will begin. Upon completion of that phase they will continue on to their assigned unit or additional formal training as required.

This policy is effective thru June 30, 2020, and will be reviewed based on conditions at that time.

Marine Parents Travel Assistance

Applications and processing applications for the Travel Assistance Program (MPTA) to help families with financial need to attend graduations have been temporarily suspended. When the Secretary of Defense lifts the mandate for no public attendance at graduations, the program will resume. All donations received to date for graduations that have been impacted will be redirected to other companies for graduations when the situation resolves.

Shipping Packages to Recruits

During this pandemic, we urge family and friends of recruits to refrain from sending any packages to their recruit or new Marine. This includes items such as clothing, cell phones, shoes, etc. The Marines who work in the mail room are already overwhelmed and it can be difficult to safely move mail and packages during a pandemic. New Marines have the option of shopping at the Exchange on the Depot if they need anything. We recommend only sending letters to the Depots until further notice.

ALL Graduations

Effective March 13, 2020, the Secretary of Defense has provided direction that public attendance at graduation ceremonies and related activities is prohibited, with no exceptions. This is across the board, and includes all graduations: Recruit Training (boot camp), SOI, MCT, WAB, and OCS.

Graduations Videos on Facebook

Graduation videos are being made available on Facebook and the website shortly after the ceremony has ended. We will also add the graduation videos to our website, here. The links for Parris Island and San Diego are the following:

Pentagon Orders Bases to Not Release Specific Covid-19 Numbers

Due to OPSEC concerns, the Pentagon has ordered military bases to stop releasing specific Covid-19 numbers.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week, "What we want to do is give you aggregated numbers. But we're not going to disaggregate numbers because it could reveal information about where we may be affected at a higher rate than maybe some other places." As of Monday March 30, 569 active-duty service members, 220 civilian personnel, 190 family members, and 64 contractors have tested positive for Covid-19. For more information on the order from the Pentagon, click here.

From US Marine Corps

From Website

DOD Press Releases COVID-19


USO Airport Operations

Per the Department of Defense: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all USO Airport locations in the United States will temporarily suspend operations until further notice in order to maintain safe environments and avoid unnecessary risks of exposure.

Making Marines During Covid-19

How Recruit Training Has Changed

Reporting COVID-19 Testing and Results Among Military

As part of our POSTING RULE 2: OPSEC and PERSEC, discussion or speculation on the numbers of troops or location of troops being tested or having tested for COVID-19 will not be permitted. Posting COVID-19 testing results of military members will not be permitted. There are no exceptions to this rule.

For obvious reasons, specific information about the health of our military forces is a direct violation of OPSEC.

Stating information about any Marine or recruit, your own or otherwise, testing for COVID-19 as it relates to their job duties as a military member (whether the results are positive or negative) is a violation of PERSEC and will not be permitted. Discussions of COVID-19 within your family are permitted as long as you do not identify the individual and do not state military affiliation.


Monday, March 30, 2020: Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement on Monday "As we continue to grapple with the novel nature of COVID19, we are constantly assessing and adapting not only how we respond to combatting the virus, but also how we share critical public health information with our communities." Farah also said "We will not report the aggregate number of individual service member cases at individual unit, base or Combatant Commands. We will continue to do our best to balance transparency in this crisis with operational security."

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