Myles Block tests cadet Jacob Bouchard for COVID-19 using Puritan swab 25-1506 1PF 100.
The Puritan team is once again assisting at sea. Last March, we rushed supplies to California to help test Grand Princess passengers so they could disembark and return home. And now, we’re partnering to test maritime students so they can embark on a critical training mission.
Like most colleges, Maine Maritime Academy shifted to online learning during the COVID-19 outbreak. But in order to obtain their U.S. Coast Guard license, students are required to spend 365 days at sea. And this year’s graduating seniors are just a few weeks shy of qualifying. The challenge became how to meet this requirement and also ensure the safety of students, faculty and crew during a pandemic.
Yankee ingenuity along with Maine’s close-knit community led to a solution for these students who have worked so hard for the opportunity to protect U.S. waters. Maine Maritime Academy President William J. Brennan reached out to his old high school connection Timothy Templet, Executive VP of Sales at Puritan. Timothy offered to provide testing supplies and connected Brennan with his colleague LuAnn Ballesteros at Jackson Laboratory who agreed to rapidly test shipmates and crew. Working together, they helped devise a plan to conduct training safely.
“Puritan understands the importance of getting everyone through school, and we’re honored to help MMA with their COVID-19 testing efforts for these seniors,” said Templet.
With adequate testing in place, the college can now run a pier-side training exercise aboard The State of Maine, the school’s training vessel. A total of 60 students, faculty and crew will be tested two times prior to boarding with a two-week quarantine period in between. Due to the pandemic, the ship will not actually be at sea. Instead, it will be a “fast cruise” — meaning held fast — in port. This allows students to get the vital training needed as they run all the shipboard systems. The ship will also be contained, meaning no one can leave or board during the six-week training period to protect all onboard.
The revised training plan was approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, which means these recent graduates will earn the credits needed to obtain a maritime license. This comes as a welcome relief to Evan Backus, one grateful graduate. “Without this, I probably would have been set back a whole summer if not a year,” said Backus.
The training cruise officially begins on July 8 and will end on August 4, 2020.
Thank you to all Puritan customers for your patience as we rush to meet all your COVID-19 testing needs. For more on the coronavirus, visit our COVID-19 Portal with the latest news and information from Puritan Medical Products, CDC and John Hopkins University.