HELENA — The Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) has closed for two weeks following a positive COVID-19 test by one of the cadets.
Staff was notified Friday morning of the positive case and quickly closed in accordance with the MLEA's COVID-19 protocol.
The entire class of 30 and the instructors that had direct contact with the student will be quarantining for 14 days. The MLEA facilities will also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
“We’re very much a community here and our practices have mirrored the state plan,” said MLEA Administrator Glen Stinar. “We’ll have 14 days to disinfect and we will reopen buildings in phases.”
Stinar praised the cadet for being honest and upfront from the beginning about their symptoms and test results.
“Kudos to the student and that agency for hiring them,” said Stinar. “We talk about how we can be honest and work through this stuff. Once we have identified a problem, which is what public safety does, we can figure courses of action and respond quickly.”
The academy is expected to resume classes on Aug. 24. Cadets will then train through their weekends to make up for lost time and the current plan is to have the class finish their training on Sept. 2.
The MLEA will also be increasing some of its COVID-19 protocols once the students return.
“We had been training all through COVID, and with previous classes locked them down and not allowed them to leave campus. I already told the class on the way out the door Friday to plan on being locked down for the duration when they come back, just to limit exposure in the community,” explained Stinar.
Students at the academy were pre-screened for COVID before arriving at the MLEA and had been monitored daily.