The Department of Defense announced April 6 that a cloth face covering would be required in all public settings on posts where social distancing is not possible in order to enhance mitigation efforts to end the spread of COVID-19.The guidance went into effect at West Point April 8, and Garrison West Point leadership, West Point Morale, Welfare and Recreation and the Cadet Uniform Factory quickly teamed up to create a plan to assist with this requirement during a time when masks are hard to come by.A special area was set up at the arts and crafts annex in building 695 near the West Point Cemetery with six industrial sewing machines and excess material that is typically used to make the cadets’ India White uniforms at the Cadet Uniform Factory, Jia Liu, who is volunteering to help run logistics at the sewing center, said.West Point community volunteers can use material provided or bring their own to sew masks for their own use or for the West Point community as a whole, Liu added. Three tailors from the uniform factory also volunteered to help sew during their free time, as their skills enabled them to quickly produce large quantities of masks.From Wednesday, April 8, when they started through Saturday, April 11, they sewed 453 masks that West Point community members and organizations were able to come and pickup. Members of the community can also come by and pick up the materials and sew masks at home if they prefer.By the end of the day Saturday, more than 430 of the masks had already been picked up and distributed by the sewing center, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.The original plan was for the sewing center to only be open for a few days, but it has been extended indefinitely as the need for masks became apparent.“The first day, we made a lot but not many people came by,” Liu said. “Then the next day, the gate guards stopped by and the fire department stopped by, the laundry service and mess hall workers came by. They all said the same thing—that they cannot find masks and they’re so glad that this is available to them and they are very appreciative of all that is being done here.”Along with the masks being sewn by volunteers to support the West Point community, the Cadet Uniform Factory is working to make sure the U.S. Military Academy is prepared for the eventual return of the 4,400 members of the Corps of Cadets.Working on reduced shifts to allow for social distancing, associates at the factory are using the same India White fabric to produce more than 5,000 masks to protect the Corps of Cadets.“Our goal is 500 per day, but I think we’re going to blow that out of the water,” Armondo Sanchezcastellanos, the manager of the CUF, said. “I think we’re going to be making 750 to 800 a day easy.”Sanchezcastellanos, a West Point graduate who only recently returned to manage the CUF, said the seamstresses who have volunteered their time to sew masks and the work being done at the uniform factory is just an extension of the associates’ desire to support the corps.“They think it’s pretty awesome,” he said. “The fact that they’re giving back to their community that they support; these folks take great pride in their job in supporting the cadets and this is an extension of that. So, we’re very happy to be able to help in this small way.”If you would like to pick up material to sew masks, volunteer at the sewing center or need to pick up completed masks for your family or organization, visit building 695 near the West Point Cemetery.