After a five-day process, the members of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2020 finished arriving back at the academy Saturday and began a 14-day controlled monitoring period before their graduation ceremony June 13.The members of the class were officially commissioned as second lieutenants May 23, the date their graduation ceremony was originally scheduled for before it was pushed back due to COVID-19. Once they arrived back at West Point, many of them pinned on their second lieutenant “butter bars” for the first time as they began the transition from cadet to Army officer.The 14-day controlled monitoring period will be used to perform the various out-processing tasks the members of the class must complete before leaving the academy behind and entering into the Army.The members of the class have to turn in their cadet IDs and have them replaced by second lieutenant ones. They have to finish medical checks that were left undone because they left for spring break and then didn’t return for two months because of a global pandemic.They also have to return equipment, receive their orders and pack up their rooms in the barracks so they can move to their Basic Officer Leaders Course locations and then eventually to their initial duty post.The members of the class are divided into different cohorts to prevent a possible spread of COVID-19, although each returnee in the barracks tested negative upon arrival back at the academy. Each cohort has been assigned a specific area where the members are allowed to do physical training in. They also eat meals and perform the various out-processing tasks with the members of their cohort.“Normally there are 12 people at a table, but they’re having us be with only two other people (in the mess hall),” Maddie Miller, a member of the Class of 2020, said. “The food is already set for us at the mess hall so there’s no one coming around and bringing us trays of food, like they did during the school year. It’s different, but it makes sense.”Miller and her cohort arrived back at the academy May 28 and thus far their schedule has not required them to start any of the out-processing tasks. That has given her and her roommate Emma Powless a chance to pack up their room except for necessities they still need and spend time with their classmates in their company one last time before they spread out throughout the country.“It’s actually been awesome to be back in the sense of seeing people and to get closure on our four-year experience here,” Powless said. “I think if West Point had said, ‘Alright, we’re going to ship your stuff to you. Now go have a nice Army career,’ that would have been a really interesting way to enter the Army and I don’t think we would have gotten the closure on this crazy four-year experience that we would have liked to have.”Along with out-processing, the soon to be graduates are taking part in physical training sessions and courses on leading within a COVID-19 environment among their cohorts.The members of the class have also had the chance to participate in events scheduled by the Directorate of Cadet Activities including a virtual DJ night, a video game tournament, exclusive virtual concerts and more.They’ve also found unique ways to spend their time together as they conclude their cadet careers such has holding socially distanced painting parties in the courtyard of their barracks.“For PT, everyone knows to distance the entire time,” Mac Viljac, a member of the Class of 2020, said. “We move in different groups to wherever we’re doing our PT. In that other free time, you can be out in your certain cohort areas. Fortunately, we have the apron right here from Washington (statue) over. It’s a little different but I think everyone’s adapted to it pretty well.”The Class of 2020 will come together one final time June 13 for graduation. Because of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, the ceremony will take place on the Plain at West Point instead of Michie Stadium. It was also announced over the weekend that for health protection reasons the ceremony will be closed to families and other guests this year.After the ceremony, the new officers will embark on their Army careers. For Viljac, that will mean reporting to aviation BOLC at Fort Rucker, Alabama, almost immediately. Miller and Powless on the other hand will have a short respite before their report dates.Miller will begin her career at the field artillery BOLC at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, at the end of July and Powless will report to engineer BOLC at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in mid-August.“I’m thankful for (the graduation ceremony),” Viljac said. “I know a lot of other schools didn’t do it, but I think it’s a good opportunity to really just tie the knot on West Point and move on. I think it’s a very good thing. It will give everyone some closure. I’ll enjoy sharing the experience with everyone, regardless of how we do it.”Related LinksU.S. Army COVID-19 Worldwide NewsU.S. Military Academy at West PointPlans in place to safely welcome Class of 2020 back to West Point