Official: Merchant Marine Academy closed until late October

Midshipmen march down Brooks stadium during the viewing

Midshipmen march down Brooks stadium during the viewing parade as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy welcomes 237 "plebe candidates" of the Class of 2017 into the Regiment of Midshipmen during the acceptance day ceremony held on the campus in Kings Point on Sept. 7, 2013. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point will not reopen until Oct. 21 at the earliest, the superintendent announced Friday.

Since the government shutdown over the federal budget stalemate, hundreds of students haven't been able to go to class at the academy.

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Even if a resolution is passed to resume funding, Oct. 21 is the earliest the school can open, Admiral James Helis said in a message to students, parents and staff.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to keep students and faculty updated," Helis said. "Please know that the Academy is doing everything possible to remain flexible while preserving the academic calendar year for the midshipmen who attend."

Officials pushed forward the fall break, starting it on Oct. 4 instead of Nov. 1, in an effort to minimize the impact of the shutdown on students' education.

The military academy, unlike the four other U.S. service academies, is operated under the Department of Transportation and stopped operations and administrative support programs when the shutdown began, DOT spokeswoman Meghan Keck said last week.

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