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Navy League 2021: Newport News Shipbuilding reports progress on carrier Kennedy as yard returns to mask requirements

Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding highlighted recent progress on aircraft carrier John F Kennedy (CVN 79) on 2 August, as shipyard President Jennifer Boykin confirmed the facility was again implementing mask requirements.

“We're back to masks right now,” Boykin said during a 2 August briefing at the Navy League 2021 Sea-Air-Space exposition.

The company is taking those measures to track recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), due to spikes in the Delta variant of Covid-19, she said.

Newport News Shipbuilding was one of the most proactive of shipyards during 2020 in trying to address Covid-19 risks, with a series of requirements and changes to protect the workforce.

Health officials have indicated a need to be concerned again, prompting the yard to take action.

“We're paying attention to what's coming out of the CDC and the state,” Boykin said, underscoring that the company's priority is the health of its workforce. “We have recently gone to masks, if you are indoors and cannot socially distance,” she added.

However, for many shipbuilding tasks in the yard, it's impossible to wear masks or socially distance, she said. Such is the case for some of the work on carrier Kennedy .

Shortly after the exposition briefing, the shipyard acknowledged it had passed the 20% mark on compartment completion, turning over to the ship's crew more than 500 of the total 2,615 spaces.

According to the yard officials, the most recently completed spaces include berthing, machinery, and electrical, making it easier for sailors assigned to the pre-commissioning unit to continue training on the ship while final outfitting and testing progresses.

Lucas Hicks, vice-president of the Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) and

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