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NEWS | April 17, 2020

Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman 502d Air Base Wing Commander

Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander’s calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week.

If you have a question or concern, please send an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.

COVID-19

Q. I’m worried about my son continuing to report to work. His leadership has not sent anyone home, mission-essential or not, and I would like to know why.

My wife is immuno-compromised, so out of an abundance of caution, our son has not been able to see us in case he were exposed and affected my wife.

Not being able to see my son has taken a toll on us and it’s all because he still has to go to work instead of staying at home like everyone else. I would just like to know why this is continuing to happen. We want to see our son and I’m concerned about him.

A. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Please know that we understand your concerns regarding your wife and her potential exposure to COVID-19.

While many organizations within JBSA can execute their mission through telework operations, not all critical missions can be accomplished from home.

A major effort across JBSA is supporting the military training mission and the health and safety of the training pipeline. Please know that we will continue to focus our efforts to safeguard your son and your family.

I sincerely thank you for your understanding as we work through this difficult time together.

Q. During the U.S. Army South Town Hall, I asked a question, but due to time, it was not presented. I was told by my command to address it to JBSA.

I understand the need for child care support for mission essential personnel; however, child care staff that have underlining health conditions are still working.

The child care system put all hourly workers (NAF/TEMPs) on furlough and only kept the permanent GS employees on work call.

Why aren’t the employees with health conditions placed on administrative leave, like the employees over 60 were? Why not bring back some hourly employees if permanent employees have to be placed on admin leave? This takes care of the health of the ones most susceptible and allows the others furloughed to earn income.

A. Thank you very much for sharing your question and concerns. Our Child and Youth Programs, or CYP, are concerned with the health and safety of children and staff.

As daily attendance has decreased due to increased telework capabilities, the number of CYP staff needed to operate the program has decreased. At this time, no CYP staff have been officially furloughed, and NAF and APF are both being scheduled to work as required.

Employees should work with their supervisor if they have an identified health condition, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which puts them at higher risks during the COVID-19 health emergency. These employees will be permitted administrative leave per the OPM guidelines.

If staff are not required to work due to low attendance, they are placed on paid administrative leave based on the average number of hours worked in the last six months. These staff can be recalled to work if the need changes.

I hope this information is helpful, but if you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Installation & Facilities

Q. Trees are such a beautiful part of our installation. Are there any plans to replace the trees that have been or are being cut down or lost to weather at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston? Perhaps, some type of fund raiser might be helpful to purchase and plant trees.

Personally, I would be more than happy to contribute. What about a policy that a tree cannot be cut down, until there is a tree already planted to replace it?

As an aside, when I retired from active duty at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, I knew my colleagues were collecting money to hold a retirement party for me. Instead of a party, at my request, they used the funds to plant a tree in my name.

A. Thank you very much for caring about our installation and helping us keep JBSA beautiful! We currently do not have a policy that mandates a one-for-one replacement for any trees lost due to weather or removed due to new construction. However, generally new construction projects do include planting of new trees and vegetation where possible as part of the final landscaping plan. In the next update of the JBSA Vegetation Management Plan, we will consider adding guidance to maximize replanting where practical.

Q. The Warhawk Fitness Center at JBSA-Lackland does not have air conditioning. When I worked out there before COVID-19, I was completely disgusted by how hot and humid it was, making it a perfect breeding ground for viruses. This should be fixed before the fitness centers re-open.

A. Unfortunately, the Warhawk Fitness Center was not designed to have air conditioning in the main gymnasium, and it is very costly to install equipment to cool this large space. The weight rooms and aerobic rooms are air-conditioned space, and we do have other fitness centers on JBSA that are designed with conditioned gymnasiums.

Regarding concerns for cleanliness, our fitness center staff and custodial services have been working hard to provide a safe and clean space to support our community’s fitness needs; if you should experience a specific issue of concern, please bring it to the attention of our fitness center front desk to assist with resolving.

I would also encourage you to consult with the Fitness Center front desk for details on the wide variety of fitness facilities available for your use. Thank you for your feedback!

Miscellaneous

Q. On rare occasions when we have snow, the commander is authorized to direct later reporting times for employees. Recently, we had some inclement weather, but a later reporting time was not issued.

There were severe heavy rains scattered throughout, and accidents were occurring all over San Antonio. We knew that this was coming, yet we did not prepare for it.

Eventually, the rains stopped, and there was sunlight for increased visibility, but it was still a dangerous trip to work.

Can you please consider doing this in the future? Severe rains are much more dangerous here in San Antonio versus a little snow.

A. Thank you very much for your question. I can definitely consider late reporting due to severe heavy rains in the future.

In accordance with our Severe Weather Plan, if adequate information is available prior to the end of the normal working day, then the Severe Weather Working Group provides a recommendation as soon as possible to the JBSA community with 502d ABW/CC approval for delayed reporting/early release.

Here at JBSA, we strive to make this decision as early as possible so that we may inform our personnel quickly. Our weather call should ideally be made in time to make early morning news telecasts to notify our JBSA community.

Our Severe Weather Working Group will take your comments and we can ensure they are brought up at our next Severe Weather Working Group Meeting.

Q. I recently attended a volunteer event about access to information, and some comments a few individuals made brought up an interesting concern.

There are a lot of people at JBSA-Lackland, JBSA-Randolph, and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston that do not receive the 502 ABW/CC Weekly update or Feedback Friday, but I think there is a great deal of useful information (i.e., construction updates, base events, Q&As, etc.).

Some of the people not receiving them are a part of the 59th Medical Wing, or do not work on the bases directly, but still “fall under” the base. Is there a way these individuals could start receiving some of the great info that you send out weekly?

A. Thank you for your feedback! While the weekly Q&A started as an internal 502d ABW resource, we can definitely send the weekly Q&A to our mission partners across JBSA.

I will work with our Public Affairs team to ensure we share the information across our installation. I also encourage everyone to check out our Feedback Friday Page on the JBSA.mil website (https://www.jbsa.mil/Information/Feedback-Fridays/) and the JBSA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/502ABWCommander/) for similar updates and information. Thank you again for your feedback!