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JBSA Commander's Update - June 25, 2020
NOTE: There will be another video update released this week.
502d ABW Travel Exception Policy Letter
Exemption of Policy Form
Approval for Exemption Memorandum
Stop Movement Dashboard - Mar. 27
Local Leave Radius Map
Assignment Policy FAQs
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Coast Guard
Symptomatic government employees who are not beneficiaries are now authorized, per a SECDEF memo dated 7 April, to be screened if their supervisor certifies them to be essential to mission. They will need to provide certification by their supervisor or commander. (See Template for Civilian Screening: https://www.jbsa.mil/Portals/102/Template%20for%20Civilian%20Screening%20v5.pdf )
To ensure availability of testing for our highest-risk populations, please keep in mind that while employees may be screened they will not be tested unless they meet specific criteria, such as in cases in which the test
result will help in making significant clinical decisions. Most people do not need to be tested; treatment for mild to moderate cases of COVID, or any other viral respiratory illness, is to stay home until better.
We cannot guarantee the RAPID test; however, we are working diligently to ensure that lab tests are turned around quickly. To help decrease delays, patients who have received a COVID-19 test can now view their results through TRICARE Online (TOL) as soon as the result is certified. Visit https://www.tricareonline.com, click on the Health Record button, and then Laboratory Results. A nurse or provider will also call patients within 1-2 days to discuss the results.
(Click here for Civilian Screening Template PDF) Symptomatic government employees who are not beneficiaries are now authorized (SECDEF memo dated 7 April) to be screened if their supervisor certifies them to be essential to mission. They will need to provide certification by their supervisor or commander.
If an employee meets criteria for testing, under current guidelines, they will be sent home for at least 7 days regardless of test result. As a reminder, if you are feeling sick or having flu-like symptoms, please stay
home and call your supervisor before coming in to reduce the risk of COVID-19. For more information on BAMC COVID-19 information, go to https://www.bamc.health.mil/articles/covid19/
My employee just returned from an affected area and I do not want them to come into the office until I know they do not present a safety risk. As a supervisor, what can I do?
Supervisors should identify whether the employee is telework-ready and offer the employee the option to telework. If the employee is not telework-ready because, for example, they cannot perform their duties at an alternate location, then the supervisor should consider utilizing Weather and Safety Leave (please review the section below on the appropriate use of WSL), administrative leave, or other leave flexibilities (paid or unpaid) available. DoD Components may also combine telework and various leave flexibilities when the employee may perform some of his or her duties at an alternate worksite.
I have an employee on Weather and Safety Leave who is immunocompromised and cannot telework due to the nature of their position. I need them to come back to work. Can I mandate them to return?
Supervisors should avoid mandating the return of employees who are in the higher risk categories prior to Phase 3, except in the most urgent mission-needs situation. Although these guidelines do not impact the authority to recall civilian employees to traditional worksites to meet urgent, mission-essential requirements, per DAF guidance, effective safeguards and mitigation measures must be put into place to ensure civilian employees are able to travel safely to and from work and perform their jobs in a safe manner. Before requiring a higher risk employee to return to the traditional worksite, a supervisor should work collaboratively with the employee in developing a plan, and seek creative, flexible, and tailored solutions. A supervisor should consider and try to find a balance between the risk to the employee and the mission need.
Are there any yearly limitations to Weather and Safety leave?
No, there is no cap on the number of hours that may be granted for WSL.
If a supervisor determines to recall a civilian employee back to the traditional worksite, can an employee refuse?
Supervisors are encouraged to take a collaborative approach to develop a plan for each civilian employee’s transition to optimized operations and seek creative, flexible, and tailored solutions. Where duties can be performed by telework, supervisors should maximize telework whenever possible. Where mission needs cannot be met by telework, other new work arrangements should be considered. Ultimately, a supervisor can mandate an employee’s return to the traditional worksite. An employee may also request leave under a variety of leave entitlements. Also, even at a stage/phase when most civilian employees have transitioned to optimized operations and/or returned to the traditional worksites (Phase 3/HPCON A), a civilian employee who is at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19, as defined by the CDC, may be legally entitled (under the Rehabilitation Act) to reasonable accommodation, including full-time telework.
Can supervisors question the reason for which their employees are requesting annual leave?
Since supervisors must balance the work of the agency against the interest of the employee in using annual leave, supervisors may find it necessary from time to time to ask employees how they will use the requested annual leave so that the supervisors may make informed decisions about scheduling the leave. In such cases, employees are not required to provide the supervisor with this information, but their request for annual leave may be denied based on mission requirements. DoD Components should also be mindful of requirements under their collective bargaining agreements.
Can a supervisor deny leave to a civilian who is traveling outside the local commuting area?
Depending on the type of leave, a supervisor can deny or cancel leave to a civilian who is traveling outside the local commuting area based on mission requirements. A supervisor may not deny personal leave solely because an employee is traveling outside of the local commuting area or to a COVID-19 “hot spot.”
37th Training Wing BMT & Tech Training FAQ
Q. Why is Basic Military Training still in effect?
A: Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander, Air Education and Training Command, declared Basic Military Training (BMT), technical training, and flight training as mission essential. Training in the “non” mission essential category is suspended. In order to meet Air Force requirements around the world, we must continue training. These are unprecedented times, with the situation evolving daily. Leaders at every level are making continuous assessments in order to protect the force’s health and safety.
Q. Can I still attend my loved ones BMT graduation events?
A. Out of an abundance of caution, JBSA officials will suspend all guest attendance for mass gatherings that are not deemed mission essential, to include basic military training (BMT) graduation ceremonies and BMT coining ceremonies to reduce potential spread of COVID-19. JBSA officials will continue to monitor and discuss the situation with medical experts to determine when guest attendance at graduation events will resume.
In the meantime, BMT graduations will be live-streamed on the USAF Basic Military Training Facebook page: @USAFBMT and will be archived for later viewing on the 37th Training Wing YouTube Channel.
Q. Why is BMT graduation now on Thursday?
A. During the COVID-19 pandemic, BMT graduations will take place on Thursday to allow Airmen to begin transitioning to technical training on Friday, freeing up space on the BMT campus. This allows the 37th Training Wing team to have additional cleaning time of the dormitories.
Q. Are new trainees still arriving to Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio?
A. Yes, the 37th Training Wing will continue to receive the arrival of new trainees. Along with implementing a restriction of movement (ROM) for 14 days upon arrival, BMT has begun screening all recruits and will monitor every member during their time at BMT for symptoms. (They are also screened at their Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) prior to shipment.)
This 14-day ROM does not impact the trainee’s graduation date or time at BMT. It still remains 8.5 weeks, as BMT leadership is looking at creative ways of accomplishing the required curriculum to allow trainees to graduate on time.
Schedules have been adjusted to reduce interaction with other flights and have increased cleaning measures across all components. We are working with our medical and support experts to ensure our Airmen are protected to the maximum extent possible. For more information: Latest Air Force trainees continue BMT with enhanced mitigation efforts.
Q: If there is a positive case in BMT, what will be the response and decontamination process?
A: If a trainee tests positive for COVID-19, the medical community will conduct contact tracing and identify all areas which were impacted. These areas will undergo extensive professional cleaning.
The positive trainee will receive the required medical care and other trainees who were exposed to that member will be placed in a 14-day quarantine and monitored for symptoms. Once they clear the incubation period without symptoms under quarantine, they can return to training.
Q: Are trainees going to be allowed to call home?
A: Yes, effective March 23, 2020, all trainees, regardless of week of training will be allowed to call home weekly to update family members on their status.
Q: Will Air National Guard and Reserve recruits be able to return home after graduating Basic Military Training?
A: Yes, we will adhere to the established policies by the Air National Guard and Reserve for trainees to return home.
Q. Why is tech training continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: We understand the concerns being expressed for the safety of all those attending technical training at JBSA. At this time, Air Education and Training Command has deemed technical training to be mission essential and will continue on as planned.
We take the safety and well-being of our personnel and trainees very seriously and will continue to re-evaluate as needed. Please visit the following link for more information on AETC mission-essential training the following article: AETC issues official COVID-19 mission essential training determination, authorizes travel.
Q. How will Airmen get to technical training while mitigating travel risks?
A. BMT works with each technical training location to move Airmen in a variety of transportation means. All departing Airmen receive a pre-departure health, morale, welfare and safety briefing from leadership to ensure the latest DoD travel protocols are being met. These briefings are modified as needed to mitigate risk as the situation changes.
Q: Will students in technical training be allowed off base, or have their family visit?
A: The Airman’s new squadrons will provide them an update on the ability to travel off base or have visitors come to visit based on the direction of the installation commander and DOD guidance. This determination is based on the priority of keeping them safe and the completion of their technical training requirements.
Q: What is the process for Airmen graduating technical training and PCSing to their first duty station?
A. All technical training and specialized undergraduate pilot training graduates currently in technical training, will continue to out-process and travel to their first duty station upon completion of training.
Upon graduation for both technical training and flying training students, losing units will coordinate with the gaining units to work specific mitigation and travel issues as needed. Overseas travel will be coordinated in accordance with DoD guidelines.
Q. Will I be able to attend my Airman’s technical training graduation?
A. Out of an abundance of caution, JBSA officials will suspend all guest attendance for mass gatherings that are not deemed mission essential, including technical training graduation. In addition, technical training graduations are not streamed to the public. Regardless of this restriction, we can assure you they will be celebrated within their units.
Q: What is the process for testing sick Airmen in technical training?
A: As determined by medical professionals, technical training Airmen are being tested for COVID-19 if they are symptomatic. Once tested, the Airmen are placed in isolation for 24 to 48 hours until their test results are returned. During that time food and essentials are provided to our Airmen. Airmen are routinely checked on and have access to their personal items, including cell phones, so they can make contact with their family.
Q: Is there anything in place to keep service-members who are mission-essential from coming home and potentially putting their families at risk?
A: Yes. The 37th Training Wing is in the process of identifying Instructor Cadre, Military Training Leaders, and Animal Caretakers who can temporarily relocate to on-base quarters. This would be a temporary relocation that is at no cost to the member.
Q: Will I still be able to see my Airman graduate Basic Military Training?
A: Only by tuning into livestream of the graduation ceremony on the 37th Training Wing Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/37thTrainingWing/]. For now, Basic Military Training [BMT] graduations will be closed to any visitors. We took our time at making the decision and we do realize that this is a hardship for a lot of people and we're trying to make this period it as smooth as possible. As a part of Military City USA, we bring people from all over the world, and we send them to many other places in the world. Closing BMT graduations and cancelling large gatherings is an action to protect the on- and off-base community.
Q. Can local military attend any of the BMT graduation events?
A. It's going to be closed to everyone except the trainees at this time, although Basic military training graduation events will be livestreamed via the 37th Training Wing’s Facebook page every Friday beginning March 13 at 9 a.m. at https://www.facebook.com/37thTrainingWing/.
Q. How long will BMT graduations be closed to the public?
A. Right now, we just can't make that call of when it's going to end. We'll be watching just as everyone else is and getting the best advice that we can. We will make decisions based on recommendations of our senior leaders. Right now, this is the right thing to do for this environment here at Joint Base San Antonio, to protect all the people on the installation that live and work here, and those that are going to go on to graduate this weekend.
Q. Typically, after graduation, trainees who've graduated have the opportunity to spend time with their families and go off base. Will new Airmen have liberty after they graduate?
A: After graduation, the trainees will go back to the dormitory squadrons as a measure to try to lessen the blow in regards to them not being able to interact with their loved ones, we will allow them to have their phones so they can call and talk with their loved ones. Which is one of the measures that we normally do not do. However, considering the circumstances in the situation that we are making those amends, so that they can at least have phone contact with their loved ones.
Q: Why didn't we just limit the number of BMT graduation guests?
A. It comes down to threat a transmission. One of the things about this virus is that a large percentage somewhat, maybe a little more than 50 percent may have few or very minimal symptoms. Some may have no symptoms at all. So, even with appropriate screening, people may actually inadvertently have the disease or not knowingly have the disease, and potentially expose others. So, again, out of an abundance of caution we thought, because there's active transmission in many areas of the United States where families come from, the prudent thing was to reduce mass gatherings. Because of the mission here and the close proximity of the trainees, we thought it was important to add that aspect of a preventive measure for the mission, and the community we all live in.
Q: Do trainees go near the quarantined area?
A. Our trainees are never even close to being near the individuals that are in quarantined. The quarantine area is completely separate from the BMT training environment and no one ever is allowed to go around in those restricted areas. There is a fence that surrounds the quarantine area as well.
Q: Will technical training graduations be cancelled or will families be allowed to come to those installations to see Airmen?
A: Right now it’s still in those decision spaces that are still being worked within their education and training command. This is definitely a fluid environment in terms of where we are and this is the decision that we've made. For now, this is the near term decision--to cancel mass gatherings, and we'll continue to look and see when we can move forward and allow our graduation ceremonies to reconvene. At this moment, this is the most prudent action that we were able to take based on the evidence that we have.
Q: Why are quarantined individuals on Lackland allowed to be outside of their quarters?
A: Our recommended social distancing is six feet out, and they are far away from anybody because we have fixed zones, so that CDC personnel, base populace and repatriated personnel know their limits, so they can roam outside. According to the CDC, the virus--in sunlight and outside--does not survive very long, so being outside is okay. In fact, I've seen some of the people walking around in their masks so they're being extra cautious as well.
Q: How is this going to impact JBSA when it comes to things like retirement ceremonies, 5K runs, events that the base typically organizes?
A: We're actually working through those questions right now. In the interest of time, we focused in on the military training graduation ceremonies, but we're going to look at each event coming up in the near future. The city of San Antonio is doing the same thing when it comes to things like Fiesta, which is occurring next month. For each case, we are going to take into account the health risk to the Force and the risk to the mission consider. There will be more information to follow, but it'll most likely be on a case-by-case basis.
Q: If a child at the CDC tests positive. Are there plans in place and how will that be handled?
A. We have been talking about this through the health working group we've been talking about what happens if we have a positive test in the Child Development Center, because every parent and family member is mission essential. CDCs will have a direct mission impact on our team. If there is a positive case, that's the job of our health protection working group to follow the protocols in terms of notifications. They'll do some tracing, which is determining who that child came in contact with. If it came to us having to shut down a CDC, we would do that in the abundance of caution to take care of the greater community. But again, this would have a large impact on the mission. We do have quite a few CDCs at JBSA and many children on the waiting list as well, so we recognize that this is an important course of action [COA], or branch that we need to walk through so that we're prepared in case that does happen on our installation.
Q: Is there a way for security at the gate to be able to view ID cards without actually having that person-to-person interaction?
A: There's no driving force for us not to physically check ID cards. Some of our Defenders at the gates are wearing gloves. That's their choice, something that they were comfortable with, but it's not because there's an increased threat through the ID card handling. If there comes a time when we need to step to that next level, then we would consider you just showing your ID card and doing it through the glass window, versus handing it to the security forces member, but we're not at that point yet.
PHONE NUMBER: 404-639-3286
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website
PHONE NUMBER: 1-877-696-6775
Department of Health and Human Services Website
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