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Sheppard AFB's Health Protection Condition Level: BRAVO

***SHEPPARD AFB COVID-19 RECOVERY GUIDE (March 22, 2021)***

What is COVID-19?
On Jan. 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern for the 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. On Jan. 31, 2020, the secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in the United States and announced new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The current epidemic, which originated in mainland China, has demonstrated the capacity of COVID-19 to spread globally. While supporting other government agencies’ response to the COVID-19 threat, the Department of the Air Force is responding appropriately to protect the health of the force and maintain operational readiness.

Sheppard AFB COVID-19 Health Update

In compliance with Department of Defense guidance, we will no longer report the number of COVID-19 cases specific to Sheppard AFB. This policy directs local installations not to aggregate and publicize cases, and was implemented to ensure operational security across the services. 

For data on COVID-19 cases, visit Texas Department of State Health Services, Oklahoma State Department of Health, and Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District websites.

Medical Group FAQs

Contact Information

Central Appointment Line: DSN: 736-2273 or COMM: 940-676-2273

Nurse Advice Line (24/7):  1-800-874-2273 (the NAL is also experiencing high call volumes). Web app to text chat or video chat at https://mhsnurseadviceline.com.

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Yes. Sheppard announced its first case of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, on March 25, 2020. We urge people to continue to follow basic preventive and protective measures such as washing hands, practicing social distancing, suspending travel, staying home if sick, and cleaning and disinfecting common or shared objects and surfaces.

We are taking proactive steps to encourage all Department of the Air Force personnel to follow Force Health Protection and CDC guidance to avoid contracting or spreading respiratory illnesses like the flu or COVID-19. There are contingency plans in place and we are taking steps to educate and safeguard our military and civilian personnel, family members and base communities in preventing a widespread outbreak.  We are continuing to work with our interagency and local partners to strengthen global detection and response to COVID-19.

If you have traveled in or through a location where the disease is trending upward, whether personal or official capacity, be prepared to be in Quarantine status for 14 days upon your return. This applies to all members of Team Sheppard, whether military, civilian or family member. Please do not report directly to your unit, the medical clinic, finance, personnel or any other agency before being screened and cleared to do so.

The short answer is yes. Handwashing can help prevent illness. Taking 20 seconds to lather up, scrub your hands, rinse and dry is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs. Hand hygiene is so important to preventing the spread of disease. If we can limit the spread of influenza and COVID-19, we can limit the number of people who end up in our hospitals and emergency rooms.

If you or someone you think you know might have the virus, do not report to the clinic. Contact the Central Appointment Desk (CAD) at 940-676-2273 during duty hours or the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) at 1-800-874-2273 during non-duty hours and follow the advice given. Always call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing an emergency. Seek emergency medical care immediately if you or someone you know is having trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion (new onset), inability or wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face. If tested, contact public health at 940-676-3052 and your chain of command.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Fever greater than 100.4⁰F
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of taste or smell

Many of these symptoms are similar to seasonal allergies and flu.

We are able to do testing here at the MDG. We are following current CDC guidelines for testing and are prioritizing patients with fever or signs of lower respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath). Providers consider such things as severity of the illness, age, and chronic medical conditions, along with travel history and potential exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. We have both regular and rapid COVID-19 testing capabilities. Rapid testing will be prioritized and used as available (1 test/hr), however results may not be determined in such a short time due to queue.

Social distancing is one of the most effective means of limiting and preventing the spread of COVID-19. There are about 6,000 hospitals in the United States and at any given time, 2/3s of the beds are full from patients involved in motor vehicle accidents, some who have had a heart attack and stroke, and other serious medical conditions. Social distancing will help lessen the spread of the virus so that our medical treatment facilities will have the capacity to care for those with the aforementioned health complications and severe cases of Coronavirus.

We recommend that everyone stay away from crowded places. If your 65 years old or older and you’re immunocompromised, there is a greater risk that this disease can have a severe effect on your health.

If you’re under 65, we still recommend that you stay away from areas and events with large gatherings. The idea here is to prevent you from getting a mild form of the disease and spreading it to others, especially those in a high-risk category. We all have to do our part to keep ourselves safe and healthy, look out for the health and safety of others, and flatten the curve of the spread of Coronavirus.

HPCONS were introduced in 2019 and are similar to Force Protection Conditions (FPCONs); FPCONs inform the populace about potential physical threats, while HPCONs inform about potential health threats. HPCON levels include:

  • HPCON “0” – Normal baseline; measures include standard precautions and prevention such as hand washing, hygiene, vaccinations, education, planning, etc.
  • HPCON A – Report of unusual health risk or disease; possible measures include communicating risk and symptoms, reviewing plans and preparation, and preparation to diagnose, isolate and report new cases
  • HPCON B – Outbreak or heightened exposure risk; possible measures include strict hygiene, self-isolation if exposed, vector control and careful cleaning of common-use items/areas.
  • HPCON C – High morbidity epidemic or contamination; possible measures include social distancing (limit meetings, socials and gatherings), and mass distribution of medical countermeasures if applicable.
  • HPCON D – High mortality epidemic or containment; possible measures include restriction of movement (quarantine), evacuation and decontamination

As with FPCON levels, changes in HPCON levels are communicated through official command and control channels, with possible augmentation with public affairs channels. HPCON signs may be posted in key high traffic areas.

Specific information and actions will vary based on circumstances and will be communicated along with the overall HPCON level. Personnel should carefully follow all guidance and directives to ensure individual and community health and safety, as well as overall mission readiness.

The HPCON level for Sheppard AFB can be found at the top of this page. 

We will continue to meet the Secretary of Defense’s three priorities in fighting COVID-19, regardless the HPCON level:

1. Protect our people and their families
2. Ensure our ability to conduct essential missions in defense of the nation
3. Support the all-government effort against Coronavirus

This is the way a self-isolation period works. The incubation period – the time you get the virus to the time you exhibit symptoms – is 2-14 days. If you return from a high-risk area such as a Level 2 or 3 travel country and you stay home for 14 days and you do not have an illness, that means you are not infected and you are not going to spread it to other people. That is why it is important that we ask people to stay home and follow guidelines.

The confluence of an early allergy season, a continuing flu season, and COVID-19 concerns has resulted in unprecedented demand for pharmacy services. As our staff work tirelessly to meet the needs of our patient population, we are encouraging all patients to exercise good judgment in their utilization of pharmacy services. If you are sick, feel you may be contagious, or are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19, please do not travel to the clinic. Instead, call the pharmacy at 940-676-2273. We will work to ensure you receive your medication without exposing yourself or others to unnecessary risk.

For those that must visit the Pharmacy we are committed to protecting our patient population from viral illness. To this end, the Pharmacy has implemented the following precautionary measures:

  • Social Distancing: The Pharmacy waiting area has been reconfigured with fewer chairs, spaced farther apart. Patients are encouraged to wait in their vehicle or return later for pickup. Simply scan your ticket at the kiosk upon your return. Tickets are good for the entire day and you will not lose your place in line. 
  • No Exchange ID card Check: Patients are asked to scan their own ID card at the pharmacy window.
  • 90 Day Medication Supply: Whenever possible, the Pharmacy will dispense a 90 day supply of your medication.
  • Refill Leniency: You may refill your medication up to 25% early.
  • Increased Sanitation: The Pharmacy has increased our cleaning and sanitation efforts both in the Pharmacy and in the waiting area.

Sick call appointments can still be made through the Central Appointment Line.

We are striving to increase routine medical appointments. We encourage you to check with your health care team before scheduling or canceling an appointment.

If you have a medical emergency, please dial 911 on base or proceed to the Emergency Department at United Regional. If you feel you must be seen in the clinic within the next 24-72 hours, please call our Central Appointment Line. Alternatively, the Nurse Advice Line is also available to you 24/7.

If you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms and feel comfortable providing self-care at home, please continue to do so.  If you need medical assistance, please call the Nurses Advice Line or the Care Line and we will have a nurse speak with you or create a t-con for you.  Our priority is to reach those patients who have reported symptoms. 

If you have a routine appointment scheduled during your ROM status, we will not be able to see you in the clinic until your ROM is lifted; please reschedule your appointment via the Central Appointment Line or at TRICARE Online for after your ROM end date. We ask that you NOT come into the clinic if you are on ROM unless you have received verbal instructions from our staff to do so. Please notify our staff that you are in ROM status upon arrival to the clinic.

To prevent the spread of illness within your homes, please follow the CDC’s guidelines: “Interim Guidance for Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Homes and Residential Communities” https://www.cdc.gov/…/2019…/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html.

Please reference the Wichita Falls Public Health District’s website for the latest lists of testing facilities at https://tx-wichitafalls3.civicplus.com/2088/COVID-19.  Currently, there are 6 facilities in town with In-House COVID-19 testing capabilities:  Community Med Urgent Care, Community Health Care Center, United Regional Physician Group, Harmony Clinics, Affordacare, and Clinics of North Texas. It will take time to receive the test results, therefore, it is best to self-isolate before they are given to you. You can also call the SAFB Medical Clinic 940-676-CARE (2273) to see if you meet the criteria to get tested on base.

Talk to your leadership. This should have already occurred in some areas. Priority one is about taking care of our people.

Currently, SAFB does not have the resources such as the number of thermometers or kits to take everyone’s temperatures. This comes back to being socially responsible. If you don’t feel well, you need to tell someone and then avoid coming into work. Keep that in mind so that we are protecting ourselves and each other.

A lot of us are feeling stress and anxiety. If you need to talk to someone, there are lots of resources available. Our mental health flight is a great option and so are the chaplains. Our Military Family Life Counselors are available by phone or email, Military OneSource is available for military members and the Employee Assistance Program is there for our civilian Airmen. Your coworkers, first sergeants, MTLs, instructors, supervisors – you are surrounded by people who want to help, so please reach out.

 

According to the CDC, there is currently no data showing that COVID-19 affects pregnant people differently than others, we do know that pregnant people are at greater risk of getting sick from other respiratory viruses than people who are not pregnant. Sometimes, this causes adverse outcomes for the mother or child. Therefore, if you are pregnant, be mindful about reducing your risk of getting sick. 

For this question it would be best if the individual call the patient advocate (940-235-9700) so we can step through their specific circumstances however here is general answer.

We are seeing patients in person and virtually. We have increased the level of screening to ensure patients who may have COVID related symptoms or other concerning symptoms remain at home and be treated by telephone. This reduces risking further spread, however we are seeing patients in person if there is not any other means to meet the medical needs of the patient. Keep in mind if it is a routine need that does not need immediate attention or can be done by telephone that is being encouraged as it reduces the risk to the patient of being exposed to a contagious disease.

As for staffing, we have a robust essential to mission staff that do come to the MDG every day of the week. In addition, we have two more layers of staff that work on a split shift schedule and another teleworking. We assure our Sheppard Team the Medics are ready to serve your needs.

Our present appointment process is as follows:

Appointment Process:

  • All patients wanting an appointment are either screened by the appointment line, 940-676-CARE(2273) or respective clinic nurse/tech.
    • During screening they are asked the COVID-19 related questions (fever, travel, cough) and if yes a T-Con is placed and they are triaged further with clinical guidance
  • Patients that pass the screening are given the option of a T-Cons with the Nurse or Virtuals with the provider.
    • During the virtuals, the nurse/provider triages the patient’s need and if deemed clinically necessary, they book an in-person appointment.
  • Patients that are safely deemed non-urgent are asked if they want to postpone their appointments until a later date.
  • Patients that are adamant about being seen are then put through the screening protocols and given an appointment.

We have stressed to our appointment agents, they should not deny patient care or access for any reason. They should merely ask the patient if they want to defer care and if they want to be seen, a clinical staff member should make the ultimately determination.  

Side note, here are other appointment options:

  • Secure Message to their PCMH Team
  • T-Con with a nurse in their Clinic via Appointment Line
  • Nurse Advise Line  1-800-TRICARE (874-2273)–refers to UCC/ED/MTF or books VIRTs with provider
  • Virtual appointment with their provider via TOL or Appointment Line
  • Clinic walk-in or booked FTR with provider if deemed necessary

If we have not met your needs highly encourage you to contact our patient advocate at 940-235-9700.

Contracting FAQs

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If you have concerns with where a contractor has traveled, please contact the Contracting Officer Representative or the Contracting Officer and let them know your concerns. The Contracting Officer will contact the company’s management and determine the necessary steps that can be taken to protect the health and safety or our Airmen.

Contractors are an essential part of our mission supporting both the 82nd TRW and the 80th FTW. The installation commander will decide which contracts he deems are mission essential and only those contractors that are mission essential will be authorized on the installation. Contracting Officers will notify the contractors who are mission essential and those that are not mission essential.

If the contract that a contractor works under is deemed mission essential by the installation commander, the contractor will be notified by the Contracting Officer and the employees will be able to come to work under the shelter-in-place order.

Depending on the type of contract, whether the company replaces the individual or not is generally the company’s decision to make. The government does not own the employee or direct personal actions. Certainly, the government and company might have discussions that realize the company’s performance is at risk, which may achieve the intended result.  Bottom line, the government generally should not direct a contractor to replace an employee who is out on extended medical leave. 

You can purchase supplies (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, etc) and services in support of COVID-19 up to the mirco-purchase threshold. Due to President Donald Trump declaring the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency, the micro-purchase threshold has been increased from $10,000 to $20,000.

Contact your Contracting Office and we will work with you to expedite your purchase.

As it states in Public Health Emergency Order 1, contractors are highly encouraged to abide by the same measures required for other base personnel. Our contract workers are vital to our missions here at Sheppard, so we want to protect them just as much as our military and federal civilian employees. Our contracting squadron has been working with all of our contractors to make sure the right measures are in place, and they really have been going the extra mile to be part of the team and support the base-wide effort. Now, what happens if some individual doesn’t want to follow protocols? Obviously we can’t enforce guidance when it comes to contract employees, but what we can do is deny them access to the base. Those are extreme situations and rare, but we’ll take that action if it’s warranted. Again, though, our contract partners have been incredibly supportive and helpful, and we couldn’t get the mission done without them.

Personnel FAQs

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Permanent Party members with orders for Permanent Change of Station (PCS) will not be able to PCS to next duty location until the stop movement is lifted unless they fall under one of the exempt categories listed in the most recent Stop Movement Guidance. Additionally some Permanent Party members maybe have their Report No Later Than Dates changes to a later date.

Only mission-essential travel will be allowed for military and civilians, and that will be determined by your chain of command. All other TDYs will be canceled. If you have a question about an upcoming TDY, ask your chain of command if it is essential.

If you are currently TDY, you are authorized to return to your home station.

For military, guidance is very clear. Even if we are on leave status, we are to keep our leave within the local area. Each base defines “local area” differently. The Sheppard AFB commander has defined it as within 60 miles of the installation.

Civilian leave can only be canceled based on mission necessity. However, there is no legal restriction that keeps our Air Force civilians or family members from traveling outside this 60-mile radius military members must adhere to. Civilians are highly encouraged to follow those guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to guidance, travel for medical appointments outside of the 60-mile radius is authorized for military personnel, which includes taking a family member to an appointment. This does not require a higher-level approval, but inform your chain of command if you have to travel outside the local area for this reason.

Other travel considerations will be made for reasons such as mission essential, humanitarian or hardship. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the first general officer or Senior Executive Service civilian in the chain of command.

Military members will not be charged leave unless there are extenuating circumstances. There will be a special duty status code for these instances.

As of now, civilians that are directed to self-monitor by the installation commander will be placed on weather and safety (admin) leave. If you start to develop symptoms while being directed to self-monitor, you will have to switch to either sick leave or use other time off categories (e.g., previously earned compensatory time off, credit hours, time off award, or leave without pay).

If you choose to self-monitor, the situation is different. You will need to take annual leave or other paid time off categories if you choose to self monitor. If you develop symptoms you may use sick leave. Contact your chain of command and/or the Civilian Personnel Office for more information.

Civilians may PCS if the DoD gate assessment is green for both losing and gaining base. Civilian Personnel Office is reviewing all hiring actions and working closing with AFPC. Please contact your HR Specialist for more information.

Those who are deemed mission essential will be provided a legal document. This legal document and your government ID will be presented to any authorities questioning why you are out during SIP. The local government, police and fire chief in the surrounding cities will understand that you will have to come to SAFB but you will have to have that documentation.

The per diem rate will not automatically change if you are TDY here. It is encouraged that you contact the SAFB DTS office or your home station’s DTS office.

Food, gas and medical are deemed essential. If there is any question outside of those three things that are essential, contact you chain of command.

For AiTs, those have already been re-assigned. They are in the process or have already received a CONUS assignment. For permanent party, we are still following the 60-day stop movement. There is no plan to re-assign those individuals that have current OCONUS assignments.

All sorts of contingencies and plans are being discussed at various levels. For example, if a stop movement needs to take place and when that occur. All those type of actions are in currently being discussed.

The stop movement order restricts permanent party members from PCSing out of SAFB. Not minimizing what our perm party does, just to keep the process moving forward for our training pipeline.

We continue to recruit and train since individuals are still allowed to retire and separate. Airmen are still needed to be brought in and trained in order to keep the population moving forward. Permanent Party members are not allowed to PCS at this time since they are not a part of the training apparatus.

There are stipulations in the rules that have been put in place for travel. If there is a hardship situation or personal situation that is causing you some stress or strain, you need to talk to someone, your supervisor, First Sergeant, or the chain of command. There is a waiver authority for everything. Some of those waiver authorities go all the way up to the Secretary of the Air Force. If it’s that important, we can get that approval. Also, many of those authorities have been delegated down to the first general officer in the chain and to the installation commander. Do not suffer in silence!

No, there are no changes or the need for change to WAPS testing. Testing for E5 cycle went pretty well, with only 6 more individuals that need to test. The status quo for WAPS testing will continue. Social distancing is and will be practiced in the WAPS center.

There have been a few changes with SRC starting March 28, 2020. The number of individuals that can enter the SRC will be limited. There will also be a limit on the number of individuals for each different area within the SRC, such as the game room or the music room. The FSS marketing team has provided the footprint that will assist with social distancing. Police each other and peers as you are utilizing the SRC and follow the signs and the directions. You will need to read the rules of engagement (ROE) before entering the facility. Please abide by these rules so that the SRC may be continued to be utilized.

Employees and the chain of command at the unit level need to work through these situations together, and strive make the best decisions for their people and missions based on a variety of factors, including medical conditions that may place a person at higher risk. And let’s be clear that were talking about employees who are not quarantined or isolated based on symptoms, potential exposure or testing – that’s a whole different conversation.

The guidance on this comes from Headquarters Air Force A1 – the personnel folks. It gives commanders discretion to approve Weather and Safety Leave on a case-by-case basis if employees if a situation prevents an employee from performing work at their normal work site. The preference here is to use telework when possible, but if not then Weather and Safety Leave is an option. In a COVID-19 environment that “situation” may include a person’s medical condition. The key phrase here is “on a case-by-case basis” – there is no blanket wing policy that says if you have condition X then you will be placed on Weather and Safety leave. These issues need to be worked by the commanders and leaders closest to the situation.

Now, employees also have a responsibility here. An employee can self-identify as “high risk.” If they do, they will initially be required to self-certify that they meet CDC requirements as high risk or special populations for COVID-19. Then they have 30 days to provide substantiating documents to support that self-certification, otherwise Weather and Safety Leave can be revoked, and chargeable leave assessed to the employee. Now commanders can extend that 30 days if necessary, again on a case-by-case basis.

So it’s a little complicated. Weather and Safety Leave is a tool, not a right. Ideally we’ll be able to get most folks on a telework agreement.

Training FAQs

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At this time, Sheppard AFB continues to train and produce highly qualified, mission-ready Airmen. We will continue to monitor the local situation and make changes as needed. That being said, Airmen will still be recruited, report to Basic Military Training, come to Sheppard or one of our detached locations for pipeline training, and then PCS to their first duty assignment, with a few exceptions.

Airmen in Training (AiTs) with orders to go overseas will proceed to their assignment. Please contact your Students Assignment Counselor for further guidance on your assignment.

Leave enroute is only authorized for Short Tour locations. The Recruiter Assistance Program has been suspended to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus.

If you are taking enroute to your next duty station and your leave has been interrupted or cancelled, you should continue to your first duty station. Keep your chain of command informed of your travel movement.

Our dining facilities are implementing enhanced sanitation procedures. Our contractor who provides food services is working that. Expect to see extra cleaning throughout the dining facilities as we work to minimize contact spread of Coronavirus. Self-service items such as salad bars and other areas will go away until further notice. Some self-service items will be replaced, but it will take a little time for our contractor to meet to accomplish that.

We also provide hand sanitizer at the entrances of dining facilities for Airmen and other guests to use while entering and leaving the facility. Use it. Don’t skip it. It’s one of best things you can do to reduce risk.

Right now, we are going to continue our flying training mission – it has been deemed mission essential by Air Education and Training Command leadership. We’re going to balance that mission with maintaining proper and expected hygiene and training combat pilots for NATO.

Right now, the answer from 19th Air Force is we will continue PCS actions to keep our pipeline moving.

For the next ENJJPT class, some of those students fall within the current travel ban, so they will not be coming to the United States. So, the next class will have a few fewer international students than expected. The following class in May will fall just outside the May 11 travel restriction, so 80th Flying Training Wing leadership will re-evaluate international students expected to attend that class and make a decision on their attendance at that time.

We have a number of ENJJPT personnel, both American and international, who are self-monitoring and conducting self-isolation based on travel or symptoms of potential infection. They have done this out of an abundance of caution and we have support networks in place to make sure they have what they need while they go through their 14 days of self-isolation. That is not a blanket decision; it is a case-by-case decision made by some presentation of illness consistent with COVID-19 – it is still flu and allergy season – or travel.

If you are on SAFB and in training, you will continue until you complete your training. After you have completed your training, you will then head back to your home base.

The only restrictions are for students coming from OCONUS. Students coming from other locations will continue with their training. Training is mission essential.  Students may be subjected to quarantine depending on what location they are coming from, per AETC policy.

Right now, those classes will continue. In some cases, we will be making a request to stop some of those classes since there are not enough students to justify hosting the class.  Currently, students for supplemental and skill-level training are still coming into SAFB, but that can change soon. One of the reasons why that could change is if their state is locking down, then we cannot receive those individuals.

BMT is taking extraordinary measures to ensure they have a clean population. When trainees first get there, they will be quarantined in the Recruit Housing & Training Complex. The RHT is in a remote location to indoctrinate these trainees.

The trainee who was found positive was quarantined in the RHT, therefore, they were not exposed to trainees who had already started BMT.

Rather than bussing Airmen from San Antonio, starting on 27 March 2020, Airmen will be flown from San Antonio, Texas, with extra protective measures. It is currently being discussed on flying them out from potential hot spots through contract or Air Force air.

No, AiT are mission essential to training. After they complete their training, they will PCS to their next assignment.

In order to accomplish the mission, you do these things to the best of your ability. However, it is difficult to avoid being 6-feet apart with others in the classroom setting. It is best to limit it as much as possible. This does not mean that once you leave the classroom that you continue that practice. Social distancing of 6 feet should still continue outside the classroom setting.

Follow-on training will still continue across the total force. Guard members should stay in contact with their units since a lot of guard members are being called up for duty other than training.

There is not a plan for a 60-day pause in training. The “60-days” rumor can be the misunderstanding of the 60-day stop movement, which pertains to Permanent Party members. 

If we get to a point where we can no longer gather in any group setting, training will be set up to a virtual-type set up. But we haven’t moved to that point yet. We have to remain flexible. If there are any changes, they will be publicized.

If you are part of the group with the restriction of movement on base, that order is still in effect. If you have a hardship situation, you can coordinate that with your chain of command.

AiT will have toilet paper available to them in their CQ areas (dormitories) and can contact their MTLs, if needed. There are currently new guidelines on the designated times for permanent party to access the commissary. Please avoid the need to hoard items such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper. The supply chain will continue to come and essential items will be supplied.

The Secretary of Defense has given us some clear priorities. First is protect our people, and second is to ensure the force can execute its mission to defend the nation. It has been made very clear by our chain of command that what we do at Sheppard – tech training and pilot training – is essential to that second priority to defend the nation. The whole world is laser focused on COVID-19. The DOD is too, but we also can’t afford to ignore the other global threats that have not gone away. As long as our senior civilian and military leaders direct us to continue training, we will continue training. We will continue to implement measures, guidance and mitigations to protect our people as we do so.

 

That’s a major topic of conversation for the senior leaders. Leadership has already talked about the Public Health Emergency Order, that’s a big part of this. We need to establish clear expectations of behavior and make sure every Airman understands the rules of engagement. Now, we are exploring some options for outdoor activities, but we need to do a reset first. The key factor will be leadership – leadership at all levels, but especially front line leadership. NCOs, MTLs, Instructors, flight chiefs, commanders. We are counting on our leaders.
 

The public health order we have put in place limits the size of marching units and also requires individuals in those units to be 6 feet apart. Our Airmen still need to get from place to place in an orderly fashion, and they still need to watch out for each other, so marching formations will continue but they absolutely must stay as small as possible and keep their physical distancing.

Airmen in Training at Sheppard AFB have been on a Restriction of Movement order by the 82nd Training Wing commander since March 20, 2020, as a protective measure to ensure the health and safety of personnel and families, and to conduct the vital role of training Airmen as part of the National Defense Strategy. As the largest technical training wing in the Air Force accounting for 44 percent of all technical training, the 82d Training Wing is essential to our national defense. While visitation is prohibited at this time, unit commanders are authorized to consider extenuating circumstances when AiT request visitation with their family member(s). The goal here is to limit exposure of COVID-19 on Sheppard AFB while also ensuring unit leaders manage the mitigation of risk that minimizes mission impacts.

Base Operations

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Visitors are not allowed to come onto the installation who do not have official business on SAFB. If a visitor does have official business and needs to come on base, coordinate with your Chain of Command. Your unit commander or equivalent has that approval authority.

Yes, there will be set times for certain groups to utilize those facilities. The information has been finalized and disseminated.  

This it the type of innovation and effort that we need. If you are interested in being a part of the solution, we have a team that is attacking the difficult problems. Contact your First Sergeant, Chief or Commander to get linked with the CAT so that we may utilize your unique talents.

We are monitoring all of that. Those types of cases, like a breakout of a cluster of confirmed cases, will certainly be a decision point for us to determine what portion of the mission can shut down, or which group should be put into quarantine. As it stands right now, if anyone gets tested or believe they might be COVID-19 positive, protective measures are being taken.

Even if you are deemed as a non-mission essential member, you are still authorized to accomplish essential tasks (grocery shopping, getting gas, etc). If you still have access to base, you are still authorized to come onto base for those essential functions.

This is to be determined. We are all being informed as you are being informed. As the virus has migrated across the globe, some areas that had their first case December 2019 are still lock down status. With this type of projection, these restrictions will most likely still be required for April and May, with a possibility of being lifted in June. Adhere to the guidelines in place, it will greatly help flatten the curve so that we do not out pace our medical capacity.

It will depend on the circumstances. At some point we may need to limit base access to those who are essential to the mission only. Or, we may need to limit access for certain categories of people. We have plans in place for a variety of circumstances and a team of people who are honing and reviewing those plans constantly. But there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer in this unprecedented situation.

The installation commander is ultimately responsible for making decisions for Sheppard AFB. Of course, we all have a boss, and we also follow higher headquarters directives. Right now we are at HPCON Charlie as directed by the Secretary of the Air Force. Some of the guidance we are following is local and developed in coordination with our subject matter experts and senior leaders from both wings. Other guidance comes from up the chain.

Our focus remains on the three priorities given to us by the Secretary of Defense – take care of our people, continue our essential missions, and support our community partners. So yes, considering what’s happening around us is certainly part of our math. However, the other two priorities come into play – just because the community is opening up a little, that doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the right move for our people or our mission. That’s especially true here with our very unique population and mission set.

The fact that our community is opening up a little does not mean our rule set changes. We are still at HPCON Charlie and the Public Health Emergency Orders are still in place, so our active duty permanent party are expected to limit movement to home, work and necessary travel such as food and medical care. Let’s be clear, buying food is a necessity, but sitting in a restaurant for a meal is not. And yes, you can be outside for fitness purposes as long as you can maintain your social distancing.

The 60-mile local area guidance will remain in place as long as we are in HPCON Charlie or the situation changes to the point where lifting it makes sense. There is no date established for that.

Services FAQs

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We do not have plans to close the CDC or Youth Center. We understand that local and area schools have chosen to extend their spring breaks, but we do not plan to close our services. The Youth Center will provide school-aged care for children whose schools have extended their breaks. We do have limited slots, so call the Youth Center at 940-676-4599.

The Sheppard AFB fitness centers have been closed as leadership continues to implement measures for combat the spread of COVID-19. Personnel still have opportunities for fitness as BeaverFit USA containers have been placed outside the fitness centers for use, and XCaliber containers have been placed at the main track and the 1/6-mile track. The containers have an assortment of fitness materials and activities that allow personnel to exercise and workout while maintaining proper social distancing guidelines. These containers, for example, have elastic bands with handles, ring bands, ab rollers, kettle bells, medicine balls, dumbbells, a bench, a set of bumper plates, an EZ curl bar and, of course, wipes to sanitize all the equipment after use.

All intramural sports and aerobic classes have been postponed/canceled.

As of March 23, Sheppard’s Equal Opportunity Office has suspended walk-in services until further notice. Consultations will be done by phone only. Complaints or concerns can still be worked through email at 82TRWEO@us.af.mil or call 940-676-4393 should you need any assistance.

No, however, there are changes every day. But for now there are no plans to close these services.

The guidance is still the same on the use of these facilities and there have been no changes.

The CDC and the Youth Center being professionally cleaned.

Yes, social distancing measures have already been put in place at the dining facility. If you are not seeing that, please inform your MTLs and chain of command.

Common Access Card renewal at the 82nd Force Support Squadron Customer Service office in Bldg. 400 will be limited to within 30 days of expiration. See the following guidance:

  • No CAC/Uniformed Services ID will be issued for sole purpose of changing info such as rank or last names due to marriage/divorce.
  • Initial age of USID Card issuance increased from 10-14.
  • Remote USID card renewals and reissuance shall be expanded.
  • Remote family member enrollment/eligibility updates authorized.
  • If USID affiliation is unchanged, USID cards which expired on or after 1 Jan 20, are authorized for continued benefit use through 30 Sept 20.

For more information, call 940-676-8349. You can also visit the Department of Defense Common Access Card website for more information.

Those are tough situations, and we realize a lot of folks are dealing with these kinds of challenges. There’s no way for us to speak to your specific situation, but the general guidance is for unit commanders to work through these kinds of circumstances with their people. We need to keep our training missions going, but it’s not the intent to do that at the expense of the health or safety of our families. If you want to use our Feedback Tool on the Sheppard website to give us your contact info we can look at your specific situation and see how we can help.

Our dining facilities are essential to our mission – Airmen need to eat, it’s a simple as that. We have implemented a number of mitigation efforts in those facilities, and that includes a grab-and-go option for Airmen. Delivery is just not logistically possible. Keep in mind that we’re feeding almost 5,000 Airmen three times a day – there is just no way to deliver that many meals to that many different places.

Yes, DFACs are closed to TDY students. The Meal and Incidental Expense Rate Policy letter was signed 22 April. You can get a copy of it from your TDY unit here at Sheppard or download it from our Coronavirus page at https://www.sheppard.af.mil/Coronavirus/ under "From the Commander."

Yes. The Sheppard Honor Guard provides the following support during the COVID-19 pandemic:

• Standard military honors for veterans and retirees will consist of a two-man flag folding team and taps.
• Active-duty military will receive full 20-man honors to include the Colors team, pall bearers, a firing party, flag folding and taps.
• The Sheppard Honor Guard team is not providing support for secondary services such as posting of colors, retirements, parades, changes of command, etc.

Visit the main Honor Guard page for contact information.