Any update for CDC hours of operation returning to normal? 7-4 does not work with 90% of schedules for military members and it is hard to have to leave work early every day when I’m the only enlisted in my section and doesn’t allow me to work on my personal fitness in order to maintain mission readiness!
The CDC has increased hours of operation to 0600-1730. Staff has nearly returned to pre-COVID levels and is no longer a leading limitation driving a capped capacity. Rather, physical distancing needs have driven the CDC to remain below 50% capacity to protect the staff and children.
Are they planning talks for the upcoming school year? If school is not full time next year, it could be hard for a lot of the airmen for childcare issues. What effect is COVID-19 having on local school districts?
• The recent uptick in positive cases has resulted in the closure or transition to online distance learning at numerous local schools.
• I have directed squadron commanders the flexibility to make accomodations to personnel work schedules and operations in an effort to support families dealing with the stress of these changes.
• School districts transitioning to online distance learning as of November 9, 2020
o Litchfield Elementary School District
o Agua Fria High School District
o Younker High School in Buckeye Union High School District
• School Districts that are remaining open as of November 13, 2020
o Avondale Elementary School District
o Dysart Unified School District
o Buckeye Union High School District – except Youngker High School
o Buckeye Elementary School District
o Glendale Elementary School District
o Heritage Charter Elementary
o Liberty Elementary School District
o Peoria Unified School District
o Saddle Mountain School District
o Tolleson Elementary School District
What is the thought process where the majority of people on base work on the flight line side of the base and we are having to enter and exit the base using the housing gate?
Both the Kachina Gate (housing gate) and the South Gate are open for normal operating hours. Personnel that work on the flight line are able to enter the base using the South Gate, which is closer to the flight line.
When will travel restrictions be lifted for active duty? What is the current policy regarding leave/TDY/PCS?
Leave is at the discretion of your unit commander. Leave policy is currently independent from DoD “gating” of our installation and state.
For the latest guidance, refer to the Luke AFB COVID-19 page at https://www.luke.af.mil/COVID-19/.
Our base has never looked much worst then now. The fact with so much closed down or limited, I was hoping that would leave a few extra hands that could trim or pull weeds. I know it is hot here I am from here.
Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention. We’re extremely proud of Fighter Country Airmen and how they have fought through COVID-19 to deliver trained fighter pilots and combat ready Airmen to meet our nation’s objectives. While not on duty, they are attending to the resiliency of their families and peers. We assure you, their hands have not been idle, and our grounds maintenance contractors and facility managers have exceeded the objectives we set for them; even after a wet Fall and a particularly active Spring weed season. There are areas on the installation that we keep natural (e.g., acreage east of the Family Campground and north of the vehicle resale lot), and that will continue. If there is an area of particular concern, let us know.
Why are patient wait times at the drive-thru satellite pharmacy so long?
• With the combination of 56th MDG transitioning to a new pharmacy system and the seasonal influx of beneficiaries using the satellite pharmacy, wait times have increased. We ask that beneficiaries please be patience as our team works through these obstacles to continue providing the best service possible.
• 56th MDG has received this feedback and is currently assessing the processes at the satellite pharmacy as well as troubleshooting issues with a new medication distribution system.
Why did Kachina Gate close?
a. As of 8 November, the 56 FW shifted base access from the Kachina Gate to the Lightning Gate.
b. Changing gates helps with traffic safety. The main reason for the shift was to support the local community and direct traffic away from the construction on Glendale Avenue.
c. With Lightning Gate having a much longer entrance than Kachina, more cars can exit the roadway, reducing danger to Airmen and their families.
d. The Lightning Gate hours of operation are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Kachina Gate closed beginning Nov. 8 until further notice. While South Gate operations will not change
e. A second visitor center will open at the Lightning Gate to become our Visitor Control Center, or VCC; a visitor reception center for personnel requesting passes for basic access. This will allow for a more fluid entry to the installation and redirect civilian traffic out of the South Gate visitor center allowing the South Gate VCC to be used solely for operational purposes.
Why can’t we open all the gates for entry and exit?
- Manpower continues to be a constraint (doubled deployment requirements for SFS)
- Construction on Glendale
o Relocating traffic patterns to Lightning Gate to support the local municipality in road construction
o Opening lightning gate allows ease of access to the housing side of base while limiting congestion at South Gate.
- Safety on Litchfield Road by South Gate
o Through opening an additional Visitor Center, SF is seeking minimize congestion at South Gate and increase the safety for personnel seeking escorted access to Luke AFB (contractors/deliveries/etc.)
o With Lightning and South Gate open, SF is seeking to continually support the public by providing credible defense force security for the installation while providing convenience to those seeking access.
What is current status of cases both on base and in the local community?
• In Maricopa County, we’re seeing approximately five times as many cases per week as we were seeing at the beginning of September, with the majority of that growth occurring in the last 3 weeks. It is paramount that we continue to be diligent with physical distancing, mask wear, and hand hygiene if we’re going to get it back under control.
• Testing has increased and so the number of positives. The key takeaway in this particular instance is that the percent of tests is increasing. The latest reporting week saw a 2% increase from 7% the previous week to 9%.
• 56 FW has been successful at limiting COVID-19 cases on base because of commander involvement in many units. Our continued success is heavily reliant on the testing procedures of the 56 MDG, contact tracing and quarters assignment activities by Public Health, and unit leadership enforcement of DoD policy requiring mask wear in all DoD facilities when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.
• Areas of concern are break/lunch rooms, after hours activities, and briefings in confined spaces. These are the most frequent causes for members to meet criteria as a close-contact and be placed on 14-day quarters. If patient zero’s results are positive, all meeting close-contact criteria will be placed on 14-day quarters. Testing out of quarantine is not allowed by DoD policy. Thanks to the base population for their willingness to follow the policies that are in place which have minimized the cases over the past month!
What is our current Health Protection Condition (HPCON) and why?
• As of early September, we are in HPCON Bravo. This is a reflection of the progress being made in our community to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the spread of COVID-19. We are monitoring the situation and coordinating with other bases and local partners, and will advise on any HPCON status changes as soon as those decisions happen. We appreciate the discipline and patience you all have put forth to prevent a continued rise in positive cases.
What is the 56 FW’s goal during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
• The 56 FW’s primary mission is to “train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat ready airmen.” As such, we have a responsibility to do everything possible to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 while still accomplishing our important mission.
Is it safe for the 56 FW to continue flying during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
• Yes! Physical distancing measures and frequent cleaning of common work areas/equipment along with the use of face masks have shown to be effective reducing the risk of infection in the work place. Similar preventive measures are being used throughout the Air Force to preserve our combat capabilities to include our large Air Logistics Centers where thousands of DoD civilian and military members perform depot level maintenance of our aircrafts and jet engines.
Luke AFB Official Website
Luke AFB COVID-19 Information
Luke AFB Facebook
Luke AFB Medical Group Facebook
AETC Official Website
Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder
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