Navy reservists could resume on-site drill weekends as early as July 11 at Navy Operational Support Centers around the country.
The force is adopting a “methodical approach” to the resumption of on-site drills to ensure safety of sailors and mitigate the risk of contracting the coronavirus, according to a June 11 press release.
“The process is dependent upon local conditions, guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, guidance from Commander, Navy Installations Command and approval from the [Commander, Navy Reserve Force] chain of command,” the press release said.
The resumption of on-site drills will be dependent on local conditions. According to Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. William Tisdale, local commanders will consider base guidance and policies as well as state and local social distancing policies when determining if an area is ready to return to onsite drill. The right conditions, Tisdale said in an e-mail, can include:
- Removal of shelter-in-place orders or other local/state travel restrictions
- A 14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms
- A 14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases or positive tests
- Sufficient COVID-19 testing, contract tracing, isolation, and treatment programs at medical treatment facilities or local hospitals
“All Reserve commands are required to adhere to local Force Health Protection requirements and will be emphasizing the personal responsibility of all-hands for wearing face coverings, properly social distancing, self-monitoring, reduced attendance and reporting,” Tisdale said. “Daily screenings, health updates and deep cleaning are also key parts mitigating the risk of COVID-19.”
If local conditions are not right for a return to on-site work, according to the press release, sailors will have telework options to enable them to earn drill points and pay.
“We know that while some Reservists might be able to get back to regular drills, some may not have that opportunity,” said CNRFC Chief of Staff, Errin Armstrong in the press release. “Therefore, we want to be as flexible as possible.”
Tisdale said it is still too early to estimate the number of Reserve sailors reporting for on-site drill in July. He also did not know of any units that would definitely be returning to work July 11.
“The intent of the guidance is to provide a framework for Navy Operational Support Centers to resume on-site drills when environmental conditions and applicable policy allow,” he said.
According to the press release, Reservists with health concerns should speak with their chains of command as soon as possible.
“There will be a normal tension between resuming drills, but also protecting our Reservists from unnecessary risk to the enduring pandemic,” said CNRFC Commander, Rear Adm. John Schommer in the press release. “Our NOSC [commanders] are expected to take a measured risk-informed approach, and our Reservists are expected to follow public health measures to facilitate the balance of risk to mission and risk to force.”Read comments