Grissom prepares for fitness assessment changes

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW

Air Force leadership recently released updated guidelines to COVID-19 related fitness test postponements.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, assessments were originally postponed until June 1st. That date has now been pushed to September 30th, with testing scheduled to resume October 1st.

Installation commanders may delay that start date based on the recommendations of local health officials.
Once testing resumes, Airmen can expect key changes.

The abdominal circumference component of the test will be postponed until October 1, 2021. Airmen will be given a temporary one-year exemption.

To minimize risk to Airmen and maximize physical distancing, the height and weight assessments are suspended until further notice.
Additionally, toe bars will be used in place of feet holding during sit-up testing.

Members at Grissom’s fitness center and 434th Force Support Squadron are continuing to monitor guidance from the top, as well as make adjustments in preparing for testing to safely resume.

“We’ll do our best to make sure people are safe as they come in to test. We’re brainstorming what needs to take place,” said Dustin Fulkerson, 434th Force Support Squadron physiologist. “There might be some secondary guidance that may come out but what we do know is that we will move forward, and when we will move forward.”

What does the future testing timeline look like?

Airmen who have a current passing score on their most recent fitness test and who were scheduled to test from March through May 2020, will test in the corresponding month in 2021.

Airmen who are current on their fitness test and whose currency period expires prior to September 30 will test according to the new schedule.
Airmen whose currency period expires on or after October 1, will test on schedule.

Airmen who had a failing score or were overdue when the initial COVID-19 realted pause began will be granted a 42-day reconditioning period. That period starts October 1st.  Airmen are expected to test as soon as possible following that expiration.

For Grissom members in that category, that 42-day period expires after the November primary UTA and will likely push them into a not-current status.

Chief Master Sgt. Wes Marion, 434th Air Refueling Wing command chief, said Airmen need to be proactive about remaining current in all areas.

“You’ve been given quite a bit of extra time to prepare yourself,” said Marion to those who fall in that category. “Regardless of when the 42-days expires, this time is only valuable if you use it. Take this time and get ready.”

Marion said all Airmen can use this time to practice components of the exam and take steps to get ready and keep up on fitness during this time, even with some gyms still closed.

“Do pushups and sit-ups in your home, watch fitness videos, or run in a safe area,” he said. “Use this time to stay ready.”

Wing leadership is reviewing all options to make sure that testing can resume safely and efficiently.

The postponement in testing means the staff at the Grissom fitness center will see a large increase in the testing average.
One possibility to help the pending influx would be for units to using the existing option for group commanders to conduct internal fitness tests.

“They are not mandated to do so, nor can they be compelled to do it,” said Fulkerson. “They have the liberty to do it and if they do that, they might find that shoe fits pretty well at this time.”

More information on the COVID-19 fitness assessment timeline can be found on myPers.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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