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Basic Training Posts Update Safety Measures

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U.S. Army
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A recent two-week pause on shipping new recruits to basic training gave the Army’s training centers time to put the “most current procedures and capabilities” in place to screen and test new arrivals for COVID-19, a top general said.

“We owe that kind of due diligence and commitment to the soldiers and the parents who send those same soldiers to us each year,” Gen. Paul Funk, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, said during a media roundtable April 21.

During the pause, which ended April 20, training centers were able to verify that they had “the appropriate procedures, processes, materials and personnel” in place to enhance medical capabilities and create a “safety bubble,” he said.

Training will continue, he said, as senior leaders try to balance readiness and the safety of soldiers amid the ongoing crisis.

As of April 20, basic combat training and one-station unit training will temporarily continue at a reduced capacity, while recruits from low-risk areas go to training bases and recruits from high-risk areas are rescheduled.

The new recruits will be screened for the virus two weeks before they ship out and when they arrive at the military entrance processing station, Funk said.

Soldiers will then undergo a two-week period of “controlled monitoring” in platoon-sized elements and get tested for the virus as they “get ready to leave,” Funk said, before jumping into the remaining eight weeks of basic training.

The measures are part of an overall effort to stop the spread of the virus as the Army “adapts to the current environment” and adjusts the way it operates, Funk said.

“Bottom line, we’re not changing,” Funk said. “We’re adjusting, and we’re continually adapting in the environment.”