As officials throughout Miami County work to maintain order and allow essential business to be conducted as best as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak, similar efforts are being undertaken at Grissom Air Reserve Base.
“As the largest employer in Miami County I know people often look to see what we are doing,” Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander said in one of several news releases and stories on the base’s website earlier this month. “These are unprecedented times and as things evolve I continue to communicate with our Grissom family to help keep them as safe as possible.”
In response to the health crisis, base officials have canceled the April training assembly “to help maintain social distancing protocols, closed the base gym and Boomer’s Cafe, like other local restaurants has transitioned to serving only take out meals.
“While precautions are being taken, the U.S. Military still has a requirement to protect and defend this nation, and we are working through the obstacles COVID-19 has thrown at us to maintain mission readiness,” Shaw said.
Those thoughts echoed some of what U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee said in a statement posted to the base’s website just a few days earlier.
In it, Scobee said that his “number one priority is to take care of Airmen and their families while allowing commanders to command.”
“We should attempt to preserve mission readiness, but not at the expense or risk to our Reserve Citizen Airmen and their families’ health,” he wrote.
The next day, in a separate notice, Shaw opened the possibility for some to work from home.
“For our full-time force, we’ve been fielding many questions about telework opportunities,” he wrote. “Again, we’re being as liberal as we can on those policies, but there are requirements involved that must legally be followed.”
That meant that units had to identify which civilian positions were eligible for such opportunities and then determine which employees wanted to work from home. TO be able to do so, they had to sign a Department of Defense “telework agreement” and have completed required training.
The most recent release said Grissom officials continue to meet with Department of Defense officials to discuss issues and plans.
“We tell our folks the bottom line is that if you’re sick, stay home,” Shaw said in the release. “We are currently offering very flexible time off through personal vacation, sick time and even advanced leave if needed.”