In an effort to address growing concerns associated with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, Team Ramstein is taking measures to safeguard our workforce and their families as well as preserving combat capability as joint warfighters.
Team Ramstein leadership hosted a virtual town hall March 16 to provide updates on COVID-19 within the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Leaders and subject matter experts from Public Health, base schools, the Base Exchange and commissary addressed challenges associated with combating the pandemic and how to correctly practice social distancing.
This article contains select questions and answers from the virtual town hall. For a full list of FAQs, including ones that were not addressed live, visit the COVID-19 page at https://www.ramstein.af.mil/COVID-19/
For those on leave outside of Germany, can you discuss how/when we will get those people back? Will waivers be approved?
There are multiple forces at play We have U.S. policy, Secretary of Defense and Air Force policy, as well as international and host nation policy. The Secretary of Defense issued a Stop Movement, setting a fairly high bar to allow people to move around.
Waivers have been approved based on hardship, humanitarian or mission essential needs. Please reach out to your First Sergeants and Squadron Command Teams to understand the process and let them know if you have a unique circumstance.
We’re also working through the latest financial guidance to alleviate fears of, “I’m in an expensive place and I can’t do this for two months, nor do I have two months of leave saved up to be able to do this.” There are mechanisms in place to mitigate undue hardship. Guidance will continue to flow as it becomes available to give flexibilities to commanders and supervisors for both military and civilian Airmen.
Is there a telework plan for Airmen who work in office settings?
Absolutely. Squadron commanders have been given the tools they need, and we are encouraging those with the ability to telework to do so.
Who should be wearing masks?
The only people who need to wear masks are people who are sick. The exception are healthcare providers who are wearing a specific type of mask as they work with patients.
What is the restock schedule for the commissary?
Our schedule remains the same as it has always been. Once the stores close, our vendor stockers and commissary employees come on to restock the stores. There is no need to “panic shop” as the supply chain is stable.
Will special education students get services such as speech and OT?
Yes. We understand that the distance learning can be more difficult for some students with specialized needs. Parents are encouraged to speak with their teachers and case managers regarding specific concerns. At this time we ask for your patience as we work through how to best accommodate these students.
Should those of us due to PCS in May continue to out-process as normal?
Yes. With most of our out-processing done through email or phone calls Airmen are encouraged to continue as planned. Complete as much as you can and continue to plan.
Are chapels going to support religious extracurricular activities?
Extracurricular activities have been canceled and religious services will be broadcast virtually on their Facebook pages to abide by the social distancing protocols.
How are the aircrews being protected?
We are going out of our way to make sure they stay in different locations. We are protecting them as much as possible. We are following FAA and DoD guidance to keep them separate and as safe as possible. They are currently exempt from the 14-day quarantine except for when they present symptoms, in which case they will go through extra screening.
This is a tough time for folks in the mobility business. Logistics will stay alive and our aircrew will keep the mission flying while we do our best to keep them protected.
When will Army and Air Force guidance align?
The garrison looks at a different area than we do. The four installations we have within the 86th Airlift Wing and KMC is different than what the Army does within their garrison. If you work here at Ramstein, look at our website, Facebook page and App to see what is affecting us here.
Can you speak on what is happening with deployments?
EUCOM is still looking at our commitment to deployments. Right now deployments are still coming from CONUS through Ramstein. As the gateway to the world, our professional airlift mission will continue. This is part of the balance we consider every single time we look at balancing the community health versus the mission set we have.
Does the base have access to test kits?
At this time, Ramstein clinic does not have test kits, testing itself goes to LRMC.
What happens to the next Operation Varsity?
Right now, this is a varsity-level event with everything we are doing. We also have to remember we have Mission Partners. One thing we must consider is the Air Mobility Operations Wing has a major-graded exercise at the same time. So we have to work at re-scoping or changing Operation Varsity with our Air Mobility Command Partners. More to follow on that front, but I think the IG is watching everything we are doing right now and I would have to say we rate as Highly Effective for the entire team.
Some information may change as the situation develops, please continue to check the site for the most up-to-date information. Visit the Ramstein homepage (www.ramstein.af.mil) and go to the COVID-19 tab at the upper right side of the page.