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COVID-19 Q&A Archive

The following is a list of archived questions submitted by base personnel and answered by base officials. The most up-to-date questions remains on the Hanscom COVID-19 page. Visit https://www.hanscom.af.mil/Coronavirus/ for further information, including facility status, latest local guidance, useful links and more.

 

Q. Is there a date or time frame for when the base playgrounds will be open again on base and in the housing area?

A. Our primary focus remains the health and safety of Team Hanscom’s residents and employees. We expect to open the base playgrounds approximately 10 days following when the state does, as long as our Public Health office determines it is safe to do so based on a number of criteria. 

Governor Baker is expected to open playgrounds during Phase 2, which could begin as soon as June 8 (he is expected to announce a Phase 2 start date by June 6) so hopefully the public health indicators will allow us to open our base playgrounds within a few weeks. At that time we’ll provide guidance on how to keep our children healthy and safe while playing. Please check the Hanscom Coronavirus page at www.hanscom.af.mil/coronavirus for information and updates. 

 

Q: Why are Sunday Church Services still closed?

A. To ensure the health and safety of the Hanscom community, the installation commander has decided to implement a trailing strategy to the timelines of off-base services such as worship services. Our installation chaplain is currently working with our Public Health office to review health and safety protocols to allow both Protestant and Catholic services to resume in the near future in a way that protects our faith communities and chaplain staff from COVID-19.  We are hoping to have a timeline developed by the end of May for resuming chapel services. As soon as plans are finalized, they will be disseminated.

 

Q: Has there been any discussion at the base level to better protect those who are still working at base services (Commissary, BX, etc.)?

A: Base leadership continues to coordinate with the base services leaders (DECA and AAFES) to ensure that we are doing the best we can to reduce the spread of the virus.

 

Q: I am reaching out today in regards to the people who are telework ineligible. Some work in a secure area are unable to telework full time. The risk of coming in with shifts or a few days a week will only potentially decrease the footprint in the secure area. Common surfaces still have to be touched every time someone comes in and out of the secure area. Not to mention the facility managers and Good Will janitors are not allowed into our actual work space which inhibits it to be cleaned properly. If I choose not to come in due to the health risk I now must take sick leave. While other base employees could easily work from home. I would like to know if there is a better plan for the individuals who work in the secure areas while prioritizing our health concerns.

A: Mission essential services required to meet national security commitments related to U.S. Military operations is on the Massachusetts exempt list.  See link and screen shot.  There is personal responsibility for folks to wipe down high contact surfaces within their workstations before using common terminals and before departing.  We can mitigate but not eliminate all risk. https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-essential-services/download

 

Q: For official mail and packages coming to Hanscom program offices, can we continue to use/rely on the shipping and receiving office? A contractor informed us it was closing, but I could not find any guidance or confirmation.

A: 66 LRS central Shipping and Receiving (Cargo Movement Section) is open daily on a limited basis from 9 a.m. to noon. With prior coordination, high priority outbound shipments will be accepted and processed, but on-time delivery is not guaranteed.  Inbound shipments will be stored at CMS until final delivery can be coordinated. Door-to-door deliveries will be conducted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the volume of the shipment and with prior coordination. 

  -- Official mail pickup and delivery must be coordinated with the Official Mail Center (OMC). 

  -- We understand our customers’ missions must continue and we will work to support your mission to the greatest extent possible. Please send outbound and inbound shipment requests to 66lrs.lgrddc.cargo@us.af.mil. During weekday duty hours, call the CMS duty cell at 781-760-1880. On weekends between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., contact the 66 ABG CAT at 781-225-1318. After hours, contact the Hanscom Command Post at 781-225-6960.

 

Q: Will the commander allow, temporarily, USAF civilians who live on the base and hold the appropriate identification to purchase groceries from the Commissary?

A: The installation commander has authorized Defense Department civilians who live in base housing and DoD civilians and DoD contractors who are mission essential and working on base to access the commissary and AAFES outlets. This does not authorize purchase of alcohol or tobacco. A signed memorandum is required for access during each visit. Mission essential DoD civilians and DoD contractors who are working on the base can request access through their supervisor and chain of command, which will be submitted through their unit control center (UCC). UCCs submitting requests or individuals in base housing without a local parent organization will email requests to the 66th Force Support Squadron UCC at 66FSS.-.UCC@us.af.mil courtesy copy Senior Master Sgt. Brian Tisdall at brian.tisdall@us.af.mil with the following information:

a.       Full Name (first name, middle initial, last name)

b.       Organization (e.g., 66 ABG/XP) or “base housing resident”

 

Q: I received information on a large local conference attended by many from Hanscom (New Horizons) that stated an attendee of the conference from out of state had tested positive for COVID 19.

A: One out-of-state attendee of the New Horizons March 9-11 conference tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).   Hanscom Public Health coordinated with Massachusetts Department of Public Health on the guidance sent out by AFCEA. All attendees should self-monitor for a 14 day period and if you develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, self-quarantine (sick at home) then contact your healthcare provider and advise that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Marriott hotel have been notified. Please visit the CDC website to stay up to date on the latest on the coronavirus - https://www.cdc.gov/.

What you should do: 

  • If you are able to telework then do so, we are encouraging telework to the maximum extent possible for all Hanscom AFB personnel. 
  • Self-Monitor:
    • Personnel should monitor themselves for symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Take temperature twice a day (morning and afternoon)
    • If symptoms develop, self-quarantine (sick at home) and contact healthcare provider for further guidance.  

Bottom Line: Mandatory quarantine at home for 14 days is not required for conference attendees.

 

Q: The Hanscom Dental Clinic continues to see patients. The American Board of Dentistry and the Massachusetts Dental Board have stated that dentists should only see emergency patients. The AF has guidance but it does seem concerning.

A: The base dental clinic is seeing dental patients for emergency situations and to get people downrange only. All routine dental care has been turned off for the clinic and the clinic is following Air Force guidance. 

 

Q: Let’s say the base goes to a quarantine level and we have a loved one that is an essential employee to their job? Would they be allowed off base to go to their job or stopped at the gate whether coming or going?

A: We cannot foresee what circumstances may occur in the future, but movement to essential jobs would certainly be a priority.

 

Q: If access to/from the installation becomes restricted, will family members living on base be allowed freedom of movement to receive off base medical care?

A: We cannot foresee what status we will have in two weeks. However, interstate travel is highly discouraged, especially from badly impacted states. I encourage you to consider the well-being of your family and community.

 

Q: Will families who are teleworking receive refunds or credits for unused childcare days during this crisis? And at what level of leadership can this decision be made?

A: Yes, families who are teleworking or have a spouse home and keep their children home from the Child Development Center will not be charged or will receive credit. Those families who children cannot go to the School Age program will also receive credit since it is closed.

 

Q: Can Visitors come on the base?

A: We would not restrict movement for anyone requiring medical care.

 

Q: We have a baby coming in the next few weeks. Will we be allowed to have out of state family come on base to help out with the newborn?

A: As of March 18, there are no restrictions on visitors coming on base who are properly sponsored and credentialed. Please practice proper social distancing and avoid bringing people to your home unnecessarily. That being said, visitors are highly discouraged. We understand this is a major inconvenience/disruption, but please be part of the solution that emphasizes social distancing. By everyone decreasing our social interactions we are protecting the most vulnerable in our population, the elderly, immunocompromised, or those with chronic medical issues.

 

Q: Will there be an issue with extended guests staying at Hanscom AFB?

A: 66 SFS is still capable of processing visitors for extended stay on Hanscom Air Force Base. HAFB has not restricted access to base for visitors requesting extended stay. That being said, guests are highly discouraged. We understand this is a major inconvenience/disruption, but please be part of the solution which emphasizes social distancing. By everyone decreasing their social interactions we are protecting the most vulnerable in our population, elderly, immunocompromised or those with chronic medical issues.

 

Q: I was looking for advice on progressing on my separation requirements and paperwork given the current state of things. Any points of contact or direction would be greatly appreciated.

A: Per Air Force Personnel Center guidance and by direction of the Secretary of the Air Force, approved retirements and separations are exempt from the stop-movement. For Hanscom Air Force Base out-processing for approved retirements and separations, members will still follow their retirements and separations out-processing checklist on the Virtual MPF, with the below modifications:

Most medical/dental out processing can be done virtually and the contacts by section are listed on the service member’s virtual checklist. Please use the assigned contact as your initial POC. For any further issues, the central point of contact for assistance is:

Primary: Tech. Sgt. Hyun Cho at 781-225-6255 or by email at hyun.d.cho.mil@mail.mil

Alternate: Tech. Sgt. Cherie Gregory at 781-225-9152 or by email at cherie.l.gregory.mil@mail.mil

Military Personnel Flight: Email/call for appointment (No Walk-ins) to 66FSS.FSPD.MILCAREERDEV@us.af.mil or call 781-225-1330.

Judge Advocate: Email/call for appointment (No Walk-ins) to matthew.bosworth@us.af.milyaneris.dolce@us.af.milsarah.felton.4@us.af.mil or call 781-225-1410 or 781-225-0134.

Medical and Dental: Email/call for appointment (No Walk-ins) to donnoven.rios@us.af.mil or call 781-225-6324.

JPPSO: Email/call for appointment (No Walk-ins) to sidney.boardman.2@us.af.mil or joanne.doucette.1@us.af.mil or call 781-225-6399 or 781-225-3700.

Finance: Email 66.CPTS.Workflow@us.af.mil

 

Q: What does Condition Charlie mean for guests coming and going on/off Hanscom AFB?

A: At this time, there are no restrictions on base access.

 

Q: There seems to be an uneven application of telework across the base. Many are being told to come in for 20 hours even though their program is not mission critical. Many people are being put in harm’s way. Why is there such a disparity?

A: Each organizational leader must determine the best balance of telework implementation to ensure critical missions are completed. I encourage you to discuss your concern with your supervisor to determine the reasoning for the decisions in your work area.

 

Q: What is the base guidance on employees who are over 55 years old and have major health issues and are not able to telework?

A: There are provisions for high-risk employees who cannot telework, but we would need to look at the specifics of each situation.  Please contact Kathy Owens at 781-225-1374 or a member of the Employee Relations Management staff and they will assist you.

 

Q: How will building air ducts, old wall-to-wall carpeting plus other large building components we cannot clean ourselves – how will these be cleaned/addressed?

A: The virus is droplet precaution, not airborne. If deep cleaning is required for a positive case of COVID-19 in the workplace, our contract will ensure the cleaners utilize CDC recommendations to clean impacted work areas.

 

Q: With regard to fresh air flow, some areas have none, which has resulted in lots of sicknesses in clustered areas, even prior to this recent event. How can that be changed?

A: This is something that we will have to look at in the long-term. Please raise your concerns to your facility manager and he or she can work with CE to identify potential solutions.

 

Q: What about adding sinks for personal items, such as dishes, etc., rather than have to use bathroom sinks (in some areas) that have none, to wash items that would not normally be washed in a bathroom sink?

A: This is also something that we will have to look at in the long-term. Please raise your concerns to your facility manager and he or she can work with CE to identify potential solutions.

 

Q: The website as of 1130 today still states “Youth Programs: School Age and Youth Center closed until 27 Mar 20. Scheduled to re-open 30 Mar 20. (Child Development Center open as usual.)” This does not appear to align with the email guidance sent. The Installation Commander has instructed those families who are teleworking to keep their children at home. For further information to contact the CDC front desk at 781-225-6128.

A: In order to maintain a child care capability for those employees who cannot telework, I directed that we keep the Child Development Center open. Families that are teleworking must keep their children at home. If anyone is sick/quarantined in the child’s household, the child should remain home as well. This is a precautionary measure that could help prevent spread of the virus and potentially enable us to keep the Center open a longer time.  The website has been updated to show this status.

This is obviously a fluid situation, and sometimes changes to facility operational status may slightly precede web updates, but we’ll do our best to keep the site as up-to-date as possible and recommend you keep checking if for the most recent information.

 

Q: Will families who are teleworking receive refunds or credits for unused childcare days during this crisis? And at what level of leadership can this decision be made?

A: Yes, families who are teleworking or have a spouse home and keep their children home from the Child Development Center will not be charged or will receive credit. Those families who children cannot go to the School Age program will also receive credit since it is closed.

 

Q: Is there any direction for the CDC on base? They are not able to provide anything, however Navy CDCs, specifically Newport, RI, has been able to. Will parents still be charged if they telework and don't attend the CDC?

A: As of March 18, the Child Development Center remains open for currently enrolled families. Of those families enrolled, any parents/guardians (one or both) who are teleworking, a student, or on leave status are directed to keep children home until further notice. Enrolled families will not lose their spots or be charged for the week(s) their child is out. Any families who have already paid, but their children will not be in attendance will have their account credited. We cannot predict if the Child Development Center will close at this time for any reason, however we ask parents to have a plan in place in case the center needs to close temporarily. Child Development Center staff will continue to update families of any changes via email or the Child Development Center Facebook Page. Updates and Information can also be found at www.HanscomFSS.com.

Please refer to https://www.hanscom.af.mil/Coronavirus/ or the AF Connect App to get the latest information on the status of base services and facilities in the Coronavirus section.

 

Q: I’m the facility manage for Bldg xxxx and with regards to your email, I am already receiving emails from occupants asking where the cleaning supplies you recommend they use to wipe their workstation areas and group common areas down with are coming from. I do not have funding or IMPAC Card authority so I am not able to supply these things. I do not know if IMPAC cards used by the program offices are allowed to purchase cleaning supplies.

Do you have any direction regarding this? I am also receiving questions regarding the hand sanitizer stations in the facility that were placed here during the H1N1 outbreak several years ago with regards to how to obtain refills – I am told that since refills are listed a medical supplies IMPAC Cards in the program offices are not able to obtain refills – do you have any direction regarding this?

A: Guidance was sent to all units through FM channels on March 4 and 6 that provided guidance and authority to purchase cleaning supplies. Recommend you speak with your GPC Card holder to identify the proper action appropriate for your organization. Additional guidance we sent to GPC holders on March 17.

 

Q: Is the gym going to close?

A: Please refer to the Hanscom web page at https://www.hanscom.af.mil/Coronavirus/ or the AF Connect App to get the latest information on the status of base services and facilities.

 

Q: Are civilians from other agencies allowed to use the gym?

A: Active duty and DoD civilians are the only members who have access to the gym.

 

Q: There seems to be a lack of leadership or decision making. When will the Commander take action and follow the State's requirements?

A: The commander has taken many actions and is continuing to take actions to keep the base community safe and maintain necessary mission capability. When Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued a state of emergency last week, the state listed three main elements: encouraging telework, restricting unnecessary travel, and reduce large gatherings. The Hanscom commander immediately issued very similar guidance on all three, even prior to DOD or Air Force issuing department- or service-wide guidance on those topics.

 

Q: Is the Commander's lack of decision due to concern that he might make a wrong call?

A: The commander has made the necessary decisions to keep the base community safe and maintain necessary mission capability.

 

Q: Does the Commander feel that he's covered by taking no action?

A: The commander has made the necessary decisions to keep the base community safe and maintain necessary mission capability.

 

Q: Or is he receiving no guidance?

A: The commander and staff have received a steady stream of guidance as this rapidly evolving situation unfolded. The commander will continue to monitor guidance at all levels and make the decisions necessary to keep the community safe.