Fort Leonard Wood leadership held a virtual town hall Wednesday — live streamed via the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page — to address community concerns and provide updates on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation efforts.
FORT LEONARD WOOD – Fort Leonard Wood leadership held a virtual town hall Wednesday — live streamed via the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page — to address community concerns and provide updates on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation efforts.
Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, focused her remarks on updates to the three key areas: impacts to travel, impacts to daily operations on the post and impacts to individuals’ interactions with their environment and to each other.
Martin praised the efforts being made here.
“We have continued our mission of training Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen, and we have no positive cases of COVID-19 on Fort Leonard Wood,” she said. “Your dedication, personal measures, social distancing, limitation of gatherings and care for others postured us really well thus far. I applaud your commitment to protect each other and our community.”
However, Martin stressed that “we can’t take our eye off the ball. We have to stay focused and disciplined with preventive measures as the spread of this virus continues across our nation and around the world.”
Martin said that keeping the Fort Leonard Wood community informed is a top priority, and in that regard she highlighted some of the most recent travel policy updates — to include:
— A stop movement on both official and personal military travel, which applies to all military, families and Army civilians on government-funded travel, including temporary duty assignments and permanent changes of station. Martin said that each instance of inbound and outbound PCS will be looked at individually, and that those currently on TDY can complete their mission with return travel authorized. National Guard and Reserve service-member trainees are authorized to return to their home stations upon completion of training.
— Military leave, with the exception of emergency leave, is included in the stop movement.
— At this time, shipping new recruits to basic training will continue.
— MSCoE is working with the Army to continue to ensure the nation’s readiness and this means working through transportation procedures for Soldiers going to Advanced Individual Training or to their first units. Updates will be provided once more specific information is received.
— Military members are restricted to travel in the local area, which is defined as within 120 miles of the installation. Large-gathering locations, such as indoor malls, are off limits.
— Military members are not authorized to remain off the installation or away from their quarters or homes overnight without proper approval.
— DoD Civilians and family members are not restricted to the local area, but anyone traveling farther than 120 miles from the installation, who needs post access will be physically screened at Harper Inprocessing Health Screening Clinic prior to on-post activities.
“This is not business as usual,” Martin said. “This is not a normal situation. We must stop the spread through actions such as these which restrict movement.”
Martin also commented on the changes being made to daily operations on the post “to create the social distancing that will lessen the likelihood of the virus spreading.”
This includes implementation of telework as well as the unscheduled leave policy remaining in effect. Gate guards will ask questions of drivers regarding recent travel. Gyms on post remain open but activities are limited to individual fitness and cardio.
“Each of these measures protect everyone,” Martin said.
Regarding interactions between individuals, Martin said that leadership at all levels must continue to stress prevention to keep the community safe.
“Take the extra 20 seconds to wash your hands with soap and warm water,” Martin said. “Cover nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, wipe down high-use surfaces and don’t touch your face.”
Martin stressed that anyone who’s been exposed to someone with COVID-19 — or if flu-like symptoms are present — to not go to the hospital. Contact the Harper Inprocessing Health Screening Clinic at 573.596.3663.
Lastly, Martin said to stay focused on being a team of teams.
“I am so proud of this team and ask that you continue to be good neighbors,” she said. “Buy only what you need at the Commissary and (post exchange) so there’s plenty to go around. Assist your neighbors and friends if they are sick so they don’t feel the need to leave the house. Stay tuned for instructions as the situation changes, and please use the chain of command and official information sources for accurate information. These are the things that make us a great community.”