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September UTA update: COVID’s not over

The 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, will have a Unit Training Assembly Sept. 12-13, 2020. The UTA is mandatory for mission essential Airmen and optional for others based on commanders’ discretion. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, will have a Unit Training Assembly Sept. 12-13, 2020. The UTA is mandatory for mission essential Airmen and optional for others based on commanders’ discretion. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The 403rd Wing will have a Unit Training Assembly Sept. 12-13, which will be mandatory for mission essential Airmen and optional for others based on commanders’ discretion.

Airmen should coordinate with their unit supervisors and commanders to inquire about telework options or to reschedule or excuse the UTA, and wing members who live in the local area may come in to work the UTA, pending supervisor or commander approval.

“COVID is not over, so while operations are not back to normal, our focus continues to remain on protecting the American people, our Airmen, and their families while maintaining mission readiness,” said Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing commander. “We are bringing in those Airmen who are critical to the mission and need to get medical appointments and other readiness requirements accomplished.”

Members who are coming in for the UTA from out-of-town will be placed in lodging off-base and will be able to access and exit the base through the White Avenue and Pass Road gates. 

The commander reminds Airmen who attend the UTA that they must comply with base security and health protection requirements. Keesler is currently in Health Protection Condition Bravo. Per Department of Defense guidance, face coverings are required when individuals cannot maintain six feet of physical distance in public areas or work centers. The group size for mission and service-essential activities is no more than 25 people.

“Anyone without a mask is encouraged to contact their supervisor and will be provided one,” he said.

Wing buildings may utilize more than one entrance provided that there is hand sanitizer available and units will still perform COVID screenings during UTA sign-in.

During the UTA, the Azalea Dining facility will be open for take-out only with brunch from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., lunch options starting at 10:30 a.m., and dinner hours from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.   

For any Airman wishing to use Blake Fitness Center, admittance is by appointment only and the hours are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The Dragon and Triangle fitness centers are off-limits.

Members may dine in at restaurants and use off-base gyms; however, Airmen should avoid bars and night clubs. Also, for members who are on orders, travel assessments are required for Airmen who plan to travel outside of Mississippi.

Additionally, unit members are encouraged to practice strict hygiene, such as no hand-shaking and proper hand washing, social distancing and taking appropriate actions if sick.

“Wing members with symptoms should not come in and must report any contact, exposure, or positive test for COVID-19,” said the wing commander. “Air Force Reserve members must remember that they are required to notify their commander if they or a family member is diagnosed with COVID.”

If a wing member starts to feel ill during the UTA, they should not go to the 403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, but either go to the Keesler Medical Center or a physician of their choice such as an Urgent Care, he added.

Reservists may also use the Keesler Medical Center drive-up COVID Clinic. The hours are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and closed Sunday.

For up-to-date base information, visit the 403rd Wing Website www.403wg.afrc.af.mil, the wing’s Air Force Connect App, and the Keesler AFB Health page at www.keesler.af.mil/Health

Other information resources include:
Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) 877-978-6453
COVID-19 - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
DoD COVID-19 - www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/
AF COVID-19 - https://www.af.mil/News/Coronavirus-Disease-2019/
AFRC COVID-19 - https://www.afrc.af.mil/COVID-19/
Mississippi Department of Health - https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420.html
CDC Health Travel Notices - https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/