HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
For 50 new Air Operations Center Initial Qualification Training (AOCIQT) students, training began with a 14-day restriction of movement (ROM), as the 505th Training Squadron (505 TRS) institutes new mitigation procedures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 while provide mission essential training.
Students were placed under a ROM for 14 days regardless if they came from a high-risk or low-risk state to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other students and instructors.
Lodging on base was not available, so students are lodging off base and following COVID-19 protocols in line with DoD, State of Florida, and the Hurlburt Field Public Health Office guidance to lessen the risk of exposure to the workforce (civilian, military, and contractors), their families, and the local community.
During the ROM, rather than simply waiting for 14 days to start training, the squadron is taking an innovative approach by using the time for virtual training, including a mentorship program where each student is assigned a mentor.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Bryan, director of operations, 505 TRS, "this is a new process, so we added an extra layer of safeguards to make sure the students are receiving the level of training required to emerge as Command and Control (C2) operators, give students a conduit to help the students adjust, cope, and thrive during the ROM period. Additionally, the mentors will assist the students in managing life events outside the virtual and physical classroom because we recognize that life doesn’t stop because you are in training.”
After students complete their ROM, the 1st Special Operations Medical Group’s Public Health Office will medically prescreen each student before they are allowed to enter the training facility. Zones within the schoolhouse have been established to limit interaction with other classes and low-risk instructors will be used to deliver in-person training while high-risk instructors will be utilized through virtual means.
AOCIQT courses continue during the Pentagon's stop movement order since Initial Qualification Courses are considered mission essential training by the Commander of Air Combat Command (COMACC).
“Our number one priority is the safety of our students and our staff and with the help from Public Health we have a solid plan to mitigate the COVID-19 risk while delivering essential training,” said Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Wilson, commander, 505 TRS.
Class sizes have been limited to the classroom size to accommodate for social distancing, and students are entering and departing on assigned "chalk" times so that every course is a self-contained unit. The schoolhouse has attempted to limit as many touchpoints between courses as possible.
The 505 TRS will utilize similar precautions with their upcoming courses to adapt to the COVID-19 environment...“We are continuing to deliver combat power through the training of C2 warriors for the combatant commander," said Lt. Col. Bryan.