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Precautions ramp up on base

Base schools not opening, masks required nearly everywhere, more

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Precautions to reduce COVID-19 cases on base ramped up in recent days to include expanded mask requirements, temperature checks, and more.

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While cases on Joint Base Lewis-McChord are relatively small they have been increasing along with the state in general, said Lt. Gen. Randy George, I Corps and base commander, Tuesday during a Facebook Live townhall which base officials conduct currently every other week.

A third of those positive cases on base are due to out of state travel,” George added. He said cases are being traced back to bars, house parties, and barbecues, namely indoor places where social distancing and wearing masks aren’t being done.

George said no new services will open, and masks are now required in all retail locations on base including shoppettes plus inside all offices and unit footprints. George said masks are not needed at your desk (unless you can’t social distance), however, masks should be worn while walking in halls and moving around the base.

Masks will be enforced, George added.

Temperature checks are now required within the unit footprints as well. George said that process has already caught a couple cases.

George did not expect a rollback of current re-openings.

Schools on base will also conduct classes exclusively online to start the year, the Clover Park School District announced Tuesday.

“We continue to monitor the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in our local area as we plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year,” wrote Ron Banner, superintendent of Clover Park which operates schools on and off JBLM. “Based on the current data of COVID-19 infections, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director, Dr. Anthony Chen, has recommended that Pierce County schools do not open for onsite classroom learning. “

Banner said lessons learned in the spring will determine the fall plan.

“We learned a great deal this past spring from our previous remote learning efforts and are using that feedback in our planning to provide the best possible educational experience for our students until they return to face-to-face learning. We are also working with community partners to see how we can help support families during these uncertain times.”

JBLM officials are looking to open more childcare spaces in light of most local school districts keeping their buildings shuttered for now.

"CYS will continue to update on availability," officials stated via Facebook. "If you will need care for your school-aged child as schools begin virtually, we ask that if you have not had your school-aged child in care before on JBLM, that you go to and sign up on the wait list."

To see the list of school districts and their plans, click…/…/1431/Education_Tracker_2020.pdf.

In other news …

• PCS and leave rules have not changed. There is a review process depending on where military members are travelling – check with the chain of command.

• Routine dental cleanings are still not authorized.

• Due to acute staffing changes at Madigan, some pregnantmoms are being referred out to the network to deliver off the base. You will receive a personal call if this impacts you.

• Vacation Bible School will be virtual, August 10-14.

• Pathways has been scaled down in recent days. Check with your chain of command for specifics.

• Raindrops and Rainbows Parent & Child Play Center was scheduled to remain open until July 31; however, due to preconstruction requirements to repair damage to the building from a car driving into it, the program is closed until construction is complete. The Escape Zone on McChord Field is also closing for the duration as well. However, due to the short notice of preconstruction requirements, Escape Zone is expanding hours for this week only. This means that Escape Zone will be open from 8:30 noon and 1 to 4 p.m. through July 31 (per JBLM release).

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