The Air Force will not resume physical fitness testing across the service until at least Jan. 1, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the military, top service leaders announced.
The service early in the pandemic suspended PT testing, and repeatedly delayed resumption until Oct. 1. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass said Sept. 16 that the new target is Jan. 1, and the service is also determining what PT testing will look like in the future.
“That’s really for the safety of our Airmen and, all across our Air Force … every installation is kind of in a different COVID environment, so it just makes sense to do so,” Bass said. “However, as Airmen … I would like to see us at a place where we’re not so much focused on the PT test as we are more about fitness and readiness, so that is the continued message that we push out as leaders, which is: We need a fit force, we need a ready force, and we need Airmen who are doing that regardless of a PT test.”
The decision to push the testing timeline back is largely because October 1 is coming quickly, at a time when both Bass and Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. are just beginning in the job.
“So, not much of a chance for us to assess and kind of put our stamp on kind of the way forward,” Brown said. “The other aspect is we’re basically two weeks away from 1 October. So we want to give the force fair warning on when we’re going to start again, and then we can play in the different aspects because we have to do it in a different environment.”
For example, the Air Force cannot do the waist measurement, so “we’re basically going to give everybody full credit for waist measurement.” But Airmen can still run, do push-ups, and do sit-ups in the COVID-19 environment.
“So that gives our Airmen enough time to prepare themselves and they’re not surprised,” Brown said. “But, I’ll tell you, most of them are working out anyway. … People are still staying fit. We just want to make sure that we move into this and give them fair warning on when we’re going to start up again and not catch our Airmen by surprise.”