Air Force pushes mandatory physical assessments to July, expects other changes
Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See more staff and wire stories here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.
The Air Force is delaying its physical fitness assessments until July 1 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release Friday from the Air Force secretary.
Testing had been delayed until April. This is the fourth time the service has rescheduled its fitness testing since the pandemic began one year ago.
“This is the right decision for our airmen,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass said in a Facebook post Friday. “We are getting after controlling the spread of COVID and ensuring we take the right steps to build a fitness lifestyle in our Air Force, rather than Airmen who can just past a fitness test.”
COVID-19 is the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
In December, the Air Force did away with waist circumference measurements as part of the grading matrix for the physical fitness test, and changes to age groupings could be coming once testing resumes in July, the news release said.
The Air Force may change the age brackets used for assessment and grading from 10-year age categories to five-year age groups. For example, the grading category for ages 30-39 could be replaced with ages 30-34 and 35-39, according to the release.
The service also plans to redistribute fitness points now that waist circumference is no longer a factor, and plans to have a final decision by June, the news release said
“We are conducting a holistic review of policies associated with the physical fitness assessment program to determine if they are still a good fit for today’s Air Force,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services in the release.
While recorded tests have been delayed, airmen can still take a diagnostic test if their command permits.
The Space Force will follow the Air Force policies until its leadership develops a service-specific plan.
In January, the Navy postponed physical fitness assessments to July, to be complete by December.
The Army Combat Fitness Test permanently replaced the Army Physical Fitness Test last October, and all current physical fitness scores remain valid until March 31, 2022, U.S. Army Japan spokesman Maj. Elias Chelala told Stars and Stripes in an email Friday.
“Soldiers are currently training on the ACFT and taking diagnostic exams in accordance with COVID-19 mitigation measures, but the Army has suspended using the ACFT score until further notice,” he said.