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In addition to postponing its physical fitness assessments until April 2021, the Air Force will do away with waist measurements as a scored area of the test.
In addition to postponing its physical fitness assessments until April 2021, the Air Force will do away with waist measurements as a scored area of the test. (Christopher Parr/U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force postponed its physical fitness assessments until April 2021, due to a record-breaking surge in U.S. coronavirus cases, and will do away permanently with waist measurements, the service announced Monday.

This is the third time the Air Force has pushed back its fitness testing since the pandemic began in March. The Navy and Marine Corps also recently postponed their fitness tests, citing restrictions on gatherings due to the pandemic.

The Air Force in September postponed airmen’s fitness tests until Jan. 1, 2021, and said it would forgo the height, weight and waist measurements.

On Monday, it said the waist measurements are gone for good, but height and weight measurements will resume in October 2021.

Senior Airman Justin Geter, stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va., said Tuesday he feels safer knowing the Air Force is delaying the tests.

“I personally have people in my workplace who have tested positive for COVID,” Geter said via Facebook Messenger. “It doesn’t make sense to risk your life for something that ultimately doesn’t affect your work output when you can still work out in your free time.”

COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

Commanders may delay official fitness assessments beyond April 2021 based on mandates by local public health officials, such as closed fitness centers and statewide restrictions on gatherings.

The new testing date and elimination of the waist measurement also applies to the Space Force, according to the press release.

The physical assessment will still consist of a 1 ½ -mile run, and one minute each of pushups and sit-ups. Airmen will receive automatic credit for the waist measurement until it’s removed from the online scoring system, according to the Air Force.

In the interim, the service expects its members to stay fit on their own.

“We trust that our Airmen understand the standard of good physical health practices and we are all finding innovative ways to stay fit,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said in the press release. “We also trust that leaders will take the appropriate steps to keep their Airmen safe while making every effort to provide fitness options during the pandemic.”

The Navy last month delayed fitness tests for sailors until March.

The Marine Corps on Friday suspended combat fitness tests until January, with the exception of recruits in boot camp or Marines needing a test for training such as Sniper School or Officer Candidate School.

earl.erica@stripes.com Twitter: @ThisEarlGirl

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