by Robert Timmons
Fort Jackson Public Affairs
Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson commander, announced May 6 that Child and Youth Services will reopen to mission essential personnel June 1.
“Our community has pulled together through these unprecedented times, and safety measures have been effective,” said Fort Jackson commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr. in a note to the post community. “As we continue monitoring the COVID-19 environment, we believe that continued social distancing measures and enhanced cleaning protocols will facilitate our ability to slowly begin opening CYS.”
Beagle and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Jerimiah Gan announced April 30 that Fort Jackson will begin transitioning to steady state operations.
“Steady state is not normal,” Beagle said. “As Fort Jackson gets better at ‘this’ steady state and we begin to slowly dial things up, we will be able to reduce some of our measures without increasing risk to our population on Fort Jackson and in the community.”
Reopening facilities will be phased like the post’s plan to return to a steady state.
“Opening CYS facilities does not mean full capacity,” Beagle cautioned. “In order to preserve the safety precautions we have taken to date, reopening must be phased, deliberate and intentional with adherence to social distancing, child and staff health screening, and enhanced cleaning procedures.”
CYS officials crafted a two-phased plan to reopen facilities – Phase One is opening for mission essential personnel and Phase Two expands CYS childcare capabilities. The conditions necessary to move to the latter stage is maintaining social distancing, conducting health screenings, and following all protective measures.
Sunny Bolton, CYS coordinator, advised that enhanced health screenings include asking parents if in the past 24 hours their children have had a fever; been given a fever reducer; have been fussier than usual; had diarrhea; or have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
“We will use infrared thermometers to take the temperatures of each child at drop off,” she said. “If a child has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, we will not admit the child into care, and the child will not return to care for at least 72 hours.”
CYS will record illness screenings daily and report illnesses to the Installation Operations Center.
Mission essential personnel who have not received information about requesting child care should contact their chain command.
While this may be an initial step towards returning services to steady state operations, it will not be instantaneous.
Returning to steady state will be achieved under altered conditions to allow for training Soldiers at a normal scale; protect the entire work force; “and reduce risk to the maximum extent possible” for our community.
“It is not a light switch that we can turn on or off; nor a lever where we can flip up or flip back,” Beagle said April 30. “We want to gradually work our way from where we currently are back to where we were.”