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Coronavirus Disease 2019 Questions and Answers

Current as of Jan. 3, 2022


Below are some of the questions you might have about the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Force Health Protection

If you have received a vaccination against COVID-19, you will have protection from the Delta variant. Breakthrough infections can happen, but they are rare and hospitalizations among the fully vaccinated are rarer still. However, even fully vaccinated people can spread the virus to others. The Centers for Disease Control recommends vaccinated people wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission. Unvaccinated people should take precautions such as wearing a mask indoors in public, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, staying six feet from others and washing your hands often.

Find the most current information on the Delta variant and other variants on the CDC’s COVID-19 page.

Yes. Masks are required regardless of vaccination status while on the Pentagon Reservation, which includes the Pentagon, the Mark Center Campus and the Raven Rock Mountain Complex.

Exceptions include:

  • When alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls and a closed door
  • For brief periods of time while eating and drinking, provided you maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others and are in accordance with instructions from commanders and supervisors
  • When necessary to reasonably accommodate a disability

You may be required to lower your mask for identification or security purposes.

Organizations on the Pentagon Reservation must post signs and information on their websites explaining the mask requirement. The Department of Defense may provide masks for those who do not have one.

The Department of Defense requires those who are not fully vaccinated to wear a mask in common areas, shared workspaces and outdoor shared spaces on an installation. Masks are also required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation; and in airports and bus and train stations. If fully vaccinated, follow the Centers for Disease Control guidance for when you have been fully vaccinated.

Limited testing of asymptomatic service members is taking place. Specifically, 10% of those who live in congregate settings, 10% of those who work in health care and 1% of others will be tested. Service members preparing to deploy and those starting training will be tested as well. Additionally, asymptomatic service members involved in critical national capabilities will be tested, followed by engaged fielded forces, then forward deployed and redeployed forces as testing capacity increases.

For more information, see the memorandum, Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 11) – Department of Defense Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 Surveillance and Screening with Testing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has answers to a range of questions related to testing.

Speak with your supervisor if you or a family member becomes sick and you run out of sick leave. You may receive an advance of up to 30 days of sick leave for yourself, and up to 13 days of sick leave to care for a family member who is ill.

Learn more in the memorandum, Military Personnel Guidance for Department of Defense Components in Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019.

The CDC recommends wearing a non-medical disposable mask or mask made with breathable or tightly-woven fabric. Masks should have two or three layers and include an inner pocket for a filter. Masks should completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the side of the face. Choose masks with a nose wire, which prevents air from leaking out of the top of the mask. See CDC guidance for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Regardless of vaccination status, masks are required while indoors on installations in areas of high community COVID-19 transmission. Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask on all installations and other DOD facilities regardless of the level of community transmission.

You can find the level of transmission in your area through the Centers for Disease Control data tracker. The CDC also offers guidance and definitions of low, moderate, substantial and high spread.

You will need to practice social distancing whenever you are with others outside your immediate household, both indoors and outdoors.

Masks must be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status in areas of high community transmission of COVID-19. Those who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks while on installations and other DOD facilities regardless of the level of community transmission. Exceptions to mask wearing are:

  • While alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls and a closed door
  • For brief periods of time while eating and drinking, provided you maintain at least 6 feet of  distance to others and are in accordance with instructions from commanders and supervisors
  • When necessary to accommodate a disability

You may be required to lower your mask for identification or security purposes.

You can find the level of transmission of COVID-19 in your area through the Centers for Disease Control data tracker. The CDC also offers guidance and definitions of low, moderate, substantial and high spread.

You must wear a mask indoors on military installations and other Department of Defense facilities in areas of high community transmission regardless of your vaccination status. You can find the level of transmission in your area through the Centers for Disease Control data tracker. The CDC also offers guidance and definitions of low, moderate, substantial and high spread.

Anyone not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks and social distance on installations and other DOD facilities regardless of the level of community transmission.

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status or level of community transmission, is required to wear a mask in airports, bus and train stations and on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation.

Travel

The Department of Defense and other governmental agencies issue regular updates about traveling during COVID-19. Get the latest about travel restrictions at the installation level at the DOD’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update. Look up state regulations at the Centers for Disease Control’s health department website, which links to state health departments nationwide. For information about COVID-19 restrictions in other countries, visit the Department of State’s COVID-19 Specific Information page.

You may travel outside your local area with authorization from your unit commander or equivalent.

Financial, Pay & Benefits

Service members and families who have been affected financially as a result of travel restrictions, closures and other events from COVID-19 can check with their service relief organization to see if emergency help is available.

Health & Wellness

Military OneSource has many resources to help you boost your emotional wellness during stressful times. For starters:

Ask for help if you or your family need it; Military OneSource confidential, non-medical counselors are here for you. If you or a family member are having suicidal thoughts, call the Military Crisis line at 800-273-8255, press 1; text to 838255; or start a confidential chat.

Request adaptive equipment for your home office from the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program if you have limitations, such as vision loss, hearing loss, memory loss or a physical condition, like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. In many instances, equipment can ship directly to your home and keep you working efficiently and safely.

Parenting & Family Life

Social distancing and self-quarantine may not be safe for everyone – especially for individuals in unhealthy or abusive relationships. If you are seeking support for domestic abuse but unsure about next steps, contact your installation’s Family Advocacy Program victim advocate, who can help you identify options for safety even while isolated at home. You can also chat online or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24/7. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911 or your installation law enforcement. To learn more, see the article When Home Isn’t Safe: Tips for Victims of Domestic Abuse.

It’s important to talk to children about COVID-19, because even if they aren’t saying anything, they may have questions and concerns they don’t know how to put into words. Help them feel safe by talking about the vaccines that protect against the virus. Remind them to wear their masks in school, even if they are over 12 and vaccinated, as the Centers for Disease Control recommends. Go to DOD Education Activity’s COVID-19 page to see their tips (in the PDF at the bottom of the page) for “How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus” in an age-appropriate manner.

Just because your children are stuck at home doesn’t mean their educational needs have to be interrupted. Find what you need in this article, Take Advantage of Online Learning Resources While Schools Are Closed.

MilParents can tap into these online parenting resources:

Thrive is a free online parenting program developed by the Department of Defense with Penn State University. It provides research-based best parenting practices for raising healthy, resilient children from birth to age 18.

ZERO TO THREE is designed to support parents in order to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. ZERO TO THREE’s Babies on the Homefront app provides ideas for military and veteran parents to stay connected, no matter where their work takes them.

Sesame Street for Military Families offers a variety of products designed for young military children. Their website offers videos on topics like deployment, homecoming, relocation, self-expression and more.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website offers a wealth of information, as well as a COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit. The Department of Defense Educational Activity website also provides an extensive list of Parent Resources.

To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control’s most updated guidance for fully-vaccinated people is to wear a mask indoors in public when in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Here are a few ways to stay safe while enjoying activities:

  • Step outside today. Take a long walk, ride a bike or just enjoy sitting outside with friends. Outdoor activities may provide a sense of safety.
  • Shop the windows. Walk downtown or at the local mall and window-shop until you’re ready to step inside. You’ll save some cash and get some exercise — a win-win!
  • Keep it small. Invite a few vaccinated friends or family members over for dinner. Enjoy socializing. Accept invitations to your friend’s or family’s homes.
  • Talk with someone. Contact a Military OneSource non-medical counselor who will listen to your concerns and offer effective strategies to help reduce your stress. Your mental health matters!

The Department of Defense School Liaison Program offers an array of services free of charge, including support with school transitions for students in general education and special education.

Relocation/Deployment

Yes. All service members deploying outside the United States or redeploying will be screened for COVID-19 and tested, if available and appropriate. Service members must undergo a mandatory 14-day restriction of movement before deploying. Redeploying service members may undergo a 14-day ROM if warranted by a risk-based determination. See Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) – Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic for details.

Military Installations

COVID-19 closing:

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Installation Program Directory

Find programs and services at your local installation.