Feedback Fridays

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman
  • 502d Air Base Wing Commander

Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander’s calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week.

If you have a question or concern, please send an email to using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.” Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.

Q. Why is Joint Base San Antonio no longer sharing the number of positive cases?

A. In order to protect operational security as we preserve the nation’s combat readiness, the Secretary of Defense directed that the total number of service members with COVID-19 will be reported at the OSD or Service level.

The Services have implemented measures to ensure that force and individual units remain ready to carry out their respective missions to include enforcing social distancing and aggressively following CDC recommendations.

We have a comparatively young and fit force and have complete confidence in our ability to carry out all of our key national responsibilities. Thank you for your understanding as we protect operational security and our nation’s readiness.

Q. Is there a reason why we are not housing people in the old Wilford Hall building instead of dorms that could be utilized for people TDY here for training?

A. Thank you for the question. Unfortunately, the old Wilford Hall Medical Center building is currently in the process of being demolished and is not suitable for housing.

While there are some temporary duty assignments still occurring, the current Department of Defense travel restrictions have halted most TDY operations until May 11, so we should not have an influx of TDY personnel arriving on the installation.

Q. I am unable to report to duty with my unit because my spouse has tested positive for COVID-19, and I was told to stay home. Will I be given leave to care for him/her?

A. Great question. I highly encourage you to discuss your situation with your chain of command so that they can assess the circumstances and provide you the best course of action to properly take care of yourself and your spouse, while also maintaining your unit’s mission effectiveness. These courses of action can range from leave, the designation of an alternate duty location, and teleworking.

I would also encourage you to take the necessary precautions to have yourself tested and treated (if necessary) at your medical facility, and practice the proper sanitation methods to keep yourselves and your home clean.

Q. Why haven’t all military members been told to stay home instead of coming in for duty?

A. Thank you for your question. JBSA must still perform all essential missions; however, military commanders have been given guidance to apply leave and liberty policies to the maximum extent while continuing to ensure they can fulfill their missions.

JBSA commanders have broad authority to assign members to alternate places of duty, such as a member’s residence or government quarters, which could include allowing members to care for family members.

Commanders can also authorize members to perform duties remotely if possible. That being said, not all positions are eligible for telework or alternate duty locations. I would advise you to discuss with your chain of command to see if your position/duties can be executed remotely, and see what options you and others may have for teleworking.

Q. Is telework an option for military members?

A. Yes, telework-ready military members who can perform appropriate military duties remotely may be assigned to an alternate duty location in their residence or government quarters.

This authorization and determination can only come from the military commanders of each respective unit. It is also entirely up to that commander’s discretion on how to disseminate your unit’s teleworking capabilities.

The best course of action would be to discuss your options with your chain of command to see if it is possible to telework if you have a concern regarding your health and safety while reporting to duty.

Q. I am unable to telework from home because my job is to perform maintenance on helicopters. What do I do if I am potentially exposed to COVID-19 and need to stay home?

A. The first step would be to notify your supervisor and/or chain of command immediately after the suspected exposure. Your commander will then determine whether or not to order a Restriction of Movement, or ROM, for you and other possibly affected members for self-monitoring. Depending on the commander’s decision, you will most likely be tested for COVID to ensure that you are not infected nor a carrier.

Please keep in mind that Restriction of Movement does not equate to the inability to telework. At the commander’s discretion, s/he may order you to telework while you’re on Restriction of Movement orders.

The most important steps if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 is to remove yourself from the environment, notify your chain of command, and get tested (if necessary).

Q. Can I still take the ordinary leave that was previously approved?

A. Service members who already have leave scheduled and approved through their chain of command may still be able to take leave; however, I recommend asking your supervisor to confirm if you’re still able to take leave.

For 502d ABW personnel, current restrictions limit military members to taking leave in the local area which is defined as a 150-mile radius from the center of San Antonio and does not include anywhere in Mexico.

Q. If I traveled to a location away from my permanent duty station and am required to self-monitor for 14 days, will I be charged extra leave?

A. If you are required to self-monitor for 14 days, you would not normally be charged leave. If you become ill, you should alert your chain of command immediately.

Depending upon your circumstances, your command may place you in a different leave or duty status for the duration of your illness or period of self-monitoring. This would include designating you to work at an alternate duty location, which can be your residence or government quarters or teleworking.

Q. I am worried about exceeding my 60 days of leave and losing it because of this crisis. What can I do?

A. Unfortunately, it is too early to determine how long the crisis will last or what the long-term effects may be. We expect to revisit the limitation on carrying forward more than 60 days of leave toward the end of the summer. In the meantime, commanders have the discretion to authorize leave as long as it remains in the local area.