Page 61 - Jackson Journal
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                  The final step in the consolidation process
is a condition check briefing to the Brigade Commander. This brief shows the current and proposed bay laydowns and traces all positive and symptomatic Trainees by bay through the 120th
AG BN companies and the Military Entrance Processing Stations where positive Trainee(s) came from.
Maintaining the Bubble:
The most crucial part of maintaining the bubble is not bursting it (introducing COVID-19). Bubble preservation ensures that Trainees are not exposed to anyone outside of the Fort Jackson bubble (such as Family members/friends from back home)
or other Trainees that have yet to establish their bubble. If Trainees become symptomatic after establishing the bubble, they will be sent to the COVID bay, and the remainder of their bay will train under the designation “asymptomatic” (ASM). ASMs can train outside of the BN footprint and ranges with some restrictions. The restrictions consist of continuing controlled monitoring measures, foot marches to training sites, and the last group to go through training events. ASMs
are required to sanitize all commonly touched items at every training site used upon completion of training. The ASM designation can be removed after 14 days and no additional COVID-19 cases.
Results Support the Bubble Approach
The success of the above-described approach can be seen in the data. Fort Jackson has maintained less than a 3% positivity rate than a positivity rate of greater than 12% outside of the gate. To date, the single most significant factor in new COVID-19 cases comes from Trainees arriving from the civilian population and not from the spread of COVID-19 on Fort Jackson. The bubble approach’s success is evidenced by over 15,000 Soldiers being shipped to their Advanced Individual Training (AIT) locations COVID-19 free. To date, only 2 Soldiers out of 15,000 sent to AIT with COVID-19, meaning 99.98% of all Soldiers ship to their AIT location COVID-19 free, allowing Soldiers to begin training at AIT immediately.
Soldiers are our greatest resource, and their health and safety are of paramount importance, which is why both at Fort Jackson and across the Army, there are policies and procedures in effect to safeguard it. Despite the recent global pandemic that caused a re-evaluation of the existing health and safety strategies, Fort Jackson established a new training model (2+8), controlled monitoring with multiple checks daily, and tiered risk categories have enabled the successful mitigation and containment of COVID-19 during BCT. Even though mitigating the spread of COVID-19 within bays and modifying TTPs, when a COVID-19 vaccine is available are on-going challenges, they will not significantly impact our mission success. Fort Jackson has done an excellent job containing the virus (as evidence by an average positivity rate that is three times lower than the national average, as of the time of writing) and producing quality Soldiers for our Army.
LTC McManus is the Commander of 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 193rd Infantry Brigade.
Evolving Containment
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