Update: Air Force Academy starts slow, phased reopening during COVID-19 crisis

  • Published
  • By Ray Bowden
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Air Force Academy officials are reopening some services on the base, and plan to lift Official Business Only restrictions Monday, May 11, as the Academy begins to slowly and deliberately reopen during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continually assess what we can reopen while keeping our community safe,” said Col. Brian Hartless, commander of the Academy’s host unit, the 10th Air Base Wing. “We’re moving ahead cautiously just like the State of Colorado, the Colorado Springs community we live in, and the other military installations on the Front Range, while bearing in mind that we remain in a public health emergency.”

The Eisenhower Golf Course  reopened  May 1. Golfers can reserve tee-times and pay online or call for reservations. Walk-ins, equipment rental and the use of golf carts are prohibited at this time. The tavern and snack bar remain closed. 

Earlier this week, the 10th Medical Group opened all surgical and medical specialty clinics for personal appointments, including women's health, allergy and immunizations, dermatology, neurology, physical, occupational therapy and eye care. The dental clinic is open for emergency care only. 

The North Gate also reopened to all DoD identification cardholders, 6-8 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. Mon-Fri. However, the base remains closed to the public.

In addition, the Academy’s fishing ponds, and hiking and biking trails are reopened for DOD beneficiaries.

Earlier this month, Hartless announced all beneficiaries are welcome to shop at the commissary, Main Exchange and Class-VI exchange from noon until closing. Morning shopping hours remain reserved for eligible users who work and live on the Academy only. 

Hartless said the incremental opening of the Academy hinges on the continued decrease in the number of coronavirus cases treated in Colorado, but the public health emergency and Heath Protection Condition Charlie guidelines won’t be lifted soon.

“We’re prepared to be in this posture for the next year,” he said. “This is something we’re grappling with. Just like every other university in the U.S. and U.S. military installation across the world, there are unknowns we have to prepare for.”

Anyone entering the Academy or using any service must wear a facemask or cloth face covering in public and keep a social distance of 6 feet from others.

“Any decisions we make will continue to be based on the health of our local military community and the health of El Paso County,” Hartless said.

What’s Opening May 11

Several 10th Force Support squadron services are open to U.S. military beneficiaries but in a limited capacity, including the Art and Craft Center, Auto Skills Shop, Community Center Fitness Center, Eisenhower Golf Course, Equestrian Center, Famcamp, Farish Recreation Area and the Outdoor Recreation Center.

Arts and Crafts Center

-- Open for pick-ups and drop-offs with plans to open instructional classes for two students in each class no more than twice a week. The studio is open to appointments only.

Auto Skills Shop

-- Automatic and manual carwash stalls are open. Stalls for personal projects and hobby work may be reserved by appointment only.

Community Center Fitness Center

-- Open to active duty service members who live and work at the Academy, with workouts limited to cardio equipment and weightlifting. Occupancy in the gym is limited and the pool, basketball court, sauna, showers and classes are closed. 

Equestrian Center

-- Open for the care of non-appropriated-funds and boarder horses. The rental office is open during duty hours and trail rides must be reserved. The center is open to the Remount Foundation for equine therapy.     

Family Camp

-- Sixty recreational vehicle spots and 20 campsites are available for those with existing reservations and personnel with perminant change of station order to or from the Academy.. Bathrooms and showers remain closed. Minimal support staff is available. 

Farish Recreation Area

-- Open for camping by reservation only. Staff and patrons will be required to wear face masks and follow COVID-19 social distancing measures. Common showers and restrooms remain closed.

Outdoor Recreation Office

-- Open only for equipment rentals. Reservations must be done online or by phone.

Visit www.usafa.edu, www.usafa.af.mil and the Academy’s official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter sites for the latest information. For services information, visit www.usafasupport.com.