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Taking care of our Airmen and families amid COVID-19

Providers at the 30th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center check the temperature of children and parents March 19, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Providers at the 30th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center check the temperature of children and parents March 19, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As taking care of Airmen and their families is a top priority at Vandenberg AFB, base child care providers and 30th Medical Group personnel are taking health and safety measures to help flatten the curve. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, providers, parents and children are required to have their temperature checked when entering the child care facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy).

Providers at the 30th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center check the temperature of children and parents March 19, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Providers at the 30th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center check the temperature of children and parents March 19, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As taking care of Airmen and their families is a top priority at Vandenberg AFB, base child care providers and 30th Medical Group personnel are taking health and safety measures to help flatten the curve. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the 30th MDG has provided the child care centers with additional thermometer and cleaning supplies, allowing the staff to better scan for COVID-19 symptoms and to protect the children more efficiently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy)

Providers at the 30th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center check the temperature of children and parents March 19, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Providers at the 30th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center check the temperature of children and parents March 19, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As taking care of Airmen and their families is a top priority at Vandenberg AFB, base child care providers and 30th Medical Group personnel are taking health and safety measures to help flatten the curve. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, providers, parents and children are required to have their temperature checked when entering the child care facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE Calif. --

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., carries out a vital national security mission and that mission does not end when faced with a pandemic, like COVID-19. Essential personnel are working hard to accomplish the mission, and the 30th Force Support Squadron’s Child Development Center and Youth Center are on the front lines supporting the warfighter and their families.

As the base moves to more stringent measures to help flatten the curve, the 30th Medical Group, Child Development Center and Youth Center, now open to mission essential personnel only, are working together to screen children, parents and providers prior to entering the child care facilities on base.

“While there are no confirmed cases at Vandenberg AFB, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guides to watch for fever as one of the first symptoms of COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Rountree, 30th Healthcare Operations Squadron commander. “As medics, we are committed to keeping our base population safe and aiding in the wellness of Airmen and their families.”

To accomplish the task of ensuring the health and safety of those members, the 30th MDG personnel have provided the child care centers with training, guidelines and additional disinfection supplies.

“Many of the recommendations for preventing the spread of viruses were already being implemented in our daily routine,” said Christina Sutton, Vandenberg AFB’s Child Development Center director. “We appreciate the medical staff providing staff training, bringing us additional thermometers and cleaning supplies so that our staff can scan and protect children more efficiently.”

According to Dr. Mark Meuer, pediatrician and medical director of the Child Development Center and Youth Center, if a child has a 100.4 degree temperature, they are asked to call the 30th MDG appointment line at 805-606-CARE (2273) for further evaluation.  

Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 is sent home, said Sutton. Despite the increase of restriction measures on base, the children seem to be in good spirits.   

“Children are very in-tune with their environment, but we are staying calm and providing them with their regular routine,” Sutton said. “We have amazing staff who are invested in their profession and do whatever it takes to make sure children are protected and well taken care of. Health and safety is always their first concern.”  

Vandenberg AFB’s Youth Center, which is available to the base’s school-aged children, has also employed screening measures.

“The staff at the Youth Center are screening children as they enter the building and constantly sanitizing areas to keep everyone healthy and safe while attending our program,” said Natalie Gruspe, Vandenberg’s Youth Programs director. “The children have expressed that they miss going to school every day and seeing their peers, but are having fun playing games and doing activities with their friends here.”

School aged children and teens can take also advantage of virtual activities offered through the Vandenberg AFB Youth Center by visiting the Youth Center’s Facebook page.

Vandenberg AFB’s supporting services continue to work together to strengthen mission readiness while taking steps to safeguard our military and civilian personnel and their families. 

“Closely monitoring the wellness of our children is an essential component to mission readiness,” said Rountree. “According to the CDC, ways to prevent the spread of any disease are to wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing of at least six feet as much as possible, staying at home if you are mildly ill, and disinfecting often the areas people touch frequently.”

Contact the 30th MDG at 805-606-2273 or 1-800-TRICARE if you develop any symptoms related to COVID-19.