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Airman Leadership School adjusts to ensure graduation amid pandemic

Students stand outside in formation wearing face coverings during Airman Leadership School

Students stand in formation during Airman Leadership School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, June 23, 2020. The graduates were the first group to complete the course at Tyndall during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Anabel Del Valle)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

On July 1, 2020 thirteen Airmen graduated from Airman Leadership School. These Airmen are the first graduates that completed the course at Tyndall Air Force Base since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Many activities and facilities throughout the base had to limit operations during the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown, including ALS. However, it was important that the mission continued.

According to official guidance, the Air Force intends to return to readiness and training levels that were standard practice prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s essential that the solutions are sustainable for potentially long term use.

“All the projections are no vaccine for upwards of a year,” Gen. David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force said during a video briefing in April 2020. “So, that means we’ve got to refine our ability to survive and operate and do the missions our nation requires. And we’ve got to bring back those missions we have slowed down, so that we can get back to some kind of sense of new normalcy in an abnormal world.”

Instructors and students alike were required to make modifications in order to ensure the course did not stop and met proper health protection measures.

“This has pushed us to come up with innovative teleconference strategies that utilize technology to our utmost benefit,” said Staff Sgt. Aaron Bell, 325th Force Support Squadron ALS instructor. “It also has taught the students how to effectively have a conversation via video conference. Furthermore, due to quarantine restrictions it has pushed students to complete tasks and learn lesson concepts at home. We have received a very positive result from this distance learning episode.”

Dealing with these issues did not stop Tyndall ALS trainers from teaching and developing future leaders and front line supervisors in the US. Air Force.

“It is imperative to continue to develop effective front line supervisors so that our workforce can in turn grow both professionally and personally,” said Bell. “ALS is designed to be used as a strategic asset to build trust with front line supervisors both up and down their chain of command. Without ALS we will fail to effectively lead Airmen and echo the vision of leadership.”

The instructors, and those responsible for planning at ALS were able to adjust accordingly and make sure the Airmen graduated despite the current circumstances.