8 September 2020: Message from the Wing Commander, COVID-19

Hello members, families and friends of 4 Wing,

Portrait - Col Moar

Photo: LS Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

It has been a while since my last message and a lot has occurred in the last two months. I hope this update finds you in good health.

The Wing has been exceptionally busy this summer. Our efforts throughout July and August were dedicated to improving our work processes, modifying our office spaces, and getting people back to work as fast as was safely possible. Now, with COVID-19 preventative measures in place, the pace of operations has almost returned to normal. I could not be more proud of the Wing’s response to COVID-19, the speed with which we have adapted to a new model of operations, and the continued daily improvements that I see being made by our people.

If you are feeling anxious about the next few months, I share your concerns. We are entering yet another period of transition with the return of kids to school and the start of the cold and flu season. Our teachers, administrators, and schools have worked very hard to ensure our kids are returning to a safe learning environment. That said, it is impossible to completely remove the risk of exposure in a group setting during the sick season. I believe that we will need to be increasingly vigilant and disciplined in detecting and mitigating exposure to COVID-19 in the coming months. As a Wing, we will need to be prepared to react properly to instances of illness amongst our military members and their families.

The senior leadership of 4 Wing and health professionals at 22 CFHSC have developed guidance for members and families who are reacting to an illness. To facilitate your decision making as much as possible, we have tried to remain aligned with the expertise and direction from Alberta Health Services (AHS). The 4 Wing COVID-19 Decision Flowchart will soon be sent to all of our members as an internal email and placed on the 4 Wing splash page. The flowchart is intentionally simple and does not cover all scenarios. The two primary scenarios with which we are concerned are a member who is ill with symptoms and a member who is exposed to a family member with symptoms.

Very simply, whether a member is dealing with their own symptoms or assisting a family member with their illness, the first thing we want you to do is to stay home. You will consult AHS online, call 811, and follow their instructions for testing. From there we ask that members use the 4 Wing COVID-19 Decision Flowchart, consult with their chain of command, and make an informed decision about whether or not they can return to work. In all cases, the chain of command is expected to accommodate their members’ needs as much as required. I fully understand that a significant part of the 4 Wing workforce could be home sick or looking after sick family. The Wing will be ready to respond to the anticipated personnel shortfalls and continue to guarantee the success of our NORAD and NATO missions while ensuring the safety of our operation.

4 Wing will continue to prioritize communications throughout the fall and winter seasons. I am excited about the upcoming rollout of the 4 Wing Facebook group, the resumption of our quarterly newsletter, the continued online publication of The Courier, and a number of planned virtual town halls. Hopefully I get an opportunity to interact with all of you and answer any questions you may have in the coming months.

Stay healthy, informed, and vigilant as we enter the fall season! Remember, your best defence is to frequently wash/sanitize your hands, remain physically distanced from others, and wear a mask over your mouth and nose!

Col Dave Moar
Commander, 4 Wing