OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
The Osan Community Town Hall was held at the Osan Theater, March 6, 2021. The 51st Fighter Wing commander opened the event with comments followed by short briefings from Civil Engineering and Medical Group representatives. The question and answer portion of the Town Hall began approximately 27 minutes after starting. In the below document, questions with a similar answer were treated as one question and questions related to a similar topic were grouped together. If addressed in the audio recording, a time stamp indicating when the question was asked is provided.
COVID-19, Vaccine, Medical Related Questions
- Will vaccinated individuals get more privileges/liberties and when will we have less COVID restrictions off base? When is 51st FW going to remove all mask wear on base after COVID-19 vaccine rolls out to dependents? When can people anticipate authorized travel to Area 2? Can we go to Seoul if we got the vaccine?
No additional travel privileges/liberties are authorized as a result of being vaccinated. However, as more USFK personnel and ROK citizens are vaccinated we expect to see many COVID-19 mitigation measure begin to lessen both on base and within Korea.
2.When can we expect to have non-CSP dependents quarantine in our homes? For example my mother or friend who wants to visit?
Visitation by dependents or other relatives to the ROK is currently allowed, however there are many stipulations and considerations that will affect whether or not your dependent/relative will be allowed into the country. All individuals arriving in Korea must ensure they are adhering to all ROK requirements to visit and enter the country, which may include quarantine at a ROK facility at personal expense. Non-CSP dependents are allowed to quarantine with their sponsor after they get their negative day 1 COVID-19 test in Korea. However, the individual assigned to Osan AB will be considered in quarantine and there are several requirements ranging from chain of command approval, leave approval if telework is not an approved option, having a quarantine support plan, etc.
- Why was my insurance billed for the COVID-19 vaccine? The government is advertising that they are free, yet 51st Med group is billing insurance?
Different insurance companies handle claims and billing differently. Please inquire with the Tricare operations flight and/or your insurance company for specific policies and review US government guidance for reimbursement if needed.
4.When the COVID vaccine becomes available to dependents, will that include non-command sponsored?
Yes, all dependents that are medically cleared to receive the vaccine will be eligible when it becomes available.
5.Are we allowed to have on-base parties over 4 people?
As of April 6, all gatherings on base must adhere to the USFK COVID-19 tenants particularly for mask wear and social distancing. Under the current BSD, gatherings are capped at 200 without 51st FW/CC approval and up to 250 with a signed memorandum from 51st FW/CC.
6.Can there be ‘patient only’ parking spots designated at the medical clinic? (80:55 in audio/Podcast)
Yes, there are patient only parking spots at the medical clinic and there is a plan to more clearly mark the spots.
7.Will the 51st Medical Group ever allow fieldwork credit towards degrees? (not in audio)
The 51st MDG is a small facility with only limited numbers of patients and qualified providers. Also, the Osan population is screened for most medical conditions prior to travel therefore are on average substantially healthier than the US population. Unfortunately for these reasons, we are unable to offer fieldwork credit needed to satisfy medical training programs.
8.Where in the Med Group would someone, not currently at the town hall, go to get the form to join the Patient & Family Partnership Council?
Come into the Medical group/clinic and ask for the Chief Nurse. We will also make them available on the Osan Med Group website.
Osan Shuttle and School Bus Questions
9.Can transportation be reviewed to establish a new off-base bus stop?
The school bus transportation routes are reviewed annually before the start of school or when issues arise that prevent students getting to school on time. The Student Transportation Office (STO) or Osan Military Family Housing (MFH) office can provide a map or narrative description that identifies the school bus commuting area for each school. Parents can visit MFH on Osan AB in Bldg 600, Rm 101 (first room on the right when you walk in the building) or the STO in the OMHS campus, Bldg. 492, Rm 101. Transportation is available for many off base housing areas, however before signing a lease for an off base house please check with the STO to ensure transportation is available in that area for the school your child will attend. Stop by the STO or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request information and/or a new bus stop for your community.
- Why is the base using school busses to drop off folks at quarantine locations?
The busses used for students in the morning are not dedicated for DODEA use. Osan AB has limited resources to meet all the transportation requirements of the 51st FW and tenant units at Osan AB. All busses are fully sanitized and cleaned in accordance with public health requirements after use.
- Is there a base shuttle?
Yes, there are base shuttles. Individuals can view the current shuttle schedule by downloading the Mustang App or scanning the QR code at any bus stop on base. Please plan for +/- 5 minutes from the posted schedule for bus arrival and note that schedules may be different on weekends/holidays.
Military Family Housing Related Questions:
12.Can we have the resident parking marked/repainted in the parking garage near the Housing Towers?
Yes, the contractor will be cleaning and repainting the parking garage at the beginning of April.
13.Can we get signage in English and Korean that indicate resident parking spots in the parking garage near the Housing Towers?
Civil Engineering will look at developing signage that clearly indicates parking is for residents only (Korean and English).
- What is the age for children to be left alone off base?
The age requirement for a child to be left alone can vary based on many considerations including your housing/apartment complex rules and parental decisions. In general, based on the maturity of each child, many Koreans begin to leave their children alone at home around 10 y/o (Korean Age), which is 9 y/o for Americans.
15.Can housing institute and enforce a 24-hour quiet hours to mitigate noise?
The military family housing office is reviewing all comments and concerns from the latest housing survey. 51st Mission Support Group leadership has asked the team to come up with a recommended course of action that would accommodate quiet hours as well as enable a means to enforce quiet hours.
- What about unaccompanied, active duty dorms improvements?
Looking at various improvements in active duty dorms including replacing carpet, removing old wallpaper, painting, and building improvement plans. Many dorms are being divested and with fewer dorms to maintain there will be more resources available to improve the dorms that remain in place.
17.Where can I find information on rules within the towers?
The military family housing handbook is available for everyone to read and download from the Housing website: https://www.housing.af.mil/Home/Units/Osan/ The Osan AB Youth Supervision Age Matrix Table does not specifically address hallways but provides the required ages for children to be left unattended in several scenarios (home w/babysitter, home w/o babysitter, play areas/playgrounds, etc.).
DODEA Related Questions
18.Will parents get to receive a copy of results of the DODEA customer satisfaction surveys?
The results of all customer satisfaction surveys can be found on DoDEA’s and PACWest homepages.
19.Will DODEA publish the HS basketball COVID rules and will parents be able to attend games?
COVID guidelines were sent out with the Spring Sports Schedule. Additionally, athletics and sponsors were provided electronic copies associated with their specific sport.
20.Why does mask wear at the 51st FW child care facilities and youth sports not match DODEA?
The 51st Fighter Wing and DODEA falls under a separate chains of command. Both DODEA and 51st FSS Child and Youth Services follow Center for Disease Control recommended guidelines and 51st FW public health requirements for mask wear. However, DODEA Headquarters has implemented world-wide HPCON mitigation measures that further define mask wear and COVID-19 mitigation requirements with very little flexibility given to local DODEA leadership to change those policies. On the other hand, 51st FW and 51st FSS have the flexibility to capitalize on local COVID-19 conditions and recommendations from 51st FW public health that allow mask wear guidance outside of DODEA standards. In addition, Child and Youth Services have children of ages that DODEA does not such as ages that do not attend school. This range of situations and decision by leadership result in mask wear implementation policies that may appear different on the surface but all mask wear requirements are based on the center for disease control and 51st FW Public Health guidance.
21.How do parents address questions about assignment grading? Is there a DODEA complaint system? Who is responsible for resolving issues when parents and administrators cannot come to terms? Can 51st FW investigate OES issues and what is 51st FW doing to resolve issues that several parents have with the school?
51st FW interfaces with DODEA in several facets and collaborative efforts, however, there is no direct chain of command relationship between DODEA and 51st FW. Like all Federal agency and Department of Defense organizations, issues are encouraged to be handled at the lowest, appropriate level and there are many avenues to identify and address problems. Please first identify any issues with Osan Schools to the principals and/or their administrative offices.
22.Why is DODEA limiting parent contact with teachers in classrooms? If we can’t visit would the school install CCTV in classrooms? When will Osan schools have an open house?
Under non-pandemic conditions, parents are welcome and encouraged to visit the schools. Research shows that allowing parents into the schools increases student performance. We hope for a quick return to pre-COVID conditions and DODEA will open Osan schools and welcome parents to visit the schools when HPCONs allow. There are many legal considerations for placing CCTV capabilities inside classrooms of DODEA schools and there are no plans to put cameras inside classrooms at this time.
DODEA policies limit in-person contact inside DODEA facilities in accordance with their COVID-19 mitigation plan and HPCON mitigation measures. These measures were established by DODEA Headquarters and local authorities have not been allowed to deviate from the world-wide policies.
23.Why aren’t civilians allowed to be on SAC councils?
Civilians are allowed to be SAC members at both OES and OMHS.
- Does DODEA provide crossing guards? Who owns the crosswalks en route for the kids to school? How to sign up as a cross-walk volunteer?
OES and OMHS have teachers and employees that perform functions similar to crossing guards on the school grounds but not off the school grounds. The installation provides traffic safety measures near schools such as signs, painted markings for crosswalks and school zones, and/or lights. Drivers and pedestrians are responsible for obeying traffic control and safety measures. Parents are responsible for getting their children to/from school or their designated school bus stop. The Osan SACs, PTOs, and 51st Mission Support Group is partnering to develop a crosswalk volunteer program. The goal is to increase safety of pedestrians by placing crossing guards at the primary crosswalks during the morning and afternoon peak pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Once the program is established we will publicize how volunteers can sign-up.
25.Why is DODEA allowing kids to share the plastic dividers but not letting them use water fountains or personal lockers?
All dividers are fully cleaned before issue and upon return for storage at mid-day. OMHS students are allowed to keep their plastic dividers all day if they choose to do so. DODEA faculty does not require students to keep the dividers all day because many dividers were lost or damaged when the ‘all-day’ divider policy was in place.
Drinking from water fountains is not allowed because it is too difficult to ensure the fountain is sanitized after a student has drank from the fountain directly into their mouth. However, filling stations are allowed for getting water in cups or water bottles.
Students may request a locker from OMHS faculty.
General or Questions not Related to Other Topics
- Do our kids have to attend on base? How can our children attend off base schools? Why is the 51st FW school liaison officer working so many requests to move children to off base schools? Is 51st FW leadership tracking all of these requests?
All parents have the right to place their children in off base schools and 51st FW leadership is aware that some parents have chosen to enroll their children in off base schools. However, these schools are generally considered to be private and tuition fees will be required in most cases. The decision to research, pursue, and enroll in off base schools is available to all Osan families. Please visit https://51fss.com/child-and-youth-education-services/ for information about school and child care options both on and off base.
- Can we get speed bumps to help cars slowdown in school zones?
The Osan Traffic Safety Working Group is currently exploring options to help enforce the speed limit within the school zone on Osan AB which includes speed bumps/humps. Additionally, we are looking into increasing the visibility of school zone markings, cross-walk awareness, and ways to increasing pedestrian safety in areas with high vehicle and pedestrian traffic intermingled.
28.What support is 51st FW offering parents during COVID-19?
The 51st FW offers several activities and support functions for parents. These options range from medical services to expanded youth sports programs to Airmen & Family Readiness Center initiatives to protecting our Osan bubble during the global pandemic. Please do not hesitate to reach out through your chain of command, ask any of our offices what services they provide, or inquire about a specific interest area you may have.
29.Is there plan for more parking on base?
There are multiple plans for short, mid, and long term parking solutions at Osan AB including additional parking garages. There is a parking lot under construction across from the Mustang Center and there will be two other parking spot efforts that will create spaces near the fitness center and along the road between the Enlisted Club and Officer’s Club.
30.From my understanding, some people will leave scooters at locations around base right before they PCS. Is there a place they are stored for pick up by anyone?
Unfortunately, this is a problem at Osan AB that comes with many legal components. We are pursuing the best way to combat this issue and looking for solutions that allow abandoned scooters to be repurposed, recycled, or offered to a new owner after the legal aspects have been addressed.
31.Are there plans to reopen the BX food court playground?
We are exploring options that would allow the BX food court playground to be open for residents use. The playground equipment was donated by an Osan private organization and the playground equipment does not belong to the exchange. In order for the playground to be open there must be a mechanism to clean, sanitize, and maintain the playground equipment that meets public health and COVID-19 tenant requirements.
32.There are stories that requests for DEROS extensions are being disapproved. If this is true, what is the main cause(s)?
Yes, to maximize the chances of a DEROS extension being approved, members should request DEROS extensions BEFORE they receive an assignment, ideally during their DEROS option window (10 months from DEROS). To address the reason for disapprovals, squadron commanders can disapprove DEROS extension requests but the final approval authority is respective AF Personnel Center assignment team. Disapprovals are most often based on manning requirements. For example, if keeping a member at Osan would cause a position to be overmanned for that particular skill-level/AFSC and the member has an assignment to a location that is hurting for manning, the DEROS extension request will very likely be disapproved.
- Is SFS logging ticket points? When will SFS start to enforce parking violations?
Yes, 51st SFS issues and tracks tickets in accordance with AF guidance for managing traffic issues at installations. Very soon, ticketed individuals will also receive stickers on their vehicle to indicate violations and will take pictures of the ticketed vehicles for historical tracking.
34.When will both sides of the ROK gate be used full time again?
The ROKAF controls operation of the ROK gate and must implement security measures in accordance with Korean guidance as well as the memorandum of agreement between the 51st FW and the Korean Air Force Operations Center. Under the current ROK Gate design, operating two lanes of traffic is by exception in an effort to address recurring unauthorized ‘gate-runners’ entering/exiting the installation.
35.Is volunteering allowed on base?
Yes, there are many volunteer activities available and many organizations that are always looking for volunteers.
- Can we also increase the weight limit for the pets on the patriot express with the Korean embargo for transporting giant kennels? Are more pet slots going to open up on patriot express?
We can request an increase for weight limits, kennels size, and available slots, however, U.S. Transportation Command ensures safe operation of the Patriot Express rotator, both for animals and passengers in accordance with FAA travel restrictions.