The resumption of physical fitness tests for airmen and guardians, which had been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been delayed — again.
Rather than restart in April, which was the plan, Air Force officials announced that physical fitness tests will now resume in July. Commanders will also have the ability to push the tests back even further if necessary based on the recommendations of local public health officials.
“This is the right decision for our Airmen, to ensure we are getting after controlling the spread of COVID and ensuring we take the right steps to build a fitness lifestyle in our Air Force, rather than Airmen who can just pass a fitness test,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass said Thursday in a Facebook post.
Airmen can expect a few changes when they do take the physical fitness test assessment. The test will consist of three parts — a timed 1.5 mile run and one minute each of pushups and sit-ups — but will utilize a new three-part scoring table which will be broken down into age groups of five years rather than 10 years. Details regarding hiow the three components will be scored will be released in June, the Air Force said.
Furthermore, airmen will no longer be subjected to the waist measurement component of the test as a point-driven aspect, but it will be included to ensure airmen meet body composition requirements.
The Air Force is also examining several other options for strength and cardio components of the test, such as a 20-meter high aerobic multi-shuttle run, rowing ergometry, planks, burpees and more.
“We are also conducting a holistic review of policies associated with the physical fitness assessment program to determine if they are still a good fit for today’s Air Force,” Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in an Air Force news release. “This includes a review of who’s accountable for conducting our testing and how it gets administered.”
This isn’t the first time the PT test has been delayed due to COVID-19. The PT test was slated to resume in October 2020, then January 2021, and then April 2021. But for now, it appears airmen will have to wait a few months longer.
The Air Force said airmen can complete a diagnostic or mock test, and use that as an official score if they pass. In the event they do not pass, the score will not be held against them.
Space Force guardians will also be subject to these guidelines until the service creates its own fitness standards.