CAP Tightens Anti-COVID Precautions in South Dakota
Rapid City - South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol has tightened procedures due to the upswing of COVID-19 cases in the state. The heightened safety precautions align with the national CAP policy about virus safety.
“CAP’s national team set levels of precautions and criteria for changing when COVID first came on the scene, and those criteria are still in effect,” said Col. Michael Marek, South Dakota Wing commander. “Like our parent organization, the US Air Force, our objective is to remain mission ready. For CAP, that means not having people sick so we can be effective in our Air Force operational missions, preserving the effectiveness of our youth program, and maintaining aerospace education for our members and others.”
Until COVID cases in the state drop back downward, face-to-face meetings will be limited in size and proper masking will be required, according to Marek. In that context, almost all regular functions will continue, including aircrew and ground team proficiency training and weekly meeting night activities, he said. Where possible, meetings will be hybrid, with high-risk members able to participate online.
”A CAP advisory team composed of medical and public health experts monitors current trends of both infectiveness and disease severity across the country and advises the National CAP Commander as it develops risk management strategies,” explained Dr. Mark K. Huntington, South Dakota Wing member, Professor at USD Sanford School of Medicine, and part of CAP’s national Health Services Advisory Team.
CAP is the civilian auxiliary of the Air Force, with responsibilities that are part of the USAF’s support to civil authorities to save lives, relieve suffering, prevent property damage and provide humanitarian assistance. CAP in South Dakota has close to 400 members and units in Brookings, Custer, Miller/Faulkton, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish and Tea. The enhanced COVID precautions will help the organization’s readiness to deploy its six aircraft, ground teams, and small search drones to assist in disaster response and other support to local, state, tribal and federal agencies.