Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Military medical training continues during COVID-19

Students and instructors in the METC Respiratory Therapist program practice safe distancing and wear face coverings while training with mechanical ventilators. (Photo by Oscar Lopez) Students and instructors in the METC Respiratory Therapist program practice safe distancing and wear face coverings while training with mechanical ventilators. (Photo by Oscar Lopez)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

FORT SAM HOUSTON – While military and civilian health care workers around the globe do their part in the fight against COVID-19, the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) is preparing the future enlisted medical force to provide critical support to these front-line providers.

Located on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, METC’s mission - to train the world's finest medics, corpsmen and technicians - is vital to force readiness and the nation. The tri-service schoolhouse facilitates training for nearly 50 allied health career fields for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

As students graduate many will augment active duty, guard and reserve component military medical teams in the COVID-19 response effort. Whether heading to new assignments around the world or returning home to support their local communities, these new graduates will be ready.

Students and instructors in the METC Respiratory Therapist program practice safe distancing and wear face coverings while training with mechanical ventilators. (Photo by Oscar Lopez)
Students and instructors in the METC Respiratory Therapist program practice safe distancing and wear face coverings while training with mechanical ventilators. (Photo by Oscar Lopez)

Establishing precautions to safeguard the health and safety of METC students and staff in the training environment is paramount to the mission.

“As we support the METC mission, we are concurrently strengthening the service components in their mission to ensure METC trainees safely meet the challenges that will be asked of them as military allied health professionals,” stated Navy Capt. Thomas Herzig, METC commandant.  

To mitigate potential risk, METC, by working closely with the Army, Navy, and Air Force, sought opportunities to meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines, whether it be by spacing students 6 feet apart in the classroom and labs, transitioning to distance learning, or other mitigating strategies.

METC’s Respiratory Therapist (RT) program has mitigated risk by successfully transitioning to online learning in conjunction with other measures.  

“RT students are distance learning by utilizing Joint Knowledge Online to deliver lectures and testing,” stated Oscar Lopez, the program’s director of clinical education.

Lopez explained that when practical exercises are scheduled, the class is divided into two or three smaller groups and each group is assigned a different time slot for hands-on practice. Students and instructors are spread out among the various lab rooms in order to maintain appropriate distancing while wearing face coverings to conduct the practical exercise.

Because RT students are prior enlisted and therefore more senior, they tend to live off post and can engage in distance learning from their residence.

However, some programs are too large for the infrastructure to support online learning. To work around that issue, some of the larger programs, like the Department of Combat Medic Training, have turned to implementing split training shifts. Half of the students conduct training from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the second half trains from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

By split training there are fewer students sharing classroom and lab space, allowing them to maintain at least 6 feet of separation while also wearing face coverings for further protection.

Other steps have also been taken to protect students and staff members. “To promote social distancing and assist with minimizing contact within common areas, breakrooms within the medical instructional facilities have been closed until further notice,” stated Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Barr, METC senior enlisted adviser. “We also expanded some “no cover, no salute” areas in the outdoor courtyards to provide students more area to spread out.”

Barr said all formal graduation ceremonies have been suspended as well.

Transitioning an entire course from classroom to online during a short span of time, as well as the hands-on aspect of the curriculum, can make social distancing in any form a complicated task but Herzig had no doubt that METC could do it.

“The dedication and professionalism of our uniformed, civilian, and contractor personnel during this time is truly inspiring,” he declared. “It may not be ‘business as usual’, but they have all demonstrated these last weeks that we can adapt and still achieve success during this crisis.”

You also may be interested in...

It’s Not Over Yet: Some COVID Safety Precautions Remain Necessary

Article
7/22/2021
a crowd of people

Returning to society when fully vaccinated is great but keep that mask handy

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

How COVID-19 fast-tracked innovation in the Military Health System

Article
7/20/2021
Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 test

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of healthcare delivery, the Military Health System responded with new and innovative ways to fight the disease and deliver safe, quality care to patients.

Recommended Content:

Health Innovation Month | Innovation | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Got Your 6

Video
7/16/2021
Got your 6

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil. Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID vaccinations rise -- but so do concerns of the Delta variant

Article
7/1/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask preparing a COVID-19 vaccine

MHS expected to reach 70% COVID-10 vaccination rate in July.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Battle Against the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Video
6/29/2021
COVID-19 Delta war infographic

Like our enemies in the past, the coronavirus has adapted and we're now dealing with the most transmissible variant yet, Delta. The fight can be won with vaccination. If you're not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus, go get your shot today. Otherwise you're at high risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic stating that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. The variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

The Delta Variant: Are You Protected?

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic with the title, “Are you Protected?” and the TRICARE logo on the bottom right. States that the Delta variant of the virus is spreading and that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective against the Delta Variant. If you've received your first dose, don't forget to get your second dose.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: Fact Check

Infographic
6/28/2021
A Fact Check graphic. Features a quote in the center of the graphic and states that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. This variant spreads easily, with increased rates of sickness and hospitalization.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: Stop the Spread

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic describing the Delta variant. Includes three bullet points describing the variant and a link to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine and includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right.

The Delta variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low. Visit www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine to learn more.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

New COVID-19 Delta Variant: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Article
6/28/2021
Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Delta variant spreading rapidly; it’s time to get vaccinated

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Delta Variant

Got Your 6: June 26, 2021

Video
6/25/2021
Got Your 6 Infographic

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Delta Variant

The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Video
6/25/2021
COVID-19 infographic

Are you a service member age 18 to 30? Are you unvaccinated? You may be entitled to severe disease, hospitalization, and death. To avoid these options, get vaccinated today!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant

Army’s 773rd administers mobile COVID-19 testing during DEF21

Article
6/4/2021
Three military personnel, wearing masks and lab coats, pose for a picture in an Albanian lab.

Approximately 800 Army Reserve soldiers from the U.S. and Europe participated in DEFENDER-Europe 21.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Readiness Capabilities

Mental Health Panel Discusses Impact of COVID-19

Article
6/3/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask speaking on a panel

Walter Reed Bethesda hosts mental health panel to discuss the impacts of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness

Based on data, MHS experts encourage vaccines for adolescents

Article
6/1/2021
Sister and brother smiling at each other

With the Pfizer vaccine approved for youth ages 12 to 15, MHS adolescents are lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health | Vaccine Eligibility
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 68

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.