Civil Air Patrol’s National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith issued a memo on May 18, 2021, with updated guidance for CAP members regarding COVID-19 precautions. Essentially, it allows fully vaccinated CAP members to participate in in-person activities without social distancing or the need to wear a mask. Members must continue to abide by any more restrictive state/local/tribal/territorial guidelines that remain in place.
The full text of the memo follows:
18 May 2021
MEMORANDUM FOR ALL UNIT COMMANDERS
SUBJECT: Policy on Vaccinated Members and Public Health Measures
1. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made a significant change in the U.S. mask and public health policy in relationship to vaccination and the pandemic. This change is based on scientific, data-supported evidence that vaccinated individuals are both at low risk of becoming infected and of developing severe illness if infected. In addition, recent studies have indicated that infected but previously vaccinated individuals are unlikely to represent a significant risk of contagion for other, non-vaccinated individuals.
2. Assuming there are no more restrictive state/local/tribal/territorial guidelines for the locality, CAP is changing its policy to align with the evolving CDC policy regarding members who have been fully vaccinated (which is, by CDC definition, at least two weeks after completing the full course of vaccination with one of the currently approved vaccines). Where more restrictive guidelines exist, CAP policy will defer to local guidelines.
3. The new CAP guidelines concerning masking and other public health measures are as follows:
a. Fully vaccinated members will no longer be required to wear masks indoors or outdoors while at CAP activities, assuming there are no more restrictive state/local/tribal/territorial guidelines for the locality.
b. Unvaccinated members, including all cadets who have not yet been fully vaccinated, will be required to wear masks, practice social distancing, and continue all other public health measures recommended by the CDC or state/local/tribal/territorial public health entity for the locality.
c. HSOs, Safety Officers, or a Commander’s/Director’s designee will continue regular health screenings. If a member voluntarily discloses that they are not vaccinated the member will be expected to wear a face mask and continue to socially distance.
4. If the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to remain low, embracing the CDC guidance will allow CAP the opportunity to safely retain and recruit members due to the increased opportunity for summer activities, as well as incentivize members to get vaccinated, which supports the national strategy to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. The risk of COVID-19 variants remains a very real possibility due to the lower-than-expected number of people who elected for vaccination. As our policy is changing, we are mindful that it is possible a future COVID-19 variant may escape vaccination protection, which would require the reapplication of masking for all members. For reference, please see the Frequently Asked Questions document found on the Remobilization web page.
6. Finally, for those members who have been performing essential missions during these challenging times, you have done exceptional work while observing precautions and public health requirements. I am enormously proud of all of you! Keep up the great work!
MARK E. SMITH Major General, CAP