After postponing all physical fitness assessments back in March due to COVID-19, the United States Navy has announced that it will resume PFAs exactly one year later.
“We’re looking at for the PFA, based upon feedback and risk-to-mission, risk-to-force, right?" chief of Naval Personnel vice adm. John Nowell Jr. said during a Facebook live “town hall” event Tuesday. "Risk-to-mission — we’ve gone a year without it, so we know that we really do need to go ahead and get that going again.”
Sailors had begun preparing for PFAs to begin in January of 2021, but as COVID-19 cases continued to spike, the Navy has opted to wait until March.
“January is still right in the middle of flu season and so we are close to the formal approval to go ahead and get the word out that we will do one cycle next year,” Nowell said. “It will start toward the middle of March — so after flu season, when it’s warm enough — as we look at doing it for about six months, through September, so you can get outside and do it, mitigate that risk.”
Sailors will have to prepare for new modifications to the PFA, including rowing, as well as planks in lieu of curl ups.
“We’re going to do planks, not curl ups, so you won’t be in someone’s face … that then kind of keeps you pretty safe,” Nowell said, according to Navy Times.
Nowell said that even in the absence of the PFAs, sailors have been encouraged to continue to stay fit.
“Canceling the PRT should not be seen as an excuse to not exercise whenever and wherever possible,” Nowell said in a video in July. “Do some planks at home, go jogging, eat healthy … whatever you need to do to do your best to stay in shape and within our physical fitness standards is what we expect you to do.”