As government leaders assess when to reopen the economy amid coronavirus concerns, senior miliary commanders are considering the long-term effects of the pandemic.
The Fort Knox U.S. Army base in Kentucky was among the first in the nation to close its schools because of the virus, and continues to use measures like virtual training to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Maj Gen. John Evans Jr. is the commanding officer at Fort Knox. He said he's communicating with state officials, and looking to the Dept. of Defense to determine the best steps for his command.
"They [the DoD] give guidance that we must adhere to. But they also provide latitude to the senior commanders at every installation to place additional measures in place depending on the specific sitatuations at the installation," Evans Jr. said.
As of Monday morning, there were 64 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the six county region surrounding Fort Knox, according to the Lincoln Trail District Health Department.
Evans Jr. said his command is taking note of those changes for what he predicts will be a future akin to the period after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.
"We had to change a lot about the way we did things. But we found a way to operate in that environment. We found a way not just to survie, but to thrive, Evans Jr. said. "It's going to be incumbent upon us to settle into a new normal when this is over with, and then make sure we don't forget the lessons that we're learning right now."
He said, though the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on society and the economy, there are educational opportunities available for the future.
It's unclear when COVID-19 restrictions at Fort Knox will be eased.