The Navy has postponed the resumption of physical fitness assessments yet again.

Rather than restart in March, the Navy is now planning to complete one PFA cycle in 2021, starting in July, according to a NAVADMIN released Jan. 27. This aims to avoid flu season and allow more sailors to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the Navy said.

“In order to continue to mitigate COVID-19 impacts to the Fleet, the Navy will conduct one PFA cycle in CY2021 from 1 July to 31 December 2021,” the NAVADMIN message states.

“Shifting the PFA cycle to July allows the Navy to execute the official PFA after the primary influenza season while allowing time for COVID-19 vaccines to be more widely distributed,” the NAVADMIN said.

The service first cancelled the spring PFA in March 2020 due to concerns related to COVID-19, and then announced in July that it would nix the PFA for the remainder of 2020.

Although the service was aiming to resume the PFA in January, Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr., the chief of naval personnel, said in November that the Navy was holding off until the spring to pick the PFA up again and would complete one cycle in 2021.

“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,” Nowell said during a Facebook live “town hall” event in November.

The pandemic has only worsened since then, though vaccinations are bringing hope of a return to normaility. The Navy said in its latest NAVADMIN that it will continue to monitor conditions to guarantee the physical readiness test can be executed safely, and may release further guidance if necessary.

Additionally, the service said sailors have the opportunity to regain eligibility for advancement or retention through mock or official PFAs before the end of the year if they’ve previously had PFA failures. It’s up to commanding officers to decide how many mock PFA attempts to give a sailor to pass before the end of 2021.

“Since the Navy is only conducting one PFA cycle during 2021, all Sailors with PFA failures, including those with two or more consecutive PFA failures, may regain eligibility for advancement or retention by passing a mock or official PFA prior to 31 December 2021,” the NAVADMIN said.

When sailors do take the PRT later this year, they will no longer conduct curl-ups and instead, will complete planks to evaluate core strength. The NAVADMIN said that curl-ups are barred from group PT and any mock PFAs.

In the event a sailor does not meet the minimum score to pass the plank portion of the PRT, sailors will not receive a fail for the 2021 PRT — if they pass the push-ups and cardio events, and the body composition assessment. This arrangement is in place only for the 2021 PRT, however, the Navy said.

Starting this year, sailors may also opt to complete a 2,000-meter row as one of the cardio events. The PRT will start with push-ups, then the forearm plank, and conclude with the cardio event, the Navy said.

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