Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army will suspend use of its new fitness test as a requirement for graduation from training programs, citing COVID-19 concerns, it said on Wednesday.
A new version of the six-event Army Combat Fitness Test went into effect last week. The Army will encourages taking and passing the strength and fitness test, but the requirement to successfully complete it will be delayed until at least September 2021, the end of the fiscal year, Army officials told Stars and Stripes.
Suspension of the use of the test comes as the Army acknowledged constraints on training and testing due to the quarantining, social distancing and other protections required during COVID-19 pandemic, Megan Reed, spokesperson for the Army's Center for Initial Military Training at Fort Eustis, Va., told Army Times.
While the test, regarded since Oct. 1 as the Army's physical test of record, will still be administered, its successful completion is not required to advance from Army enlisted, officer or warrant officer training, Reed said.
The new test supersedes the decades-old, three-event Army Physical Fitness Test. It tests recruits in the deadlift, the standing power throw, pushups, the sprint-drag-carry, the leg tuck and a two-mile run carrying full combat gear.
The change brings fitness test policy for initial trainees in accord with similar fitness policies throughout the Army.
The delay for completion of the new test applies to Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, One Station Unit Training, Warrant Officer Basic Course and the Basic Officer leader course.
While the new test won't need to be completed, recruits in Basic Combat Training will still be required to pass an obstacle course, hand-to-hand combat training and a 10-mile march, Army officials said.