WASHINGTON - The military's Transition Assistance and Yellow Ribbon Reintegration programs are changing to decrease the potential of transmission of the coronavirus, officials in Washington announced.

Due to the worldwide nature of the Defense Department and the virus outbreak is in different stages in different parts of the globe, The Military-Civilian Transition Office is asking commanders and supervisors to adapt the programs in their regions to fit the coronavirus situation.

A memo from the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness addressed the situation. "This outbreak is dynamic and manifests differently by location, setting, population and individual," the memo says. "As a result, responses [to the coronavirus] will need to be flexible, tailored and incremental."

The rescheduling of Transition Assistance Program events are service-specific, at the discretion and decision of commanders and based on DOD guidance. Final decisions on TAP events are up to commanders, but the recommendations are to reduce class sizes and follow the Centers for Disease Control recommendations on gatherings and the need for social distancing.

The Military-Civilian Transition Office also recommends shifting as much of the program as possible into the virtual world.

"We understand the impact COVID-19 has on the community as a whole and the unique challenges it presents in regard to TAP service delivery," said Tamre Newton, director of the Military-Civilian Transition Office. "The guidance issued by OUSD P and R gives commanders the flexibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of transitioning service members, their families and caregivers while still ensuring they receive the resources and transition support they require for a successful transition to civilian life."

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is for reserve component service members. The program has released an online event tool, available at www.YellowRibbon.mil. The tool is designed to provide deployment-cycle support to reserve component service members and their families in situations in which they are unable to attend in-person events.

"While this tool is not a replacement for in-person events, it is meant to be a fallback for situations when there is simply no other alternative," said Peter Toelle, chief of program.

Service members and their families, resource providers and community partners who are registered to attend upcoming in-person Yellow Ribbon events will receive status updates through their reserve component representatives. Registered attendees can also access the confirmation link provided at the time of registration.

"YRRP's mission doesn't change if in-person events are temporarily restricted," said Toelle. "National Guard and reserve service members continue to mobilize, so we will continue to provide support throughout the deployment cycle regardless of the format."

Connecticut Media Group