Hey Grinch, NORAD is tracking Santa despite coronavirus

New York Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Brady King of the 224th Air Defense Squadron studiously prepares for Santa tracking operations during recent training at the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome. A headquarters unit of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), EADS supports the NORAD Tracks Santa operation every year.
New York Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Brady King of the 224th Air Defense Squadron studiously prepares for Santa tracking operations during recent training at the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome. A headquarters unit of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), EADS supports the NORAD Tracks Santa operation every year. Photo credit Capt. Jason Cole, 224th Air Defense Squadron.

The NORAD Tracks Santa program is up and running as the agency prepares to track the Jolly Old Elf for the 65th year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

However, some adjustments are being made to safely carry out the special mission of tracking Santa, according to a release.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website, social media pages, a new mobile app and partner platforms will again be an important part of the program allowing children around the world to track Santa.

The NORAD Tracks Santa call center is being adapted due to ongoing public health concerns during an increase in COVID-19 cases. This year, only a small number of volunteers will be answering the NORAD Tracks Santa toll-free number, 1-877-Hi-NORAD, on Dec. 24. Callers who cannot reach one of these volunteers will receive a recorded update on Santa's current location.

“While NORAD understands the call center is an important tradition for many families around the world, we reduce the health risks posed by attempting to conduct a large indoor, in-person call center during the pandemic,” the release reads. “NORAD is committed to tracking Santa while keeping our military, their families, and our dedicated call center volunteers safe.”

Santa trackers can click here or use new mobile apps to get up-to-the-minute Santa statistics. These apps are available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Fans can also track Santa with a variety of other NORAD Tracks Santa partners, including OnStar and Amazon Alexa.

The online and social media experience wient live on Dec. 1 and will provide information and games to get everyone ready for the big night.

NORAD Tracks Santa will also provide daily updates on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com

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