COVID-19 Resources

During these challenging times, it’s crucial that workers have access to the resources they need. The materials below are to help you navigate this pandemic.

Vaccine and Mask Mandates

Gov. Pritzker issued an executive order requiring all healthcare, PreK-12, and higher education workers to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing (Details below). PLEASE NOTE: This order does not supersede stricter vaccination mandates set by employers. For example, if an employer like CPS or the City of Chicago is requiring vaccination as a condition of returning to work, then employees may not have the ability to do testing instead of being vaccinated.

CPS: Students, teachers, and staff will be required to wear face coverings and social distance while indoors this upcoming academic year. All CPS employees who are not fully vaccinated must be tested weekly.

City Colleges of Chicago: All persons must continue to wear masks when entering and exiting CCC buildings, in all common areas, including lobbies, elevators, hallways and restrooms, and when people cannot maintain six feet of distance. Unvaccinated persons should wear a face covering at all times.

Chicago State University: Starting Aug. 23, all employees will be required to be vaccinated or demonstrate progress towards full vaccination. Those who aren’t have to be tested for COVID each week. Beginning Aug. 5, 2021, all CSU students, faculty, and staff, whether vaccinated or not, are required to wear masks indoors when on University property. The only exception to this is for vaccinated individuals alone in their private work or living spaces.

First Student Collinsville and Galesburg: All employees will be required to be vaccinated.

Governor’s State University: Masking indoors is required, even for those fully vaccinated, including in classrooms, except when alone in a private office or personal residence hall room, or when an individual has a medical condition, disability or other reason that prevents them from safely wearing a face mask.

Illinois Institute of Technology: All students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors must wear face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The university’s face covering policy will be updated accordingly.

Illinois State University: Face coverings are required for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on campus. Students, faculty and staff also have to provide proof they are vaccinated. Those who aren’t have to be tested for COVID each week. 

Jewish Federation (JUF, JCC, JCFS, and CJE): All employees are required to be vaccinated, with the exception of JCC J@School workers who must follow CPS’ current policy. Employees are required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Knox College: All employees will be required to be vaccinated.

Loyola University: Requires students, faculty, and staff to receive a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible. 

Northwestern University: All faculty, staff and students are required to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Regardless of vaccine status, everyone is required to wear a mask in all indoor campus environments, even if they can socially distance, except when in a private office, personal residence or residence hall room, or when eating or drinking. Faculty who are fully vaccinated and who are teaching in-person may do so without a mask, provided they maintain appropriate distancing.

Southern Illinois University: Requiring face masks be worn in shared spaces indoors such as lobbies, hallways and classrooms, regardless of vaccination status.

Illinois Secretary of State: Secretary of State has noted that nearly all locations, particularly those where the public are serviced, will be shut down beginning Monday, January 3, 2022, through January 17. During this time period, workers will be paid fully. Upon return, please note that the vaccination/testing requirements below will still be in place.

If you are not vaccinated, starting Sept. 1 you will need to be tested every 2 weeks.  For this first date, you will need to get a test on your own time within 72 hours of Sept. 1 (for M-F employees that clock starts Friday, for T-Sat employees, 72 hours start Saturday.)  Any professionally administered test is acceptable, SOS has posted a link to free test sites on ABE, but you can also check out to find the local provider.

For the next date of Sept. 13, employees will be able to use one hour of AA time (like has been the case to get the vaccine), you just need to work with your management to arrange a date/time in the 72 hour window.

Masks are mandatory in all SoS locations.

University of Chicago: Requires faculty, staff, and students to be fully vaccinated and boosted before returning to campus this fall. Unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals are required to wear a face covering over the nose and the mouth at all times while in University buildings

University of Illinois: University of Illinois System will require employees be vaccinated for the upcoming semester. Individuals who are still working through their vaccination process or unable to be vaccinated will be able to use robust SHIELD testing, along with mask wearing and specific protocols established by each university, to be cleared to participate in campus activities.

City of Chicago: All City employees are required to receive:

1. First Shot by December 31, 2021:  Employees will be deemed in compliance so long as they get their first shot (J&J, Pfizer or Moderna) by December 31. In other words, employees now have until December 31, 2021 to get their first shot and will NOT be placed in unpaid status.

2. Second Shot by January 31, 2022:  If employees choose the 2-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, they must get the second shot by January 31, 2022 to be in compliance. In other words, if employee got their first shot by December 31, 2021 and their second shot by January 31, 2022, they will have complied with the policy and will NOT be placed in unpaid status.

3. If employee has made a good faith attempt to schedule and receive the first shot by December 31, 2021, the employee may present evidence of that to be excused for some short delay past the December 31 deadline for the 1st shot.  Disputes will be resolved by the Arbitrator on a case-by-case, expedited basis. However we recommend that employees not count on receiving any exception to the December 31, 2021 deadline for the first shot, and should make every effort to get their first shot by December 31 to avoid being placed into unpaid status.

4. An employee who has submitted an exemption application by December 8, 2021, shall be excused from the vaccination requirement until the application is resolved.  If the application is denied, the employee shall have six weeks from the date of receipt of the denial to comply with the “vaccination requirements.” 

State of Illinois: All healthcare workers, including workers at public and private nursing homes, must get vaccinated. Teachers and staff at pre-k-12 schools as well as personnel and students at higher education institutions are required to receive the vaccine. Workers and students in applicable settings must receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by September 19, 2021. Second doses of the vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose.

Workers who do not receive the vaccine or those who opt out for medical reasons or based on a sincerely held religious belief must follow a routine testing schedule to detect cases early and prevent further spread. Testing will be required a minimum of once per week in schools and healthcare facilities. The frequency of testing may be required to increase in the event of positive cases.

Healthcare, school workers, and higher education personnel and students attending in-person classes who do not provide proof of vaccination will be prevented from entering healthcare and educational facilities unless they follow the required testing protocol.

Mask requirement for everyone in state-run facilities, including those who are vaccinated. Masks are required in all PreK-12 schools and day cares by students and staff. Statewide indoor mask mandate.

Federal: All federal employees (except U.S. Postal Service workers) and on-site contractors will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be required to wear masks and undergo repeated testing.

All government employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt out. The same standard is applied to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.

Educators in federal Head Start programs must be vaccinated.

Health care workers at facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid must be fully vaccinated, including hospitals, home care facilities and dialysis centers around the country.

Path Out of the Pandemic: COVID-19 Action Plan | Camino para salir de la pandemia: Plan de acción COVID-19

Retroactive FEMA Reimbursements for COVID Funeral Expenses

Starting Monday, April 12, those who lost loved ones to COVID-19 will be able to apply for retroactive reimbursements for burial costs. Applicants can receive up to $9,000 per burial.

The deceased’s documentation status is not considered, but the applicants must be U.S. citizens, legal residents, asylees, refugees, or non-citizen nationals.

To apply, you must call 844-684-6333.  The call center will be open from 7am to 7pm ET, starting April 12.

Before you call, please collect relevant documentation. The applicant(s) must provide: 

  • a copy of the death certificate. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely a result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are also considered sufficient.
  • proof of funeral expenses incurred. Documentation (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) must include the applicant’s name as the responsible person for the expense, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and that funeral expenses were incurred after January 20, 2020

Please note, FEMA will only award COVID-19 funeral assistance for a deceased individual on a single application. If multiple individuals contribute toward funeral expenses, they should register under a single application as applicant and co-applicant.

For examples of eligible funeral expenses and for more information, click here

Vaccination Information

COVID-19 Vaccine Roundtable featuring members from across the union asking questions about vaccine development, efficacy and safety to Alicia Fernandez, M.D., a Professor of Medicine at UCSF and a general internist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. The English video was moderated by EVP Leslie Frane and the Spanish video was moderated by EVP Rocio Saenz.

Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC) webinar with AFT, SEIU, and AFSCME on COVID-19 vaccinations. This webinar will include Dr. Peter Marks (FDA), Dr. Nancy Messonnier (CDC), and Dr. Patricia Whitley-Williams (CDC). December 2, 2020.

State Specific Resources

COVID Paid Sick Time: Governor Pritzker has moved to allow people who have to skip work because they have coronavirus to collect pay, even if their job doesn’t come with paid sick leave. Those who are unemployed due to sickness can collect unemployment insurance, “to the full extent permitted by federal law.”

Union Health Service (UHS): If you or your family uses Union Health Services (UHS), please call (312) 423-4200 before showing up. A professional will advise you on the best course of action.COVID-19 Testing: For testing sites in Illinois, click here

Unemployment: To apply for unemployment insurance, visit the Illinois Department of Employment Security website and their FAQ here. For a step-by-step video guide on applying for unemployment in IL, click here.

ComEd Payment Assistance ComEd provides payment assistance and arrangements for customers who may experience financial hardship. Visit their website for more information.

Food: To apply for SNAP benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Medicaid, visit the Illinois Department of Human Services website.

To receive COVID-19 text alerts from Cook County, text AlertCook to 888777