Alliance of religious schools in Cook County arranges for vaccines for all full-time employees

Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read

Religious leaders from Catholic, Jewish and Lutheran schools in Chicago and suburban Cook County are joining forces beginning this week to provide COVID-19 vaccines for 6,300 educators and school employees, officials said Tuesday.

The new Alliance of Faith Based Schools plans to partner with the Chicago and Cook County departments of public health and Loyola University Medical Center to provide coronavirus vaccines to full-time employees in their private schools, officials said in a news release.

“We created this alliance from our common commitment to the health and safety of our educators and their students,” Justin Lombardo, chief human resources officer for the Archdiocese of Chicago and co-chair of its COVID-19 Task Force, said in the release.

“We were able to come together to protect the health of our teachers and school staffs who have been coming into the schools and working hard during this pandemic,” Lombardo said.

Rabbi Shlomo Soroka, director of government relations at Agudath Israel of Illinois, said in the release the group aims to ensure that “all school personnel, regardless if they work at a public, private or charter school, are treated as essential workers who deserve equal and timely access to the vaccine.”

“We are stronger together and working with our wonderful partners at the Archdiocese, who led the creation of this alliance, demonstrates that,” Soroka said

Officials said school employees will receive emails in the coming days with specific registration details, with the plan including school employees who work in Cook County, including Chicago. Employees in Lake County “have already begun receiving the vaccine through the Lake County Health Department,” according to the release.

All full-time employees of schools in the alliance will receive the vaccine, regardless of job title, officials said.

While employees are not required to get the vaccine, they are being “encouraged to do so,” according to the release.

Vaccinations will be provided at four sites:

Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S. 1st Ave., Maywood;

Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 701 W. North Ave., Melrose Park;

MacNeal Hospital, 3249 S. Oak Park Ave., Berwyn;

Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary Hebrew Day school, 3200 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago.