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How will I be contacted with updates?
The City continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and is working closely with the State of Illinois and CDC in order that timely and accurate information can be provided. Employees should check the HR website for up-to-date information at www.citylf.org. You can reach this site from any computer or mobile device (you may have to enter the “www” in the address).
Am I subject to being assigned to different work hours, shifts and/or locations and if so, how will I get paid?
Yes, for various reasons during this COVID-19 outbreak we all may be required to work different hours, shifts and/or at different locations.
During the COVID-19 outbreak can my supervisor cancel my vacation leave that has already been approved?
Yes. Your Department Head or designee has the authority to cancel any pre-approved vacation requests. Please communicate planned travel with your supervisor.
Does my supervisor have to approve my request to telecommute?
The Department Head or designee will make the determination on which employees are designated for telecommuting and who will be allowed to continue telecommuting now that buildings have reopened.
What do I do if my children's schools are not doing in-class learning?
We will continue to work with employees who are in this situation to insure that all can meet their responsibilities both at home and at work.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
For employment related matters, please contact Human Resources Director DeSha Kalmar at email@example.com or 847.810.3530. For questions specific to City services or operations, please contact the appropriate Department.
What assistance is available to me to help me cope with the emotional impact of a COVID-19 outbreak?
The City of Lake Forest provides resources to help employees cope with these types of life events through its Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provided through Family Service of Lake County, 847.432.4981 Ext. 200. They are offering clients phone or video sessions. For a phone session, you just need your phone. For a video session, you will need a Smartphone or other device that has a camera and microphone.
Will I still be able to get my prescriptions through mail order during this time?
Serve You says, “We are closely monitoring the potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the prescription drug supply chain. We continually monitor for new or updated information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on any drug product shortage. If a shortage for a specific medication were to occur, Serve You Rx will work with the patient, the prescriber, and the employer plan to identify a covered therapeutic alternative, address any other benefit needs, and provide other resources if necessary.
We know that members may also have concerns about accessing their medications if they are practicing social distancing or self-quarantining. We remind our members about the advantages of mail service provided by Serve You DirectRx Pharmacy for maintenance medications. Shipping is free, packaging is discreet, and members can receive up to a 90-day supply of their medication delivered to their door.
Members who are running low on drug supply may seek an early refill of their medication if they have concerns about running out. If the medication is a non-controlled substance, Serve You Rx will perform a one-time override authorizing an early refill. Members who would like help obtaining an early prescription refill can call Serve You Rx customer service at 800-759-3203 or work with their retail pharmacist.
Can I make changes to my Dependent Care flexible spending account due to day care centers and camps being closed?
Our recommendation is that you make the change to your dependent care account now by stopping your contributions, then start them up again once day care providers or camps resume. Do that by using this change form.
How does the Cares Act impact unemployment insurance for those part-time employees who haven’t been brought back to work yet due to COVID-19?
As of October 8, 2020, this has not been renewed by Congress.
Under Section 2014 of the Act, individuals who are otherwise eligible for unemployment benefits under state or federal law will receive $600 per week, in addition to their regular unemployment compensation under state law, through July 2020 (four months).
Under Section 2107, if individuals remain unemployed after their state employment benefits are exhausted, the federal government will fund up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits – thereby increasing to 39 weeks the 26-week maximum common under most states’ unemployment laws – at a weekly rate of $600 during that 13-week period.
Can my spouse come on the City’s insurance if s/he is laid off?
- Yes, the Plan will permit you or your dependent(s) who lose other coverage to enroll under the terms of the Plan, with coverage to be effective on the event date.
- If you were covered under your spouse’s plan and no longer have coverage, you can also join the City’s plan.
- If your spouse is expecting and lost her coverage, she can come on the City’s plan and the baby will be covered when born if added in a timely fashion.
- To add your dependents impacted by loss of other coverage, complete this change form
- This is also an opportunity to make changes to your dependent care flexible spending account if you need to at this time. Use this change form.
If an employee appears ill, can a supervisor inquire about the nature of the employee’s illness or send the employee home?
Supervisors have the right and responsibility to send employees home if they appear ill. The EEOC has said that employers can now make medical inquiries about whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms because this is a pandemic. The City’s position is that the Supervisor should notify Human Resources when any employee is sent home. Human Resources will provide guidance on appropriate inquires.
If diagnosed do I need a return to work note from the doctor?
The requirement of a doctor’s note may be waived if the employee shows that it is not possible to be seen by a physician due to no fault of the employee.
If I feel ill, where should I go for treatment?
Lake Forest Acute Care is taking patients. You should contact them (847-234-7950) before just walking in as they are trying to separate possible COVID cases.
You can also contact your own physician, who may see you through a telemedicine call and can direct you in the most appropriate actions for your symptoms. These calls are now covered by the City's health insurance.
Teledoc is an option if you are unsure about your symptoms. If they feel in-person treatment is needed, they will direct you:
Teledoc - talk to a doctor free anytime
Teladoc.com/mobile (download the app)
Government employees can receive free COVID testing. For more information, click here.
7-10-2020 Update: The Waukegan COVID-19 testing site at 102 W. Water Street is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. A private provider hired by the State has stepped in to run the facility. Thank you to the National Guard for all their service these last few months. The facility will continue to service both drive-thru and walk-in testing.
Does Workers Comp apply if I’m exposed at work?
Update 6-1-2020: The Illinois legislature has recently passed a new amendment to the Illinois Workers Compensation Act to provide a rebuttable presumption for essential employees who contract COVID-19. The law will go into effect retroactively to any employee who tested positive for COVID-19, or was diagnosed with it, on or after March 9, 2020. The most important provision of the law relates to employer practices regarding workplace sanitation, social distancing and PPE. The law defines PPE as “items such as face coverings, gloves, safety glasses, safety face shields, barriers, shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, coveralls, vests and full body suits.”
From IRMA: With the Illinois Legislature recently passing an amendment to the law, we now have more clarity. The new law makes it clear that, in order for a claim to be compensable under workers’ compensation, the worker must test positive for, or be diagnosed with, COVID-19. Starting on June 15, the law requires a positive test rather than just a diagnosis. Before June 15, a diagnosis is acceptable. While we at IRMA strive to find coverage and accept claims in most instances, we have an obligation to follow the law. Therefore, based on the language of this new law, an exposure alone is not compensable. For this reason, we will set up exposure reports as incidents and if the employee tests positive, we will convert it to a claim. So, for employees who have an exposure and are quarantined, their absence from work can be paid through use of accrued leave, including sick leave or leave under FFCRA. If the employee subsequently tests positive, the new law states that the employer does not have to retroactively pay TTD (temporary total disability), but instead the employer gets a credit against any TTD for the paid leave the employee received. The City has chosen to submit paperwork only when there is a positive test or diagnosis and not when there are exposures.
Does FMLA apply if: a) I contract COVID-19, b) my spouse or child contracts COVID-19 and I stay home to care for him/her?
Yes, as with any other illness, it is likely that confirmed cases of COVID-19 will qualify under FMLA.
If I have a family member at home who is sick with COVID-19, should I come to work?
No. Stay home and self-quarantine to prevent any possible transmission to others. If you are emergency personnel, contact your supervisor immediately. We recommending that you get tested as well. Current recommendations are the testing should be conducted 4-5 days following exposure. This waiting period reduces the risk of false-negatives. The testing is free to government employees. Check here for more detailed information.
Will my City health insurance cover medical expenses associated with treatment for COVID-19?
Yes. We have determined that we will reimburse COVID-19 services as follows:
1. Testing for COVID-19 will be reimbursed at 100% under the Medical Benefit Plan and
2. Medical treatments for the COVID-19 (such as doctor visits, hospitalizations etc.) will be paid same as any other illness under the plan.
3. Testing for antibodies will be covered at 100% if it is ordered by a medical professional.
COVID-19 Testing and Related Services
Legislation enacted by Congress requires group health plans to provide benefits in full for COVID-19 testing (no copays or member cost-sharing). Required coverage has been clarified to include:
COVID-19 testing, even if not FDA-approved. This includes serological tests for COVID-19 used to detect antibodies.
Diagnostic services and items provided during urgent care, emergency room, or in-person or telehealth provider visits that result in an order for or administration of COVID-19 testing. This includes blood tests and x-rays administered to rule out flu or pneumonia.
When available, COVID-19 preventive items, services, and immunizations that receive specified recommendations from the CDC’s United States Preventive Services Task Force.
Can employees be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face coverings, gloves, or gowns that are designed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19?
Update 7-10-2020: With the move to Phase 4 of the State's recovery plan, face coverings continue to be required. In addition, each City building has it's own requirements, most of which do require the wearing of face coverings when in common areas.
The City has purchased PPE for employees and developed guidelines for returning employees to work in our facilities. Contact your supervisor or department head for more information or if you are unsure about any requirements.
Recent studies show that a significant portion of people who are infected with the novel coronavirus do not have symptoms (“asymptomatic”). Some people who are infected will develop symptoms later (“pre-symptomatic”). Both asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people can transmit the virus to others in close proximity when they talk, sneeze, or cough.
Wearing a cloth face covering can help keep you from spreading COVID-19 to others. Even if you are wearing a cloth face covering when going out, please remember to continue to maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and others and wash your hands regularly.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
For employment related matters, please contact Human Resources Director DeSha Kalmar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847.810.3530. For questions specific to City services or operations, please contact your supervisor or the appropriate department.
Does FMLA apply if I choose to self-quarantine for the recommended 14 days?
No, at this time self-quarantining for a period of 14 days will not qualify under FMLA. We will update if anything changes.
Does FMLA apply if my child is out of school or daycare and I don’t have other daycare provisions?
Under the FFCRA (which expires 12/31/2020), FMLA provisions have been expanded under the new public health emergency leaves provisions. If the qualifying need to take leave means the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for a son or daughter under 18 years of age … if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency, then FMLA may apply. It is important to note that at this time FFCRA excludes emergency responders. Should this change, we will update the site.
Can I use sick leave if my child is out of school and I don’t have other day care provisions?
Under FFCRA’s Emergency Sick Leave Act, a fulltime employee who is not considered emergency personnel may be granted 80 hours of sick leave to care for a son or daughter if the school or place of care or the childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 procautions. This time is in addition to any other paid time off offered by the City. FFCRA excludes emergency personnel. Click here for the City's policy and flow chart.
What should I do if I have been around someone who contracts Covid-19 or if I begin to have Covid-like symptoms?
If you learn that you have been exposed to someone who has or may have Covid-19:
- Do not come to work!
- Advise your supervisor of the circumstances of your exposure:
- Has the exposure been from someone who is symptomatic or have they had a positive test result?
- How long ago was your exposure to this person?
- Were you wearing appropriate PPE at the time (face covering)?
- Be as specific as possible and provide as much information as possible.
- Begin thinking of who you have had close contact with at work and when that was. Per the CDC, close contact is within less than six feet without PPE for 10 minutes.
- Your supervisor will contact your department head, who will contact Human Resources Director DeSha Kalmar and specific actions will be determined based on the facts of the situation. Each situation will be slightly different, so this allows for the best possible response for your situation.
- You will be asked to self-quarantine until the results of the symptomatic person have been received. If those results are positive for Covid-19, then you must quarantine until you can be tested.
- Current guidelines recommend waiting 4-5 days following exposure before being tested in order avoid false negative results.
- If your job allows, you may work from home during this quarantine period. This must be approved by your supervisor and you would be expected to work a full work day.
- Steps will be taken to immediately sanitize the work area, any work surfaces, vehicles and tools.
If you are feeling ill with Covid-19 symptoms:
- Do not come to work!
- Advise your supervisor of your situation.
- Your supervisor will contact your department head, who will contact Human Resources Director DeSha Kalmar.
- Begin thinking of who you have had contact with at work and when that was. Per the CDC, close contact is within less than six feet without PPE.
- During this time, You should undergo active monitoring by your physician.
- Get tested for Covid-19 per your physician’s instructions.
- If your test is positive, contact your supervisor immediately and provide information on your contact with others in the workplace or community in order to perform contact tracing.
- You should self-quarantine until you have had no fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications), other symptoms have improved, and at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
- You must have a negative Covid-19 test prior to returning to work.
If I travel outside of Illinois, do I have to quarantine when I return?
As we all hear from news reports, certain states and countries are now Coronavirus hot spots and have seen huge increases in COVID-19 cases. Employees are urged to use caution in traveling to those places and to do so only if there is a need to go there.
Click here for an up to date travel map from the CDC. As of 12/23/2020, basically the entire United States is considered a hot spot.
If you choose to travel to a hot spot, you are encouraged to continue wearing face coverings, washing hands and practicing social distancing. Please be responsible. Remember, your choices could affect others. Click here for things to consider as you prepare to travel.
There is no state-wide mandate to self-quarantine if returning from a state or country listed as a hot spot. The City may require a self-quarantine period, depending on what you do during your travel or if you have a known exposure. You will be asked to take your temperature and answer the health questions as you enter our facilities, just like you do on a daily basis now.
When requesting a vacation, you may be asked to provide details of your plans, i.e., whether or not you plan to travel, mode of travel, location, expected activities, etc. Truthful response to these questions will help us determine whether quarantining is necessary upon your return. It will also help insure we protect co-workers as much as possible.
What is the typical quarantine period for an exposure or positive diagnosis?
Employees should immediately report a potential exposure or need to take a Covid-19 test to their supervisor. The supervisor will work with Human Resources to determine the necessary course of action, which the employee will be required to take. Each situation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Employees will be expected to comply.
The CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. However, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives:
Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. With this strategy, residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 1% with an upper limit of about 10%.
Quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays), but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than Day 8. In other words, the earliest they could test would be on Day 6.
With both options the following additional criteria through Day 14 must be met:
correct and consistent mask use (including within homes),
hand and cough hygiene,
environmental cleaning and disinfection,
ensuring adequate indoor ventilation,
monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 illness, and
minimizing contact with persons at increased risk for severe illness, including vulnerable and congregate populations.