Local resources available during the pandemic

Image+of+food+alongside+a+box+of+masks+and+hand+sanitizer.%0AStudents+can+pick+up+food+at+Morton+East.+Testing+locations+require+the+use+of+a+mask+and+will+provide+hand+sanitizer.+

Angelica Contreras

Image of food alongside a box of masks and hand sanitizer. Students can pick up food at Morton East. Testing locations require the use of a mask and will provide hand sanitizer.

Angelica Contreras, Reporter

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and cases are surging once more, local communities have taken measures that aid families impacted by the virus.

The town of Cicero is among these small communities and has offered free resources for families in need, one being COVID-19 testing sites. According to the Access Community Health Network, currently, the nearest COVID-19 testing site in the town of Cicero is located near the Cicero marketplace (Hawthorne). Its hours of operation are Mondays through Fridays, opening at 12 pm and closing at 4pm. Beforehand, try to appoint a time to visit since the location does not accept walk-ins, as it is a clinic. Interestingly, the testing is free for those without insurance or are unable to pay, but one thing to note, if one has insurance it will be charged into the plan since it is in correlation to the Telehealth visit. Until now, the results from the test arrive at approximately two to four business days. Because Cicero is offering multiple resources, the community commits to its responsibility in learning and raising awareness towards these resources. Morton East High School is offering support for its students by allowing food pick-ups during the school’s office hours, from 11:30 am-12:20 pm, and offer emotional support resources. The resources for Morton East can be found through the school’s website. However, even with these resources mentioned, there is a mix of people that are aware of resources in their community. In a random survey conducted on Morton East students, 79% of students are aware of resources while 21% of students are not aware.

Among the minority group of students, a junior student, Cristal Santiago, claimed to lack awareness of the available resources within her community, “I don’t. Maybe because I don’t watch any type of news is the reason to why I’m not aware of any type of free resources.”

At times, COVID-19 support tends to go unnoticed because of the way the message is spread throughout the community, since not all news reaches everyone. Some resources are more difficult to reach, not only because people aren’t aware of announcements for these free resources, but because of the location of some individuals where their community may lack support. Luckily, this is not always the case.

In addition, the majority of students that are aware of a few local COVID-19 resources available in the community claim to have some knowledge of the different types of resources available.

“I know a few. I guess mainly through the school, like the resources that they’re offering such as the free meals (meal pickups), free internet for those who need it, and free testing locations in the area,” Morton College student, Marcella Contreras, answered.

Furthermore, there are multiple approaches one can take to access these resources.

“I know that there are quite a few resources for the families in Cicero. The important thing for students to do is ask the school for help.  Carol Best, one of our assistant principals, would be a great person to contact.  She can put families in touch with the right resources — whether for financial assistance, medical or social emotional issues, homelessness. And, if you can’t remember her name, just tell your teachers and they will put you into contact with someone,” journalism teacher Kent Frankfother said.