Chicago Public Schools: Your Role While Schools Are Closed

Brothers and sisters, The letter below was sent to all CPS staff on March 16. We are posting it on the Local 73 site to make sure everyone receives the information. Included are the following resources:


Dear CPS Staff,

As you know, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will close schools beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. Classes are currently scheduled to resume on Tuesday, March 31. School-sponsored activities and field trips, events, athletics, and community-sponsored events are also canceled during this time.

As the COVID-19 situation rapidly evolves, we are working hard to keep you updated and informed on the district’s efforts and supports for students, employees, and families. This is an unprecedented time in our country, and it calls for a unique response.

Please note: Schools and offices are open today. Staff who do not report to work must enter a benefit day in Kronos.

Staff Assignments During School Closure

Emergency personnel:

  • Emergency personnel are staff who are required for food distribution, cleaning, and associated functions and have been designated as Emergency and should report to school/ work on a daily basis unless sick or caring for a sick dependent.  These positions include:

o    Principals/APs—At least one administrator must report to each school every day during the school closure.

o    Lunchroom managers—Lunchroom managers should report to work on their normal schedule during the school closure.

o    Lunchroom workers—Lunchroom staff should report to work on their normal schedule during the school closure.

o    School-based security officers—School-based security officers should report to work every day on their regular schedule. For schools that have two or more security officers, the principal has the discretion to arrange schedules so that there are no more than two security officers in the building every day.

  • For security employees at schools with more than two security officers who are available to work, security officers can complete a form to submit their interest in deployment at other CPS sites.   The Office of Safety & Security will also send out this form for security employees to sign-up for deployment at other CPS schools during the school closure.  Please see this FAQ for other security officer questions that may be helpful.

o    Engineers—Engineers should report to work on their normal schedule during the school closure.

o    Custodians—All custodians should report to work on a 7:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. schedule during the closure.

Non-emergency personnel:

  • Non-emergency staff are directed NOT to report to work beginning on Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30, including union employees at network offices (non-union staff should refer to the Central Office staff instructions below). Instructional staff should continue engaging with students where possible/practical through approved channels. Please be aware that district-provided enrichment activities should not be graded, and no teacher-directed work sent home with students during this period should be graded. All staff should review CPS’ Acceptable Use Policy and monitor email on a daily basis, where possible/practical.

o    Note: For IEP teams, if parents and CPS staff agree to conduct previously scheduled IEP meetings by phone during the school closure, these meetings can proceed by telephone only.

  • Today, we encourage you to bring home personal items and plan accordingly for the closure.

o    Note: School Nurses and Clerks should work with families to retrieve students’ medication today, in advance of the school closure.

Central Office Staff: 

  • Staff and managers will be notified later today about their work status. There are three work status categories: 1) no work required because no work is available due to position, 2) assigned to telework, 3) assigned to work onsite. This was determined by managers who identified their respective staff as essential or non-essential.

o    City-wide Security Officers, including Climate and Flex Teams, have been designated as Emergency personnel and should plan to report to work every day.  Officers will be notified about work assignments from their immediate supervisors.

o    Motor Truck Drivers and Foremen have been designated as Emergency personnel and should report to work on their normal schedule every day.

HR Guidance

The Talent Office created this HR Guidance to provide detailed answers to questions employees have about their pay, work hours, timekeeping, and benefits. The HR Guidance document contains information that is applicable to full and part-time CPS staff members. We will continue to update this guidance, in addition to the COVID-19 FAQ.

School Building Access

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, all school facilities will be closed for deep cleaning. Non-essential staff should plan accordingly as they will not be permitted to enter the building during the closure.

All CPS school sites, with the exception of Vaughn Occupational High School and Sheridan Math and Science Academy,  will serve as food distribution sites for CPS students. Food pick-up will take place outside of every school building starting Tuesday, March 17 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Monday through Friday. CPS families can pick up three days worth of breakfast and lunch meals per child.

Thank you again for your support of CPS students and their families during this time. Additional communications sent out from CPS, including the COVID-19 FAQ, can be accessed at If you have questions, please contact the CPS Command Center at 773-553-KIDS (5437) Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.


Janice K. Jackson, EdD

Chief Executive Officer

Chicago Public Schools

LaTanya D. McDade

Chief Education Officer

Chicago Public Schools