More Than 88% of Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Reported to School Today During CPS Battle With CTU

More Than 88% of Chicago Public Schools' Teachers Reported to School Today During CPS Battle With CTU


More Than 88% of Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Reported to School Today During CPS Battle With CTU (Chicago, IL) – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) aims to provide a welcoming and safe environment for students to grow and thrive, even amid the current COVID-19 pandemic and national substitute teacher shortage. Today marked the third day back to school after winter break (with five days off in between due to the work stoppage). Some updates:

  • Overall, more than 88 (88.69) percent of CPS CTU teachers reported to school today

  • Student attendance data for Jan. 12 is still being calculated.

CPS and our schools are responding to the national substitute shortage through a number of strategies, from substitute recruitment and retention campaign to adjusting staff schedules or classroom locations as needed on a daily basis. In some cases, especially at the high school level, students may be moved to an auditorium if a specific class, such as Physical Education, can’t be offered due to a staff absence. However, the majority of our students who are in auditoriums are logged into remote classes and are receiving instruction from their teachers who are teleworking due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

District Safety Committees

Schools are addressing COVID-positive cases, as expected, and the District school safety committees are currently determining how many specific classrooms or school buildings may need to transition to remote learning tomorrow. Once that data is finalized, school leaders will share updates with their  school communities and the District will share on our COVID-19 data dashboard.

All District-managed schools are open today, Jan. 12. CPS did not move any District-managed schools to school-wide remote learning today, though some schools, such as Spry Elementary, had up to 10 classrooms that transitioned or “flipped” to remote learning today due to COVID-19 cases and, more specifically, those students identified as close contacts (most of whom do not go on to contract COVID-19). Schools transition students in specific classrooms to remote learning out of an abundance of caution when a case occurs – prior to the completion of the contact tracing process.  The CPS Tactical team will continue to review the data and advise schools when a school-wide action is needed.


“Flip to Remote Learning”

“Flip to Remote Learning” is a swift, effective public health action that principals are authorized to use in schools as soon as a case is reported. This important proactive tool quickly moves potential close contacts of the known case out of an affected classroom in order to break any possible chains of transmission between people in a school. This is a temporary measure that we use until the full details of the case can be uncovered. Once all the relevant, specific details of the situation are known, a final decision about whether a full quarantine of students in the classroom can be made by the Contact Tracing Team.

The Flip to Remote tool is especially useful during periods of COVID-19 surge when case numbers in communities are especially high. This has been an effective strategy developed in collaboration with school leaders working on the frontlines, and it is one layer of protection that has kept in-school transmission low while also preserving student opportunities and freedom to learn in-person when it is safe to do so.

The Chicago Teachers Union continued voting today to ratify an agreement that outlines some new COVID-19 mitigation measures. CPS will share those details with families once the vote has been finalized. Some target goals will be set to develop and implement any necessary policies and procedures, such as expanded testing, related to the agreement.


  • Taft High School had 82 percent of their teachers report to their building today while Lane Technical College Prep High School had 92 percent teacher attendance.

  • The District has initiated several alternative strategies to help schools address the national substitute teacher shortage. CPS and individual school teams have worked to cover classrooms with help from current staff and administrators as needed. Federal COVID-19 funds have fully supported these new strategies and initiatives. CPS is ardently working to attract and hire qualified candidates to fill both teacher vacancies and increase the substitute pool.

The District Has Initiated a More Aggressive Recruitment Campaign to Attract and Hire Substitute Teachers:

  • Approximately 3,800 substitute teachers were on staff in December 2019. CPS now has more than 4,000 substitute teachers including more than 350 Cadre substitutes who receive a higher rate of pay and benefits and typically support one school.

  • CPS has hired more than 455 substitute teachers since the start of the school year, growing our pool to over 4,000. The pool of substitutes is typically the first source to fill teacher vacancies and as such;substitutes are constantly transitioning to full time roles.

  • Substitute teachers are employees of the Chicago Board of Education. They are not considered contractors.

  • Substitute Incentives – to increase our ability to cover teacher absences, the following incentives are in place for substitutes (most, if not all,incentives were put in place in 2021):

    • Hard to Fill Schools – additional $45/day for substitute teachers accepting assignments

    • Utilization Incentive – additional $420/month for substitute teachers accepting 12 or more assignments in a given month

    • Back-to-School Incentive – additional $30/day for teacher and paraprofessional substitutes for and day worked between Jan 3 through Jan 14

    • January 2022 Incentive – Through the end of the third academic quarter, any substitute teacher (provisional or day to day substitute) who works 15 or more days in a month, including 6 out of 8 (75%) of Mondays and Fridays in the month, will receive an additional monetary stipend of $1,000 instead of the normal $420 monthly stipend

Student Attendance

  • Student attendance on Monday, Jan. 3 was 65.7% and Tuesday, Jan. 4 was 72.1%. The last week of school before Winter Break, Dec. 13-17, the attendance rate was 84.6%. The attendance on Jan. 7, 2019, the first day of school after Winter Break, was 92.3%.

More Than 88% of Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Reported to School Today During CPS Battle With CTU


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