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Staff Policy

This page provides a brief overview of the CPS Acceptable Use Policy for staff and defines the appropriate channels and platforms for staff or adults who work in schools to communicate with students and parents.

Staff Acceptable Use Policy, August 28, 2019

Staff to Student Mobile Device Communications

  • Green box with check


    • Email to a student’s CPS email account
    • Messaging through CPS Group Messaging App (e.g., CPS Google Hangouts) - as long as staff is messaging from an employee CPS account or sanctioned system to a student CPS account
  • Yellow box with horizontal line

    Acceptable but with conditions

    • Schools may utilize a bulk text notification system that delivers group text notifications and alerts to a student’s personal cell phone, provided that:
      • The notification system is authorized by the CIO or designee upon information security compliance review;
      • The parent/guardian provides prior written permission for their child to receive the text notifications/alerts; and
      • The parent/guardian receives the same notifications as sent to the child when the parent/guardian elects to receive such messaging
  • Red box with a x


    • Staff are prohibited from communicating with a student via:
      • A student’s mobile device through channels not listed as "Acceptable" above, whether phone, text or IM
      • A student’s personal email account (communications to the student’s CPS email account is permitted)

    Exceptions to Policy

    1. Google Meet and Meet Recordings

      When the appropriate guidelines are followed, teachers may record their live virtual sessions for archiving and later reference for students. Please refer to the Standards of Conduct for Maintaining Professional Boundaries between Staff and Students for more information. Instructions for creating a Google Meet are available here.

      Classroom and Small Group Recordings

      • A consent form is not required to record a classroom or small group Meet; however; students must be informed that the session is being recorded.
      • If a parent/guardian does not want their child recorded, the parent/guardian can have their child turn off their camera.
      • During recorded sessions, student names and images may be visible to the teacher and participating students. To protect privacy, parents or other individuals should not participate in, observe or record virtual sessions.
      • Recorded sessions may not be made available to parents or individuals other than students. 

      1:1 Meetings and Recordings

      Staff must adhere to all of the protocols set forth in the Standards of Conduct for Maintaining Professional Boundaries between Staff and Students. The guidance below only outlines policy related to one-to-one Meet sessions between staff/students.

      The following standards apply to scheduling one-on-one staff/student contact and meetings:

      • All staff/student one-on-one remote interactions must occur on Google Meet.
      • Invite the school principal or assistant principal, and the student’s parents/guardians, to the meeting by adding them as optional meeting attendees. The invitation must also be sent at least four (4) calendar days before the meeting.
      • The purpose of any one-on-one remote meeting must be clear and unambiguous and must be clearly communicated by the staff to the student, parent/guardian, and school principal or assistant principal before the interaction begins. To clearly communicate the purpose of any one-on-one remote meeting and for proper record-keeping, it should be listed in the Google Meet’s calendar invite description.
      • One-on-one meetings should be recorded to avoid any appearance of secrecy for the benefit of both the staff and the student. In order to record the session you will need to obtain parent/guardian authorization for the recording by having them sign the CPS Written Consent Form for Recording of Virtual Meetings that can be found in Appendix B. Parent/guardian consent to record is needed during a one-on-one meeting between a staff member and student because the nature of the interaction is inherently private.
      • If a parent/guardian does not give their consent to record the virtual meeting, the meeting cannot occur as a one-on-one session between a staff member and student. Instead, the school principal, assistant principal or parent/guardian must attend so that the session is no longer a meeting between one staff member and one student.
      • One-on-one meetings that are required in connection with providing educational services in accordance with one’s employment (e.g., health screening, counseling, therapy, nursing, personal care and other services required by individualized education plans, 504 plans or other medical condition action plans) are not required to be recorded.

      When staff are meeting 1:1 with students using Google Meet, these standards must be followed:

      • Video cameras are permitted to be turned off by students to protect privacy (staff are required to have their camera on at all times and must maintain an appropriate environment).
      • If video cameras are on, the students and staff should be in an environment free from distraction.
      • Everyone must be fully clothed during video meetings.
      • The chat function can be used by either party to protect privacy if others are nearby.
      • Images or content from remote learning must not be screen-captured or posted elsewhere for any reason.
      • Any disclosure or allegations made must follow proper reporting procedures.
      • If a staff member finds themselves in an unplanned one-on-one meeting with a student, they must end the interaction as soon as it is safe to do so and report the occurrence to the appropriate administrator as soon as possible.
    2. International Baccalaureate (IB) students’ summative oral exams may be scheduled and taken via a Google Meet video conference. The student, Teacher and IB Coordinator must join a Google Meet video conference and record the student’s presentation.
    3. Staff may communicate with high school students via text or instant messaging when necessitated by a field trip, educational or extracurricular activity for the purpose of ensuring student safety AND:
      • The parent/guardian and Principal both provide prior written permission to the text communications using the CPS form established for such purpose.
      • Communications are sent as group messages with the parent/guardian on the communication.

Staff to Student Social Media Communications

  • Yellow box with horizontal line

    Acceptable but with conditions

    • Class or Team Social Media Account
      • Principal’s written approval is obtained annually
      • Principal or teaching designee manages account including removal of postings and disabling of page
      • Account is used for instructional, educational or extracurricular programs
      • Principal notifies parents annually of their child’s social media invitations and the purpose and nature of the account
    • District, Department and School Social Media Accounts
      • Chief Communications Office to establish CPS social media guidelines governing any District or school-based sites.
      • Guidelines will include requirements for approvals, administrator access, monitoring, use of District logos, content, privacy controls, parent notifications, etc.
  • Red box with a x


    • Use of personal social media to conduct CPS Business or communication with students
    • Adding, inviting and accepting “friend” or contact requests of students on any personal social media or non-CPS social media account
    • Discussing CPS or school matters that cause disruption at school (e.g., bullying)
    • Discussing or posting CPS confidential/protected info
    • Conducting CPS business

Staff to Staff Mobile Device Communication

  • Green box with check


    • Phone calls
    • Emails (from CPS email account to CPS email account)
    • CPS group messaging App (e.g., CPS Google Hangouts)
  • Special Note:

    Staff must properly retain text and call records generated while using a mobile device for business purposes and comply with the Board’s business and student records retention policies established to comply with the Illinois Local Records Act.

Staff Policy on Unacceptable Use

Chicago Public Schools provides access to technology devices, internet, data and network systems to employees and other authorized users for educational and business purposes. Users shall not use the CPS Network or Computer Resources including access to the internet, intranet, collaboration tools, bulk communication tools, social media or email to use, upload, post, mail, display, store, or otherwise transmit in any manner, any content, communication or information that, among other unacceptable uses:

  1. Is hateful, harassing, threatening, libelous or defamatory;
  2. Is offensive or discriminatory to persons based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental illness or disability, marital status, economic status, immigration status, religion, personal appearance or other visible characteristics;
  3. Constitutes or furthers any criminal offense, or gives rise to civil liability, under any applicable law, including, without limitation, U.S. export control laws or U.S. patent, trademark or copyright laws;
  4. Constitutes use for, or in support of, any obscene or pornographic purpose including, but not limited to, the transmitting, retrieving or viewing of any profane, obscene, or sexually explicit material;
  5. Constitutes use for soliciting or distributing information with the intent to incite violence, cause personal harm or bodily injury, or to harass, threaten or stalk another individual;
  6. Contains a virus, trojan horse, ransomware or other harmful component or malicious code;
  7. Constitutes junk mail, phishing, spam, or unauthorized broadcast email;
  8. Violates the security of any other computer or network or constitutes unauthorized access or attempts to circumvent any security measures;
  9. Obtains access to another User’s CPS Network account, files or data, or modifies their files, data or passwords;
  10. Impersonates any person living or dead, organization, business, or other entity;
  11. Degrades the performance of, causes a security risk or otherwise threatens the integrity or efficient operation of, the CPS Network or Computer Resources;
  12. Deprives an authorized User of access to CPS Network or Computer Resources;
  13. Obtains Computer Resources or CPS Network access beyond those authorized;
  14. Engages in unauthorized or unlawful entry into a CPS Network system;
  15. Discloses Board trade secrets, or confidential or proprietary information, including student record information, without authorization or without proper security measures;
  16. Discloses personally identifiable student information, videos and photographs without authorization or without proper security measures;
  17. Shares confidential information about students or CPS personnel in a manner that violates state law, federal law, Board rule, policy or guideline;
  18. Shares CPS email addresses or distribution lists for uses that violate this policy or any other Board policy;
  19. Enables or constitutes wagering or gambling of any kind;
  20. Accesses, distributes, downloads or uses games except when an assigned educational or training activity;
  21. Promotes or participates in any way in unauthorized raffles or fundraisers;
  22. Promotes or participates in any way in partisan political activities;
  23. Promotes or participates in any way in internal political or election activities related to a union or other organization representing employees;
  24. Engages in private business, commercial or other activities for personal financial gain;
  25. Distributes unauthorized information regarding other User’s passwords or security systems;
  26. Transmits Personally Identifiable Information without appropriate security safeguards;
  27. Falsifies, tampers with or makes unauthorized changes, additions or deletions to data located on the CPS Network or school systems;
  28. Accesses or uses data located on a CPS Network for personal uses;
  29. Promotes or participates in any activity or relationship with a student that is not related to academics or school-sponsored extracurricular activities, unless authorized in advance in writing by the principal and the student’s parent/guardian;
  30. Installs, downloads or uses unauthorized or unlicensed software or third party system;
  31. Violates the terms of use specified for a particular Computer Resource or CPS Network system;
  32. Constitutes use that disrupts the proper and orderly operation of a school or office;
  33. Engages in hacking (intentionally gaining access by illegal means or without authorization) into the CPS Network to access unauthorized information, or to otherwise circumvent information security systems;
  34. Engages in inappropriate sexual conduct, including unwelcomed sexual contact, indecent exposure, transmitting sexually suggestive images, or other sexual activities;
  35. Downloads unauthorized games, programs, files, electronic media, and/or stand-alone applications from the internet that may cause a threat to the CPS Network;
  36. Violates federal or state law or any Board rules, policies, standards or guidelines regarding the protection of employee or student privacy or the confidentiality of employee or student records; or
  37. Violates any prohibition noted in this policy or any other Board policy.

Report Improper Conduct

Call the IT Service Desk 773-553-3925 and your Department/School Management to report any actual or suspected security violations or breaches, theft or loss of computer resources, misuse or abuse of CPS technology, unacceptable use of the CPS Network or Computer Resources, or any other violation of this policy.