From the Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS):
One question prompted by Illinois’ response to COVID-19 has been whether the virus’s effects on schools has led to a greater number of teacher retirements in 2020.
The answer: It doesn’t look that way. The number of TRS members beginning the retirement process is up this year compared to 2019. But the increase is not large enough to suggest that the ongoing struggle with the coronavirus is pushing more eligible teachers into retirement.
Between January and June in 2020 – the traditional “retirement season” for TRS – 3,505 members started the retirement paperwork. That’s 194 members more than those who initiated the process during the 2019 season.
Undoubtedly, some members this year will cite the coronavirus effect as the main reason they are retiring. Individual health concerns, the uncertainty over the spread of the virus and the disruption of traditional classroom learning will probably help some teachers decide on retirement.
But statistically, the number of TRS members deciding to retire through June this year is slightly less than the annual average number of retirees for the last three years. Between 2017 and 2019, an average of 3,525 members started the process between January and June. That’s only 20 members more than the total for 2020.
If the coronavirus is affecting the decisions of TRS members, it’s not reflected in the numbers.