The planned LA Unified strike would close schools. What are the childcare options?



Parents of students scrambling for childcare ahead of a strike that could close Los Angeles Unified School District campuses for three days next week got relief Friday afternoon.

The LA County Parks and Recreation Department announced it is temporarily opening free walk-in recreation programs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 16 parks.

Programming will include sports, games, and arts and crafts for ages 7-17. The department is also opening the Deane Dana Friendship Nature Center and the Stoneview Nature Center to provide meals. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Here is the announcement from the LA County Parks Department.

County parks are an option for parents after the district said it would not be able to provide supervision and safety for students during the strike and had to close schools. But some campuses could open to students, the district said, if enough employees come in. And the City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department hasn’t announced a plan; Spokeswoman Rose Watson previously told The Times that the agency could open 22 recreation centers for day-long activities.

So what other options do parents have? Beyond waiting for announcements from LA Unified and the city, they can pay to enroll a child in a camp or after-school program or seek out a nonprofit organization that provides free care.

There is always a possibility that the strike will not take place.

“I think there’s a misconception that it’s a done deal, and it really isn’t,” said Jenna Schwartz, founder of Parents Supporting Teachers. “Strikes are a last resort.

Members of Cadre, a parent organization in South Los Angeles, said they felt child care was not considered when unions representing both teachers and support staff discussed the possibility of a strike. The organization supports the strike but thinks daycare options should have been on the table, said Roslyn Broadnax, a cadre leader.

“We have parents in our community who work two jobs; we have single parents and parents who have three or four children,” she said. Taking time off work to watch children or pay for care aren’t options, she noted.

Resources

Here is a list of some organizations and businesses that parents can consider in the event of school closures.

THE Port of Los Angeles Boys and Girls Clubs will offer arts, music, sports and academic activities beginning at 8 a.m. at its six non-school locations in San Pedro, Wilmington and other nearby neighborhoods. Current members can go for free; a one-year membership is $25.

A non-profit organization in East Los Angeles, InnerCity Wrestlingplans to open its community center in Boyle Heights to provide educational activities, homework help and meals throughout the day.

got game camp opened its online registration portal to LA Unified students for a program at Cornerstone Church in Westchester for $95 a day, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The group is seeking additional facilities in Mid-City and the Valley. The camp also provides coaches to come to the houses and work with “groups” of four to eight students. Call (310) 975-8524, ext. 1. (If school resumes before the scheduled duration of the strike, camp is unable to offer refunds. Balance may be used for spring camp or summer or after-school programs.)

Monarch Camps in the San Fernando Valley offers programming with drop-off times between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. and pickup from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. There is also an option for late afternoon treatments. Children can expect sports, arts and crafts, special projects and games. You can join for $75 per day or $65 per day for each sibling of a current member. Dial (818) 304-3016.

Lizzy’s school in Sherman Oaks offers a day camp for children ages 5 and up. The program will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $60 per day. The number of places is limited and pre-registration is required. Call (818) 616-3235 or text (661) 313-1352.

Mia’s Gymnastics, Tumbling and Dance Academy is open to all students aged 4 to 12 affected by the strike. During the three days, the programming will consist of time for homework (including tutoring); open gym game; a gymnastics, tumbling or dance class; handicrafts; and other educational activities. The program will run from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for $90 per day; breakfast, lunch or snacks are an additional $20. Register online or call (747) 444-2337.

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