Parents of students scrambling to secure child care ahead of a strike that could close Los Angeles Unified School District campuses for three days next week got some relief Friday afternoon.
The L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation announced that it is temporarily opening free drop-in recreation programming Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 16 parks.
Programming will include sports, games and arts and crafts for 7- to 17-year-olds. The department is also opening the Deane Dana Friendship Nature Center and Stoneview Nature Center to provide meals. Breakfast will be provided from 8 to 10 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Here’s the L.A. County Parks Department’s announcement.
County parks are one option for parents after the district said it would be unable to ensure the supervision and safety of students during the strike and must close schools. But some campuses could open for students, the district said, if enough employees come in. And the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks has not announced a plan; spokesperson Rose Watson previously told The Times the agency could open 22 recreation centers for daylong activities.
So what other options do parents have? Beyond waiting for announcements from L.A. Unified and the city, they can pay to enroll a child in a camp or after-school program or can look for a nonprofit providing free care.
There is still a possibility the strike won’t happen.
“I think there is a misconception that it’s a done deal, and it really isn’t,” said Parents Supporting Teachers founder Jenna Schwartz. “Strikes are a last resort.”
Members of Cadre, an organization of South Los Angeles parents, said they feel child care wasn’t considered when the unions representing both teachers and support staff discussed the possibility of a strike. The organization supports the strike but believes day-care options should have been on table, said Roslyn Broadnax, a Cadre leader.
“We’ve got parents in our community that work two jobs; we have single parents and parents that have three or four children,” she said. Taking time off from work to watch the children or paying for care are not options, she noted.
Here’s a list of some organizations and businesses parents can consider in the event that schools are closed.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor will offer arts, music, sports and academic activities starting at 8 a.m. at its six non-school sites in San Pedro, Wilmington and other nearby neighborhoods. Current members can go for free; a year’s membership costs $25.
An East Los Angeles nonprofit, InnerCity Struggle, plans to open its community center in Boyle Heights to provide educational activities, homework support and meals throughout the day.
Got Game Camp opened its online registration portal to L.A. 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 looking to secure additional facilities in Mid-City and the Valley. The camp is also making available coaches to come to homes and work with “pods” of four to eight students. Call (310) 975-8524, ext. 1. (If school resumes before the planned duration of the strike, the camp is unable to offer refunds. The balance can be used toward spring or summer camp or after-school programs.)
Monarch Camps in the San Fernando Valley is offering programming with drop-off times between 7:30 and 8 a.m. and pickup from 2:30 to 3 p.m. There is also an option for later afternoon care. Children can expect sports, arts and crafts, special projects and games. You can register for $75 a day, or $65 a day for each sibling of a current member. Call (818) 304-3016.
Lizzy’s Schoolhouse in Sherman Oaks is offering a day camp for children 5 and up. The program will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $60 a day. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Call (818) 616-3235 or text (661) 313-1352.
Mia’s Gymnastics, Tumbling and Dance Academy is opening to all students ages 4 to 12 who are affected by the strike. For the three days, programming will consist of homework time (including tutoring); open gym play; one gymnastics, tumbling or dance class; arts and crafts; and other educational activities. The program will run from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for $90 a day; breakfast, lunch or snacks are $20 extra. Register online or call (747) 444-2337.
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