Working parents face difficult child care decisions ahead of planned Chicago teachers strike

CHICAGO (WLS) -- From taking time off work to finding a safe place for children to go during the day, many parents are scrambling to come up with a plan, while holding out hope for a deal that would avoid a long teachers strike.

All classes and after-school activities have been canceled for Chicago Public Schools students on Thursday, according to announcements from CPS leaders and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

"There will not be school tomorrow," Lightfoot said on Wednesday. "The union has been crystal clear that they are going to strike."

RELATED: Chicago Teachers Strike: Mayor Lori Lightfoot: 'Crystal clear' CTU will go on strike, no CPS classes Thursday

CPS parent Brenda Delgado rushed on Wednesday to confirm that her work schedule is clear.

"We might be taking care of some other kids and some other friends might be taking care of kids, if this goes into next week," Delgado said. "I can't take too many days off of work, but I'm taking off for sure."

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I-Team Consumer Reporter Samantha Chatman looks at other options for parents who want to keep their children engaged during a potential CPS teacher strike.

Delgado has three children in CPS schools. She'll lean on family for help, if the strike goes into next week.

Delgado was able to juggle her schedule at work to take time off, but she wants this to be a teachable moment for her kids.

"They are going to learn civics. They're going to walk the picket line," Delgado said. "They're going to have their art class and make picket signs and they're going to be creative to get their message across."

RELATED: Chicago Teachers Strike 2019: Where to find childcare if schools are closed

At Loop Learning Center, daycare teacher Tekeyla Jackson cares for toddlers. During her break Wednesday, she worked to coordinate care for her four older children in Chicago Public Schools.

"It's just really stressful, 'Do I take off?' Jackson said. "I really have to weigh my options."

Jackson said it's especially difficult on her seventh-grader who's preparing for high school selective enrollment testing.

"We need them to be in class and prepared so they can go to the high school of their choice," Jackson said.

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As parents figure out child care for the rest of the week, they may have to be even more creative with plans should the strike progress into next week.
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