2019 Possible CTU/SEIU Strike: Resources for Parents + FAQs

There is no school, Monday, October 21.

For updates and updated coverage since October 14, we recommend WBEZ: Chicago Teachers Strike 2019: Live Updates.

We encourage families to support one another during this strike- take turns with child care if possible. Do you have flexibility in your schedule and can care for another parent's children? Reach out and help each other.

Below is a list of CPS/City Contingency Plans, Community Center offerings, and strike camps. Please email jennie@ilraiseyourhand.org with other ideas. We will update this list as we become aware of camps. Please note that there are limited capacities at each of the below, some are more costly than others, some offer scholarships, there are a variety of times available, and they serve certain ages. 

Scroll down further for questions we are hearing from parents + answers which include links to learn more. 

CPS/City Contingency Plans, Community Center Offerings, Strike Camps

Updated on October 17, 2019

- CPS Contingency Plan 

  • Clicking on "Find a Site" brings you to the Contingency Site Locator. When you input your address, you will receive a drop down menu which includes schools, Safe Haven locations, parks, libraries, and "other" which includes local organizations and facilities which might be hosting children. 
  • Please note that you need to register your child.
  • CPS has a list of FAQs.
  • On the evening of October 15 & the afternoon of October 16, CPS parents received an email and a robocall referencing the CPS Contingency Plan and encouraging parents to register if they intend to send their child to school. 

If you have a student with an IEP that dictates shared or dedicated aide support for safety or medical requirements and you would like to/need to send your child to school tomorrow :

  • Per ODLSS if you sign them up here and check the IEP box, ODLSS will be reviewing all IEPs and providing support to the schools as needed. Sign up now, follow up with ODLSS at (773) 553 1800 and with your school admin to confirm.

Great advice from a mom:

- Chicago Park District UPDATE Oct 16, 12:30pm: A strike by park workers was averted. Parks will be open with regular hours. Some school parks will be closed. Drop-in activities available until 6 pm for school age children.

- Chicago Public Libraries You Media CPL will be open and ready. YOUmedia has 4 spaces for middle school and 15 spaces for high school age teens. The space in Harold Washington Library is open every day except holidays.


- YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago (10 locations). YMCA will offer a first-come, first-serve Schools Day Out program, which lets families drop off children from 7:00am-6:00pm. Prices vary by location.

- Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago: List of clubs with addresses and contact information.

- Albany Park Community Center (Albany Park and Bronzeville) APCC Just in Case Camp registration is here. According to a Facebook post: Full day childcare in the event of CPS strikes and school closure; daily drop-in rate is $25.

- Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club, 2501 W. Irving Park Road. NBGC will be open for youth from 8 am-6 pm Monday-Friday for as long as a strike lasts. To help with unexpected staffing costs, all families enrolled full time in NBGC's after-school program will have a fee of $20 per day. All families not enrolled in NBGC's after school program will have a fee of $60 per day. Financial assistance is available for families with financial challenges upon request. To register, please send an email to Maria Gomez, director of social programming, at maria@nbgc.org. Any additional questions or concerns can be directed to Maria at the above email address or by calling Maria at 773.463.4161, ext 117.


- Beverly Arts Center is offering If CPS Strikes, We have you BACk Strike Camp. 2407 W 111th St.; 8:30am-4pm; $42 per day for non-member; $38 per day for members. Pre-Camp from 7:30-8:30am, $6 per day; After Care from 4-6pm, $12 per day; Scholarships available.

- JCC Chicago (Loop, Hyde Park, Rogers Park, Lincoln Park) is offering full-day childcare services through JCC's Chicago's Schools Out program. $80/day + option for late pick-up.

- The Wishcraft Workshop, is offering a camp. 3907 N. Damen Avenue; Message below:

We’re hosting camp and anyone who wants a guaranteed and discounted spot can reserve it here
Space will be limited as first option is offered to our Crafter-School students, but anyone with the pack above is guaranteed a spot and any unused dates are then converted to day camp for any time during the year, including summer. We also have an additional discount for teachers and other team striking— they just need to contact us for a code that will further discount the pack linked above or discount the daily rate. Finally, we’ve also set up a process for the public to donate camp (or money toward) via our gift certificate system here.

- Music House (West Rogers Park and Humboldt Park). Registrations currently being accepted. $85/day + options for early/late.

- Unicoi Art Studio offers No School Camp / Holidays Camp. We do not see a possible strike day camp offered but might be worth a call and ask.

- Shedd Aquarium is offering Camp Shedd: CPS OctoberOct. 17, 18, 21, 22, 23; Camp Activities: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aftercare included: 3 to 5 p.m.; $100 ($90 for members)

- Kids Science Labs is offering CPS Strike Camp at Kids Science Labs at 2 locations: KSL- Lincoln Park, 1500 N. Kingsbury; AND KSL- South Loop, 1801 S. Indiana, 3rd floor. 9am - 5pm; See web page for the cost. 

- Children's Theater is offering a day-by-day Drama Day Camp for Grades K–5 until CPS resumes classes; 100 S. Racine; 9:30am-4pm. Tuition is $75 per day, and before and aftercare is included. Financial aid is also available. Before care is available starting at 8 am, and aftercare is from 4 pm – 6 pm. To register for camp, please contact our Marketing and Guest Services Department at 312.374.8835 between 9 am and 1 pm on Monday – Friday. A limited number of scholarships will be available for $50. Please contact Dexter Ellis, Director of Education and Community Programs at dexter@chicagochildrenstheatre.org, for details. 

- Swedish American Museum will offer Adventures in Sweden Camp -- starting on Monday, October 21. Best suited for grades K - 5 but they will welcome older students; 5211 N. Clark St; 9am - 2pm; $50 per day. 

- Hyde Park Neighborhood Club is offering Your Solution for CPS Strike Days - HPNC Care Camp. K - 8; 8am - 4pm; after care available until 6:30pm. Extremely limited Space! Pre-Registration required. First come, first serve. Please see this document for registration information and fees (fees have been reduced since original posting of this info.) Register here.

CircEsteem is offering Safe Space Circus Camp. 4730 N. Sheridan Road; ages 6 - 16; 9am - 3pm; $66 a day; Financial assistance available- please contact (773) 732-4564. More details in a Facebook post here.

Lillstreet Art Center is offering School's Out Camp. Montrose and Ravenswood; $50 members/$55 non members; 9am to 3:30pm. Currently registering for October 17th, but will add dates as needed. Fee will be refunded if strike is averted.

Green Explorers Club is offering CPS Strike Camp. 2150 W Armitage, Bucktown. Full day: $85, 9am - 3pm; Half day: $65, 9am - 1:30pm; before (8:15am - 9am; $10) and after care (3pm - 5pm; $30) add-on extensions; We help kids explore sustainability through hands-on activities that demonstrate the importance of taking care of our planet. Each day of camp is tailored to provide students with a growing curiosity about the environment so that they grow into future engineers, artists, doctors, farmers, clothing designers, presidents, or whatever they want to be, they will have the basic tools they need to incorporate sustainability practices into their initiatives. We will be offering a discount to all CPS teachers and staff.  To reserve a spot and for teacher discount code, please email kelly@greenexplorersclub.com.

- Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop (Andersonville) is offering "Broadway Bound" strike camp. Your child will sing, dance, and move to songs from popular shows! They will also expand their imaginations and learn to collaborate with others while playing theatre games and creating their own improvised scenes! Space is limited so Pre-Register now to reserve your spot! We quickly reached capacity in 2016.  You will not be charged unless the camp runs. Cost is $85 per day. Register here.
- Chicago Fire Soccer In The Community is offering Holiday Camps at CIBC Fire Pitch, 3626 N. Talman. The registration link is currently inactive and labeled "Pending." At the bottom of the Holiday Camp page: "**We aim to operate Holiday Camps during all CPS holidays (including snow & strike days), contingent on field availability**"
Jewish Council for Youth Services (JCYS) Iris and Steven Podolsky Family Center (2112 W. Lawrence Ave) is offering School’s Out Camp for children in grades K-5. Camp runs from 8 am-5:30 pm and is $90/day.
The Paintbrush is offering CPS Strike Camp. 2646 N. Halsted; K - 6th; 9:00am - 3:00pm; $60/day (additional siblings $55 each.) Call or email to register (773.636.1968; thepaintbrush@thepaintbrush.net.) Space is limited.

Midtown Center 1819 N. Wood St. (St. Mary of the Angels campus) Students PreK and older. Childcare programming during a strike will be co-ed (their normal programming is not co-ed.) Parents need to register with Antonio Brito at abrito@midtown-metro.org

- Marwen 833 N. Orleans In solidarity with Chicago young people and their families, Marwen is opening its doors from 8:30 am to 5 pm each day of the strike to young people (primarily in our neighborhood as well as to Marwen students and their siblings) in grades 2-12. Marwen will welcome up to 100 young people per day during the strike. We will facilitate arts programs and provide food each day. **No fees or pre-registration required, students welcome until we reach capacity**

Dovetail Studios 2853 W. Montrose Ave; K-3rd grade; Thursday and Friday (11/17 & 11/18); 8:30-3:00pm. Dance, crafts, park time, movies, games. $91.00/ day. Register at https://dovetail-studios.com/events.

- Studio Us (Andersonville/Uptown)will be hosting strike workshops on Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18. Halloween crafts on Thursday, and Dia de Los Muertos crafts on Friday. Each workshop will run from 10am to 3pm, and will cost $50 per day. These workshops are suitable for students age 5 to 12. To reserve a spot, please contact StudioUs at studiouschicago@gmail.com, or call/text (872) 222-7828. We also have room in all of our 3:15-4:15 pm drawing classes should parents need additional after-school programming for their students. If CPS classes are not interrupted, workshops will not take place. There is no charge to make reservations, and class fees will be billed at drop-off on the morning of the workshop. 

Emerald City Theatre One Day Workshops for CPS Students, Musical Theatre 101. Ages 6-10; Cost: $50/day; 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM; Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Any questions? Reach out to Rebeccah Singer, Education Manager, at RSinger@EmeraldCityTheatre.com.

Windy City Sports Academy (2367 W. Logan Blvd) will run a supervised open gym from 9:00am - 3:30pm (half day option also available) for the duration of the strike on regularly scheduled school days (not on holidays, weekends, or other pre-scheduled no school days). Coaches will be on site to supervise the kids. Registration is now open online for October 17 and 18 and WCSA will continue to add days as needed. Walk-ins will also be accepted.  Boys and Girls (Ages 5-12). Call 773-486-7423 for more information and to get registered. (We can't find the price.)

Codeverse Lincoln Park will offer day camps; 9am - 3pm; $100 (normally $150). Half-day camps are available. Use code "CPS-50" at checkout.

- Kids Clay Room will be offering CPS Strike Camp. 1/2 day; 9 am to 12 pm; clay handbuilding camps. Registration and payment is required to secure your spot. For ages 5 and up. $40/child

- Chicago Mosaic School (Edgewater), 1127 Granville, will provide a strike camp for CPS students (ages 6+). On Thursday and Friday of this week (10/17 and 10/18) from 1pm-4pm, they will host our 3-hour Mosaic Basics Workshop. In this workshop, participants begin with a brief tour of The Chicago Mosaic School and the Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics. Students are shown a variety of examples of both ancient and contemporary mosaics, as well as receive an introduction to mosaic tools, techniques, and materials. Students will create their own personalized 4” x 4” mosaic to take home. This workshop is $10/person, with a minimum of 10 students to run. Call the school (773-856-6777) to reserve a spot and/or make a payment. 

Power Up Tech Academy (2867 N. Clybourne) will offer 2019 Technology Strike Camp. 9am - 1pm; $59 + $15 admin fee. 

- XS Tennis will be hosting a Strike Camp. 6-18 years of age; 8:00am - 4:00pm; Fee: $40. Please call the XS Tennis Desk at (773) 548-7529 to reserve your spot. Please send your child with the following: 1. Labeled Sack Lunch & Drink (no peanut products) 2. A pen/pencil 3. A notebook 4. Tennis clothes 5. Reading materia

- Old Town School of Folk Music (Lincoln Square, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.) is offering a Day Off Camp with music, art & dance. Pre-camp begins at 8am, Camp runs 9am-3pm. $90/day with registration ahead of time or at drop-off available. 
- Fearless Cooking (4410 N. Milwaukee) $50 Kids Cooking Class (Drop Off); 10am - 2pm; Ages 6 - 12.

Activities for families

Waveland Bowl, 3700 N Western
With the possibility of a CPS strike and classes canceled tomorrow, do you have a game plan for your family?
Waveland Bowl is offering 2 free games of bowling for CPS students affected by the strike starting 10/17 continuing every day until the strike is settled. Valid on school days only when games are completed before 5:00 PM. Shoe rental not included.
- Soccer 5 v. 5 Games, Th, Oct 17, St. Simon Parish, 5157 S. California., 6-8pm, Ages 13+


Press coverage of child care with similar lists to the above


Bread for Ed fundraiser

Chicago Jobs with Justice and Chicago DSA is coordinating #BreadForEd. This will help feed the students and the teachers if there is no school due to a strike. You can donate and find out more here.

Parent FAQs

Updated October 21, 2019

Where are contract talks now?

The strike continues... No school Monday, October 21.

The CTU and CPS are in active negotiation. There is a lot of information being distributed around these talks. 

What are ways to show support for our teachers and support staff?

  • AM Picket Lines Oct 21– There will be pickets at 515 schools across the city PLUS a picket line at the downtown CPS building, 42 W Madison. These will be up from 6:30am to 10:30am. You can find the school closest to you by using the CPS “Find A School” tool.  
  • PM Rally Oct 21, 2-5pm, Union Park. Facebook event page here.
  • Other activities on Monday, Oct 21:
    • SW Side: CTU/SEIU Strikers will line Pulaski from Archer to 111th, 8-9am.
    • Hyde Park: “Nurse in Every School” Solidarity March for Justice, 9-10 am, Ray ES. Facebook event page here.
    • North Side: Striking CTU and SEIU members on the north side will be enacting a solidarity action down Addison Street from Broadway to the expressway Monday at 8:00 am. Participating schools currently include Disney 1, Greeley, InterAmerican, Nettlehorst, Hawthorne, Blaine, Lakeview, Hamilton, Jahn, Burley, Audubon, Coonley, Bell, Lane Tech, Linne, Cleveland, Henry, Disney II, Murphy, and Belden.
    • Raise Chicago Coalition – There will be a Youth Led press conference at City Hall at 1pm. Youth will highlight the need for $15/hr AND the need for a fair contract that enshrines the resources schools need to combat things like overcrowded classrooms and housing issues.
    • Resist, Reimagine, Rebuild Coalition – The R3 coalition will be hosting a Teach-In for Strikers so that they may learn about community based struggles that support and intersect with teachers demands for education justice. It will be held at Experimental Station (6100 S Blackstone) from 12-3pm.
    • Art Build: The Grassroots Collaborative will be setting up an art build at the CTU Center Monday night from 5:00 to 8:00 pm to create signs and props for colorful and impactful actions later this week.
  • Check out what Thorp ES is doing: We Stand with Thorp Teachers and Staff. The Facebook event page invites parents and students to "Wear red and bring your signs, noise-makers and enthusiasm! Wellness Committee members will be at the school on the picket line with teachers starting at 7:30 am." We have seen several schools now doing the same as Thorp. Thanks, Thorp ES community for sharing!
  • Every Tuesday, Parents 4 Teachers does a call in to the mayor. Information can be found here in this Facebook event.
Th_Oct_10.jpg Stand_Up_Rally-twitter.jpg


What are ways parents can stay informed?


What will happen to my kids?

  • In their Contingency Plan, CPS says they can go to school buildings. 
  • In the past, some families have organized strike camps or shared child care duties.
  • Reach out to other CPS families and see if there are ways to support one another.  
  • Check with local community organizations to see what they will be offering. 
  • We’ve created this web page (scroll up) where we will provide an updated list of ideas for families. Note: We are trying to locate camps and childcare throughout the city and trying to find affordable options. We need your help- If you know of something we should add to the list, please send us an email: jennie@ilraiseyourhand.org.
  • October 16, 12:30pm, Update from the Sun-TimesChicago Park District workers reach tentative contract agreement Parks will be open with regular hours. Some school parks will be closed.
  •  Chicago Public Libraries You Media CPL will be open and ready. YOUmedia has 4 spaces for middle school and 15 spaces for high school age teens. The space in Harold Washington Library is open every day except holidays.

Will a strike affect my high school senior who is in the midst of college applications? 

  • Talk to counselors & teachers at your school. Look for communication from your school's counselors in the coming days.
  • Families that went through this is the past tell us that many colleges extended deadlines for teachers to submit recommendations and for other supplemental materials. Students still need to meet deadlines, but teachers should have more time. 
  • Contact college admissions officers to make sure you understand the requirements at the school(s) where your child is applying. This is especially important for the early action and early decision deadlines that are coming up.

I’m ready to walk the line with teachers and staff if they go out on strike. How does that work?

  • Speak to your school’s teachers and staff and find out their plans. During the 2012 strike, typically, teachers picketed at their own schools in the morning. Some days there was a larger rally in the afternoon.
  • We also recommend following the organizations Parents 4 Teachers and the Chicago Teachers and Staff Solidarity Campaign. They are offering many ideas and opportunities to support CPS teachers and staff now and will do the same during a strike, if one occurs. 
  • Check out what Thorp ES is doing: We Stand with Thorp Teachers and Staff. The Facebook event page invites parents and students to "Wear red and bring your signs, noise-makers and enthusiasm! Wellness Committee members will be at the school on the picket line with teachers starting at 7:30 am." We have seen several schools now doing the same as Thorp. Thanks, Thorp ES community for sharing!
  • AM Picket Lines Oct 18– There will be pickets at 515 schools across the city PLUS a picket line at the downtown CPS building, 42 W Madison. These will be up from 6:30am to 10:30am. You can find the school closest to you by using the CPS “Find A School” tool.  
  • PM RALLY DOWNTOWN Oct 18– 1:30, Chicago City Hall; Facebook event page here.


My child goes to a private therapeutic day school. Will busing still be provided to my child if there is a teacher and staff strike?

Bus drivers are employed by vendors. We do not think busing to a private therapeutic day school will be impacted. To be sure, please call the ODLSS Parent Support Specialists and ask them to track down a definitive answer: names, phone numbers, and emails here. (We at RYH do have an email into ODLSS to confirm this busing would continue uninterrupted.)

My child is in a primary cluster program. Do you have any ideas for strike childcare for kids with special needs?

Since CPS is opening schools staffed with Principals, APs and Central Office staff to students, we assume children with IEPs will be accommodated. We are uncertain, though, how this day in a CPS school without teachers and school support staff would be structured. We encourage parents of children with special needs to talk to the school's principal about what sort of supports there will be should the parent have no other choice than to participate in what the school is offering in the face of the strike. (We will update this answer if we find specific childcare ideas for children with special needs. Please consider seeing the list of above and making some phone calls with this specific question.)

Updated answer Oct 7, 2019. Screenshot from the CPS Contingency Plan Frequently Asked Questions doc...


Chalkbeat Chicago: Parents asked and we answered: Six questions about the growing teacher strike threat  NOTE: A few questions asked about students with IEPs and 504s; answered and suggestions offered by Chris Yun of Access Living.



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  • Jennifer Biggs
    published this page in News 2019-10-03 11:19:13 -0500