Children at rally in front of L.A. City Hall Wednesday, March 15. Photo by Ashley Balderrama/LAist

By Mariana Dale and Gillian Morán Pérez/LAist

Updated Mar 20

Los Angeles Unified School District is set to be closed from Tuesday, March 21 to Thursday, March 23 during a planned strike of 65,000 teachers and other staff.

“It is virtually impossible to keep schools open on a basis of supervision, safety, and security,” said LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho during a press conference Wednesday.

The shutdown would impact more than 422,000 students.

What happens to students?

Here’s what parents can expect if schools close:

  • An “educational instructional packet” for every student, including those with disabilities and English language learners.
  • Food distribution at dozens of sites throughout the district. 
  • “Some degree of child care” provided through partnerships with other organizations. 

“Is it perfect? No,” Carvalho said. “Is it ideal? Not really. It’s the best we can do considering the conditions we’re facing.”

For example, Carvalho said, during the summer, the district provided supervised care for less than a quarter of students.

Where to pick up meals

There are 23 sites where families can pick up food on Tuesday, March 21 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The district said it will distribute six meals per student.

In Boyle Heights, food will be distributed at the:
Evergreen Recreation Center
2844 E 2nd St.

Map created by LA Unified

Where to find child care

Select elementary, middle and high schools will have limited amounts of “student supervision,” between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“If your child requires any special accommodations or has specific health issues, please immediately inform the site administrator of these concerns,” LA Unified wrote on its website.

Families can also take students ages 7-17 to several Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation sites where they can play and complete assignments in the computer lab. The drop-in program is open at 18 sites from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and there will be meals and snacks served. 

Sites at capacity are marked by red icons. Blue and green icons mean there is still space available. Map created by LA Unified.

Additionally, a free Special Edition After School Program will be available for students from 1st grade to 5th grade at 30 L.A. County Recreation and Park sites. The program will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 21 to March 23. Families must register their students online by Monday, March 2 at 1 p.m. Students will get assistance on school assignments, lunch, snacks and recreational activities. You can check out the full list of the centers available here.

Other resources and activities

Los Angeles Zoo: The L.A. Zoo is offering free admission to LAUSD students grades K-12 from March 21 to March 23 in case of a strike. Chaperones will have to pay a $5 fee. Students can show proof of enrollment by showing a copy of their school I.D., school newsletter, or a report card. Tickets are not available online and can only be purchased in-person at an L.A. Zoo box office.

The L.A. Zoo is also offering a “Community Safari Day” program where under the supervision of L.A. Zoo staff, children in grades K-5 can learn and engage in activities about their favorite animals. This is available Tuesday, March 21 through Thursday March 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended morning and afternoon hours offered free with paid registration. Admission is $50 per student and parents must register their student online.

  • Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles

Museums: The Los Angeles Natural History Museum in Exposition Park will offer free general admission to LAUSD students and chaperones during the strike. Those tickets are only available onsite at the ticket counters. The same goes for the La Brea Tar Pits.

  • La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles

Don’t forget that the Los Angeles Public Library is another great and free resource for students.

Can a strike be avoided?

It’s unclear what terms would prevent a strike. Earlier this year, 96% of SEIU Local 99 members voted to authorize a strike. The union that represents bus drivers, classroom assistants, cafeteria workers, and other school staff has said the district has failed to meet their demands for increased wages.

The teachers union, which is also negotiating its contract with the district, has said its members will walk off the job in solidarity.

Carvalho said there is another round of negotiations scheduled with UTLA for Friday. Currently, there are no scheduled negotiations for SEIU Local 99, the superintendent said.

Editor’s note: this post was edit to correct number of LAUSD students in the subhead.

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