Some parents and kids enjoy day off from school — but don’t want too many

“I work the nightshift and I usually don’t get to spend time with her during the day like this,” one dad said of his daughter.

SHARE Some parents and kids enjoy day off from school — but don’t want too many

Rene Alvarez pushes his daughter, Alexa, on a swing in Harrison Park.

Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times

While many parents dreaded having to find child care for their children during the first day of a CPS teachers strike Thursday, Rene Alvarez had a different perspective.

Alvarez’s daughter, Alexa, is a second-grader at Cooper Elementary in Pilsen. Instead of taking her to a drop-off center or another site on the CPS contingency list, Alvarez brought Alexa to the playground at Harrison Park.

“I work the nightshift and I usually don’t get to spend time with her during the day like this,” he said.

Alvarez was one of thousands of parents who had to find some way to occupy their children Thursday during the strike, the first major schools walkout since 2012. Many said they could handle a day or two away from school — but not a prolonged work stoppage.

Gwen Morales said neither she nor her husband could take the day off from work, so they left their two daughters, ages 6 and 12, at Toman Library, 2708 S. Pulaski Rd.

“My husband dropped them off here before he went to work because neither of us could take the day off,” Morales said. “If the strike draws out I think they will have to stay with relatives until it is over.”

Some parents were able to take their kids to work. Single mother Sigourney Boyd­–Starks, a South Shore resident, brought her son Brandon, 10, to her job as an educator at the Noble Network of Charter Schools. But although she planned to make sure he continues learning, she is worried about lost time in class.

“My concern is that if [it] continues past Friday, my son and other students will miss out on instructional time,” Boyd–Starks said. 

Kids, too, perhaps not as surprisingly enjoyed the day away from school.


About two dozen CPS students attended the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Center in West Pullman.

Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

“It’s been fun because we did a lot of activities like bible study and exercising,” 11-year-old Ariyah Black said. “Even though we are not in school it feels a lot like school in the Kroc Center because we did mathematic activities.”

Despite the unexpected holiday, Alvarez hopes the strike can be resolved soon.

“I don’t want [Alexa] to miss any more days than she has to,” he said.

Alexa feels the same way.

“I like school,” she said. “I like math, I like my friends, I like playing with them in recess, I like all the activities we do. I hope we go back soon.”

Contributing: Carlos Ballesteros, Jermaine Nolen, Manny Ramos


Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times

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