Childcare options if teachers strike in Minneapolis, St. Paul

A teachers strike could happen as early as Tuesday, March 8, for both Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) and St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) if the districts and teachers unions don’t reach contract agreements.

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and St. Paul Federation of Educators each filed their intent to strike on Feb. 23, a required 10-day notice before any strike can happen.

Both the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and St. Paul Federation of Educators overwhelmingly voted to authorize the strike, which began the 10-day cooling-off period. During that time unions will work with the districts through mediation to come to an agreement on a new contract.

Meanwhile, food service workers at MPS who are members of SEIU Local 284 also authorized a strike with 98.5 percent of members voting in approval. A 10-day notice would still need to be filed for any potential strike.

Previously both school districts tell FOX 9 they weren’t prepared to announce plans to offer resources to parents for childcare if teachers do strike and schools are closed, but in the days that followed that has since changed. 

In both Minneapolis and St. Paul childcare services will be available to families at the Blaisdell YMCA, North Minneapolis YMCA and the Midway YMCA.

If teachers go on strike and schools are shut down, what other options do families have for childcare?

In Minneapolis, after the first day of a strike a daily meal bag consisting of one breakfast and one lunch will be available each day for pickup at the school where a student is enrolled, according to an announcement provided by the district. Pickup hours will be communicated by the school.

"Extremely limited openings" will be available for grade K-5 child supervision at only a few school sites for families who cannot otherwise provide it.

Families are strongly encouraged to find other childcare options, as openings are intended for families who have no other child supervision option, according to the district announcement. 

School-based clinics run by the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County/NorthPoint in nine MPS high schools would remain open during the strike. However, school health offices would be closed since the Licensed School Nurses would be on strike. Mental health therapy services would continue.

All early childhood programs and services would be canceled while a strike is active.

The district recently added a video with updates regarding the potential strike from superintendent Ed Graff on its website

For SPPS, there would not be childcare the first day of a strike with the exception of Discovery Club for pre-registered families on a first-come, first-served basis. All regular classes would be cancelled. 

The district would open its Kid Space at most elementary schools, and it would be supervised by non-striking staff. Capacity would be limited based on available staffing.

Kid Space is not an academic program, but would allow kids to participate in supervised, age-appropriate activities.  Breakfast and lunches would be available for all students age 18 and under.