LAUSD strike underway: How to survive the 3-day walkout

United Teachers of Los Angeles and SEIU 99 members hold a joint rally at Grand Park in a historic show of solidarity.
United Teachers of Los Angeles and SEIU 99 members hold a joint rally at Grand Park in a show of solidarity. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Here is a guide for coping with the three-day Los Angeles Unified School District walkout that began early Tuesday morning and is set to last until Thursday.

The walkout includes as many as 65,000 workers.

Some 1,000 schools are closed during the strike.

That is leaving parents scrambling. Officials are distributing food and offering limited daycare for families. The district has also prepared academic materials for students to take home.

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A driver smiles from the window of a school bus.
School bus driver John Lewis chats with colleagues at the end of his day last week in Gardena. Lewis will be among those affected by the strike. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Who is striking

The walkout is being led by Local 99 of SEIU. Local 99 represents about 30,000 workers including bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria and other food service workers, campus security aides, teaching assistants and aides for students with disabilities.

Local 99 is joined in a solidarity strike by United Teachers of Los Angeles, which represents 35,000 teachers, counselors, therapists, nurses and librarians. With virtually all school staff on strike, the school district could not provide adequate supervision to ensure the safety of students, leading to the shutdown decision.

However, the district is encouraging any willing employees to report for duty for their normal work day — although they are unlikely to be carrying out their usual tasks.

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Food distribution

With 80% of students from low-income families, the school system plays an important role in providing breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner Monday through Friday.

Such meals will continue in a limited way. Families will be able to pick up prepackaged meals from about two dozen locations across the school system on Tuesday morning only. Each family can receive six meals per student — for breakfast and lunch on each of the three strike days.

The district has experience from the pandemic distributing vast numbers of meals. One difference this time is that the workers who provided the backbone of that aid — including the cafeteria and central kitchen workers — will be on strike. Local 99 also represents bus drivers, teacher aides, security aides and custodians.

L.A. Unified is welcoming volunteer help in the meal distribution.

Where to pick up meals for students during the LAUSD strike

A parent in a mask waits by a school.
Jessica Aguilera, a parent, waits to pick up her children at 153rd Street Elementary School. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Child care

Nonprofits, athletic leagues, community groups and other government agencies have worked to expand their hours and offerings during the three-day strike. Spots are limited and will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

Dozens of campuses — among 1,000 in the school system — will offer supervision between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. This supervision will be led by Beyond the Bell staff, which typically provides activities and homework supervision from the end of the school day until 6 p.m. A district map indicates sites that will be accepting students.

That same map identifies the location of 18 L.A. County Parks and Recreation sites that will offer a drop-in program with balls and equipment for checkout and an open gym from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The county sites close 30 minutes earlier than the school district sites. Where available, the county sites will allow access to computer labs to complete school assignments.

Meals will be provided at both the district and county sites.

County libraries will also be open and welcoming children.

Planned L.A. Unified strike would close schools. What are child-care options?


For students who want to keep busy with schoolwork — especially if they have internet access — there’s almost an overload of resources being posted online and activity packets available for families to take home.

All the work is optional and will not count toward a student’s grade. One event scheduled for next week, the SAT college-entrance exam, has been rescheduled to the first week after spring break.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.