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Families Scramble To Care For Kids, Fear Impact Of Long Strike

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Walk through the doors at A & A Auto and you’ll find Bryan Duran’s temporary classroom—just a glance away from his father, Bryan Sr.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, it’s just one way thousands of families are dealing with lost class time during the first day of the Chicago Public School strike.

“It’s impossible to find a place or someone to watch my kid in less than 24 hours. So, they force me to bring him to work,” said Bryan Duran Sr.

Bryan Jr, who is in sixth grade, admits he will be bored sitting at dad’s office all day.

His father is also mindful of his son’s safety.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty Reports

“I have to put attention to my work and him too cause this can be a dangerous place for him,” he said.

Behind Migdalia Torres’ reception desk at a West Side clinic, her son, Hector, is playing with toy cars and trying to behave on day one of the strike.

“I am afraid it’s going to be long,” Torres said. “So I have to think weeks, not just today.

“I can’t afford a sitter. That’s why he is here with me.”

Unable to bring her son to work, Tiffany Williams spent the morning evaluating options from libraries to safe haven schools for her fifth grader.

She had to stay home initially, but then discovered that Eckhart Park in the West Town neighborhood had a daylong program up and running.  In a few hours, her son was enrolled and she got to work — a little late, but she made it.

“I’m exhausted,”  Williams said, “but I have a smile on my face now. I know my child is safe.”

Other families took their kids to the zoo in Lincoln Park. However, they know that’s not a long-term solution, and they are frustrated with the situation.

“If we could plan better for their own eduction or for things I might do with them [to make up for lost learning time] if we knew how long this would last, but it’s frustrating to live day by day,” said one parent.

Parents also must weigh the cost of missing a day of work against the cost of daycare, even for older students. Some organizations are running day camp activities for older students, but it comes at a cost of about $65 a day.

RELATED: Find A School Location For Your Child During Strike