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Minneapolis Park and Rec Board extending hours, activities for kids if teachers strike

The news comes as some parents scramble to find child care in anticipation of a teachers strike at Minneapolis Public Schools.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board says it will offer extended hours and activities for children at several recreation centers throughout they city if educators go on strike.

The news comes as parents scramble to find child care in anticipation of a teachers strike at Minneapolis Public Schools.

In a news conference Friday afternoon, MPRB Superintendent Al Bangoura said the board is working to put guardians' minds at ease.

"What we're really trying to do as Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, is to get ahead of a lot of the challenges that families are going to be facing with this potential strike," Bangoura said.

Educators in both Minneapolis and St. Paul say they'll begin to strike Tuesday if a deal with their respective districts isn't reached by Monday night.

"We understand the challenges," Bangoura said. "We understand the complexities of trying to find daycare, trying to find places they [kids] can go, trying to find places they can be safe, and we want to make sure that we let our parents know that our parks are there."

North Service Area Manager Yvette Griffea-Gray said the park board is extending hours and activities at 10 recreation center locations, including: Bryant Square, East Phillips, Fairview, Longfellow, Luxton, Lake Nokomis, North Commons, Northeast, Sibley and Whittier. These locations will be open Monday-Friday, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Recreation supervisors at these hubs will provide staffing for the extended hours, being joined by other MPRB employees a non-hub sites. 

"Our staff are ready and willing to participate and have fun, engaging activities for young people," Griffea-Gray said. "We're just going to do the best we can during this challenging time."

The select locations will offer these expanded services and programs to any child in the Minneapolis Public Schools system from kindergarten up to eighth grade, and will be open through the duration of a potential strike. Officials say snacks and lunches will also be available for participating children.

"Our kids are looking for safe places that they can be — that they can engage and be with our staff," said Bangoura. "Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is wonderful places that our kids go to every day,"

MPRB says registration is required for 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., but drop-ins are welcome during regular recreation hours from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Teachers in both cities plan to continue negotiations through Monday if no deal is reached, and will make an announcement by that evening if there will be a strike.

St. Paul Public Schools says they will be in touch with parents Thursday with contingency plans, and Minneapolis Public Schools says they sent a notice to parents Wednesday about their negotiations.

Should the teachers strike, it would be the first in St. Paul since 2020, and the first in Minneapolis since the '70s.

To register your child for MPRB's extended services, click here.

The YMCA is also offering services for parents and students in kindergarten through fifth grade during the strike at three metro locations from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

The Harold Mezile North Community YMCA in north Minneapolis is $12 a day and registration is required. 

The Blaisdell YMCA in south Minneapolis is $45 a day and registration is required. 

The St. Paul Midway YMCA is $45 a day and registration is required. 

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