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London-area groups prepare day camps as local teachers get ready to hit the picket lines

Vacant desks are pictured at the front of a empty classroom is pictured at McGee Secondary school in Vancouver on Sept. 5, 2014.
Vacant desks are pictured at the front of a empty classroom is pictured at McGee Secondary school in Vancouver on Sept. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward

As public and English Catholic teachers in London get ready to hit the picket lines, parents will have some options at their disposal as their kids get the day off.

The London, Ont. area will be the scene of three separate education strikes on Tuesday.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation are both holding one-day rotating strikes that impact the Thames Valley District School Board, while the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association is staging a province-wide walkout that impacts elementary and secondary students.

READ MORE: Where are Ontario teachers striking next?

Tuesday isn’t the only day London will see strike action, though.

ETFO also plans to stage its own province-wide walkout on Thursday, Feb. 6 — something union officials say is set to repeat once a week — in addition to separate rotating strikes, if no deal is reached with the province by Friday.

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The city and several local groups and organizations have lined up day camps and programs to help out parents on Tuesday and Thursday should the planned strikes go ahead.

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The City of London

The city has confirmed it will offer day camp on Tuesday and Thursday for children impacted by the strike.

The camps will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on both days at Kinsmen Recreation Centre for children aged five through 12 at a cost of $31.

Extended care, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., will also be available for an additional cost, said city spokesperson Monika Guzy.

London Children’s Connection

The London Children’s Connection (LCC) says its before-and-after school programs will be cancelled for the strikes — on Tuesday for London District Catholic School Board (LDCSB) students, and on Tuesday and Thursday for Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) students.

The organization says it’s not offering any full-day programs for the strikes at its school age program locations, saying they do not have the staffing required to offer it at every location and still meet their safety standards.

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READ MORE: Ontario education minister: ‘Disturbing’ that ETFO is withdrawing services for ‘vulnerable’ kids

“Many staff in our before and after school programs have other commitments during the day,” LCC said on its website.

LCC says all of its Children’s Centres will remain open in the event of a strike, as will Fanshawe, White Oaks, and Westmount Family centres.

Boys and Girls Club of London

The Boys and Girls Club of London is offering day camps for both Tuesday and Thursday.

The camps will operate at the Boys and Girls Club of London on Horton Street and at Kidscape on Blue Heron Drive at a cost of $50 per day for club members and $53 per day for non-members.

There are a total of 98 spaces between the two. Parents and guardians can register at the club during operating hours, on the club’s website.

The club says full refunds will be issued should schools stay open.

ETFO , Ontario government to resume contract talks
ETFO , Ontario government to resume contract talks

East Park

East Park says it will be hosting one-day camps on both Tuesday and Thursday.

The camps, which will include activities like rock climbing, bumper cars, and the jungle gym, will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at a cost of $47 per child. East Park says they’ll also try to get in some outdoor fun, where possible.

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Kids must be registered online or in person before the camp starts.

London Children’s Museum

Officials with the London Children’s Museum say they’ll be offering a full-day day camp on both Tuesday and Thursday.

The camps, which run from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., are open to children aged four through 12 and cost $42 for museum members and $46 for non-members.

Registration is required ahead of time and space is limited, the museum says, adding full refunds will be given should schools stay open.

London Public Library

The London Public Library says all branches will offer drop-in activities for school-aged children on Tuesday and Thursday.

The drop-in activities will be in addition to regularly scheduled programs for babies and preschoolers, said spokesperson Ellen Hobin.

“Staff are still finalizing details but people can check for details at www.lpl.ca/programs and then search by date and library location,” Hobin said.

The Factory

Local indoor adventure park The Factory will be holding a special promotion on Tuesday and Thursday.

For $20.20, kids will be allowed unlimited bounces on The Factory’s trampolines from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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To register for the promotion, guests are asked to book online using the promo code 2020bounce.

UTRCA

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) is offering a Fanshawe Nature Adventure Camp on Tuesday and Thursday at Fanshawe Conservation Area.

The camp runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on both days for children aged four through 12 at a cost of $45 per child per day.

Kids will get to partake in educational games, crafts, and activities, including shelter building, guided hikes, winter-themed scavenger hunts, animal survival games, outdoor sports, and more.

Weather permitting, UTRCA says most of the day will be spent outside, so children should bring appropriate clothing, along with a nut-free lunch.

UTRCA says should schools stay open, a full refund will be provided for any unused portion of the registration fee.

ETFO plans province-wide walkouts
ETFO plans province-wide walkouts

YMCA

The YMCA of Southwestern Ontario says it’s offering day programs at four local YMCA branches on both Tuesday and Thursday.

The programs, which will run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Bostwick Community Centre as well as the Stoney Creek YMCA in London, are for kids aged four to 12. Day programs will also be offered at the YMCA’s in St. Thomas and in Woodstock, the agency says.

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Registration for the program begins at noon on Friday, with a cost of $39 for YMCA members and $47 for non-members. Parents and guardians can register online, and spaces are limited.

To help make it easier for parents to chose the which program the YMCA has given names to each of the programs:

  • Bostwick Community Centre program is called “day camp”
  • Stoney Creek YMCA is hosting “school closure”
  • The program in St. Thomas is called “No School Camp”
  • Woodstock program is called “PA Day”

Other

The provincial government said on its website that when a strike occurs, licensed child care programs (including before- and after-school programs) will be allowed to extend their hours, request to increase the number of children attending, and request temporary relocation if they are in a location disrupted by the strike.