LOGAN SQUARE — Chicago Public Schools' 400,000 students may have been happy to hear classes were canceled for a second day in a row Tuesday due to the extreme cold, but the news left some parents scrambling for baby sitters or ways to keep their kids busy.
Some parents who had to work took advantage of the YMCA's "School's Out" program, which was running at five locations across the city Tuesday.
By 9 a.m., about 12 kids were shooting hoops in gym of the McCormick Tribune YMCA in Logan Square.
Stephen Vick, who runs the facility, said the program runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and has a number of activities for children including arts and crafts, sports, computer games and movies.
Vick said about five kids came out for the program Monday, and more than twice that number showed up Tuesday.
"I'm a CPS parent, and we got phone calls and texts [about classes being canceled]," Vick said. "This second day, parents are sort of saying, 'I have to get back to work. What do I do?'"
Vick said the program usually costs $40 but the YMCA was working with CPS to waive the fee due to the "emergency situation" caused by the weather.
"When you talk to parents, some are glad that CPS shut down, some are frustrated," he said. "You know, 'they didn't shut schools down when I was a kid,' that sort of thing, but I think most parents are just thankful they have a place to go."
CPS also directed parents to the Chicago Park District, which had all of its indoor facilities opened Tuesday as warming centers.
Parks were running children's programs Tuesday as scheduled, said Park District spokeswoman Marta Juaniza, though ice rinks were closed, and all outdoor activities were canceled due to the dangerous temperatures.
Edwin Garcia said his two daughters had been bugging him to take them to Chuck E. Cheese's after they heard classes were canceled.
"They've been asking for a couple of days," Garcia said as he stood outside a Chuck E. Cheese's in West Lincoln Park. "I was planning to take them here, but this just pushed me over the edge."
Garcia's two daughters attend Pulaski International School, which he attended as a child. Garcia said he thought CPS was getting a little "soft" when it came to canceling classes.
"They never had any snow days like this when I was a kid," he said. "I was walking in 5 feet of snow, and they didn't even care."
Garcia was part of a steady stream of parents at Chuck E. Cheese's Tuesday looking for a way to occupy their kids. Garcia said he was happy to spend the extra time with them.
"I'd be getting more sleep, but whatever," he said with a smile.
CPS announced Tuesday afternoon that classes will resume Wednesday. So far, CPS has canceled four school days in January because of subzero temperatures.