LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Tuesday's closures of more than 900 Los Angeles schools sent parents of nearly 700,000 students scrambling.
Carmen Sickerman has three children at three different schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. "At 7:10 a.m., I get the call from Walter Reed (Middle School). At 7:15, I get the call from Taft (Charter High School). My high schooler gets on the bus at 6:45," she said.
The mother of three said her 8-year-old did not ask why she had to stay home. "She didn't ask. I only tell when they ask," Sickerman said.
Carla Hummel's day began to unravel after she said her husband emailed her from work, saying he was watching the news about the Los Angeles Unified School District closing all of its campuses because of a terror threat.
She said school officials did the right thing by canceling all classes. "If we all went in and something was to happen, and it leaked out that there was a threat. Why did you send everyone to school? It's a difficult decision," Hummel said. "I totally get it. But I'd rather play it safe," Hummel said.
Sophie Hummel goes to Riverside Charter School. She said her mother explained to her why she had to stay home. "It was kind of weird. I just got ready. And then, I was like: What? My grandma just showed me the news in the morning," Sophie said.
At a karate a studio in Studio City, parents were buzzing Tuesday night about the day's chain of events.
Parent Renata Simril said: "I think the abundance of caution given what we experienced in San Bernardino just recently and the anniversary of Sandy Hook. As a parent with two boys in public school - one in elementary, one in middle school - I was calmed by the fact that they took an abundance of caution because you don't get a second chance to make that decision."
And while parents understood why the district canceled classes, that did not fix the logistical tailspin for some working moms and dads.
"We have the girls in preschool. They didn't go to school also. My husband went to work. I stayed home. My sister had to call in sick among other people that I know."
Restaurant worker and single mother Ericka Guevara had a similar predicament.
The terror threat that prompted the school closures turned out to be a hoax. "The preliminary assessment is that it was a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, and the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Guevara struggled to quickly find child care before she left for work in North Hollywood. "Three kids. And I have to come over here. Nobody wants to take care of them," said Guevara. "I have to come to work. Finally, I find somebody to take care of them for at least half of the day. So, I have to leave at 1 today. It's hard."
Teenage siblings Daniel and Raquel Gonzales' mother was in a similar situation as their father is out of town for work. She learned about all the schools being shut down when she was getting ready to drop her kids off before heading to work.
"We were driving, and then she called my grandma. And then she dropped us off, and so it was really really crazy," Daniel said. "Yeah, I feel bad because I didn't want her to get to work late," said Raquel.
Alex Torres and his wife of East L.A. phoned their bosses because they have six children in the school district. "They've been very nice. And they said go ahead and spend time with the kids," he said.
But Guevara was not as fortunate. She had to rely on a friend who could only look after her kids for a few hours, which meant she had to cut her shift short and lose money. "It's going to be really tight because those are hours I'm not going to have on my paycheck," she said.
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