Chilliwack students enjoyed rare snow day

Snow days aren't common in Chilliwack, but heavy snow and treacherous sidewalk conditions helped school district make early call

Rylan Janssen

To most kids, there’s nothing better than a snow day announcement.

And on Sunday night, after steady and heavy snowfall, the Chilliwack School District delivered. They made the decision at about 8 p.m. Sunday, posting the news on their website and fanning out the information through school email lists.

The decision to close schools was based on students’ abilities to traverse sidewalks and streets that haven’t been cleared properly. A note from Superintendent Evelyn Novak to staff expressed concern for student safety.

“The amount of snow that has been accumulating and that has been forecasted to accumulate will not allow our staff the time to ensure our schools are safely accessible for students,” she wrote. “In particular, the sidewalks in some areas of Chilliwack are impassable for our students who walk to school and would require students to walk on roads to get to school making it unsafe, and will become even more so over the evening and tomorrow morning given the anticipated snowfall,” the note said.

She added that the maintenance crew had been “working tirelessly” through the weekend to clear parking lots, sideways and pathways at the district’s 28 school locations.

While students were allowed to stay home, teachers were asked to make efforts to get to school. However, any teacher not able to do so safely was also allowed to stay home.

Schools were back open on Tuesday, despite many of the same city sidewalks not being cleared for foot travel. It is required by law for homeowners and business owners to clear the sidewalks facing their property by noon the day after a significant snowfall. People have been forced to walk in the roadways, which are narrower than usual due to snow piles.

Side roads leading to schools downtown were still a mess on Tuesday, including Lewis Ave. and Strathcona Road on Fairfield Island. Some parents were concerned that snow was being piled on the wheelchair parking spots at Chilliwack middle school.

Snow days are rare in Chilliwack. The last one was in March 2014, when a series of storms made road conditions treacherous. Before that, a January 2012 storm closed schools for a number of days.

Private schools also called Monday a snow day. They had closed on Friday as well, as the storm was starting. Many teachers and students travel long distances to private school campuses, as they don’t operate on catchment areas.

UFV Chilliwack and Abbotsford kept their doors open for students and exams throughout the storm, however they closed their Hope campus on Monday.

Many other programs closed their doors for the day on Monday, or shortened hours to allow staff to get to and from work safely, including Chilliwack Community Services. And on Sunday, several churches canceled services.

Some families took advantages of the heavy snowfall to spend time together. Many of them built snow forts and igloos, and sent photos in to The Progress to share.

Michelle Stone sent photos of a complex igloo built by her son Jonah. It’s complete with lighting, decorations, and even an entrance tunnel.

Those who built igloos are likely to enjoy them for a while. With temperatures not expected to rise above 0 degrees for the next week, the snow will be sticking around for some time.

Related Slideshow: PHOTOS of Snowfall in Chilliwack

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack holding annual Hazardous Waste Day in early October

The one-day event is a chance to get rid of household things like pesticides and paint cans

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

COLUMN: Don’t be surprised to see hordes of teenagers gathering during this pandemic

The complexity and nuance of public health warnings look like mixed messaging to minds young and old

RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

Rail traffic starts moving after 60-car derailment near Hope

The 60 cars carrying potash crashed along a rail bridge, clean up is ongoing

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Altercation with gunfire in Lower Mainland lands two in hospital

Quiet area of Langley was awoken at 5 a.m. Friday morning to a fight involving gun shots

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

Most Read