Highway 1 has been blocked with a tiger dam since Sunday, preventing travel between Abbotsford and Chilliwack. (APD photo)

Highway 1 has been blocked with a tiger dam since Sunday, preventing travel between Abbotsford and Chilliwack. (APD photo)

Teachers bused, using other accommodations to deal with highway issues in Fraser Valley

Highway closure has led Abbotsford and Chilliwack teachers to use shuttle or stay in hotels

Flooding and the recent extreme weather in the Fraser Valley is causing headaches for teachers who have to travel between Chilliwack and Abbotsford for work.

The Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Education has advised both the Abbotsford and Chilliwack School Districts that employees are to refrain from driving their personal vehicles to work as they will not be permitted through roadblocks.

Highway 1 has been closed since Sunday (Nov. 28) and Highway 7 has been open to essential traffic, however teachers in their personal vehicles are not considered essential.

RELATED: ‘Tiger Dam’ being built on Highway 1 in Abbotsford to hold back floodwaters

As a result, both school districts have been chartering buses to allow employees to travel back and forth from the communities.

For Chilliwack residents working in Abbotsford, charter buses have been leaving Chilliwack from the Old Steam Parking lot (45014 Commercial Ct) at 6:15 a.m. and then drop staff off at two locations in Abbotsford – Yale Secondary and Abbotsford Senior Secondary. Buses then leave Abbotsford Senior at 4 p.m. and Yale Secondary at 4:15 p.m. and drop staff back off at the Chilliwack location. Passengers are responsible for having transportation from Abby Senior/Yale to and from your worksite.

A limited number of hotel accommodations have also been set up in Abbotsford, with employees having standard room rates reimbursed. Meals will also be covered on a per diem basis for those staying in hotel. There is also an option to stay at a friend or family’s house, with an accommodation allowance and meal allowance available.

Chilliwack is in the same boat, with teachers travelling in from surrounding communities and that district booking hotel rooms for teachers to stay in and a daily charter bus going back and forth.

RELATED: Landslide closed Highway 7 in both directions near Agassiz, now reopened

Doug Smuland, the president of the Abbotsford Teachers Union, stated that the bussing has created some challenges for teachers.

“The route last week was taking upwards of three hours in each direction and adding substantial strain on teachers,” he said.

Smuland added that the transportation issues have also led to some specialist support teachers having to cover absent classroom teachers.

“With these teachers covering absent classroom teachers, specialized services are not available for some students,” he said. “To the district’s credit though, they did try to ensure that schools with higher numbers of students with unique needs were prioritized with continued supports.”

It’s still unclear when Highway 1 will reopen.

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