UPDATE: Chilliwack public schools closed Tuesday

Chilliwack public schools will start the new school year behind picket lines

Teachers at Sardis secondary picket outside their school on Thursday morning.

Teachers at Sardis secondary picket outside their school on Thursday morning.

All Chilliwack public schools will be closed Tuesday and likely behind picket lines, school superintendent Evelyn Novak confirmed Monday.

In a letter posted on the district’s website, Novak said efforts to end the contract dispute between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) on the weekend failed.

“While we remain optimistic that this will occur in the near future” wrote Novak, “our schools will not open to commence the school year on Tuesday, September 2nd”

All public schools in the district will be closed, and school buses will not be running.

“Although principals and vice-principals will be in their schools, they are unable to provide students with instruction or supervision,” she said. “Therefore, we request that families make alternate arrangements for their children as necessary.”

Daycares on school district sites will remain open.

Veteran mediator Vince Ready was unable to find common ground between the two sides. On Saturday he walked away from the closed-door discussions, saying the BCTF and BCPSEA were too far apart.

Novak said the district remains optimistic a deal can be reached soon. She told parents Ready would remain in touch with both sides.

Private schools in Chilliwack, meanwhile, will open as scheduled this week.

Motorists are being reminded that school zone speed limits around those schools will be in effect.

Novak advised parents monitor the district website, as well as government information site for any additional information

Watch theprogress.com for more information as it becomes available.