Students leave Chilliwack secondary just after noon on Wednesday. All schools in the district were closed as of noon that day due to the snow.

Students leave Chilliwack secondary just after noon on Wednesday. All schools in the district were closed as of noon that day due to the snow.

Worsening weather led to closure of Chilliwack schools

All Chilliwack schools were closed as of noon on Wednesday, after opening for the morning.

At 5:15 a.m. Wednesday morning an announcement was posted on the Chilliwack school district’s website: All schools are open.

By 8 a.m. the social media site Twitter was a buzz with people in the community questioning that decision.

Several schools were without power, roads were treacherous, and Sardis secondary had white-out conditions blowing all around it.

School staff were required to be at school.

“Slight blowing snow – apparently nobody drives to FVDES!!!” posted teacher Michelle Savich.

“Most of the roads around us are closed. Those that are open should be closed,” posted  fellow Fraser Valley Distance Ed teacher John Goldsmith.

Sardis secondary teacher Colin W. said that by 9:35 a.m. there were less than 100 students left in the school. He was not looking forward to going home.

“Took an hour to get to school. Chilliwack River Rd. a nightmare. Not looking forward to going back up the hill,” he posted.

City councillor Jason Lum also didn’t agree with the school district’s decision to open schools.

“Don’t care if the schools are all open, it’s ridiculous out there!” he posted. “Stay home, don’t be insane.”

Business person Mike Olson said it was a poor decision on the school district’s part.

And parent Michael Woods suggested, “SD33 needs a new weatherman.”

By 10 a.m., school district officials were also questioning the decision. At 10:40 a.m., after all schools had been notified, a new announcement was posted on the district’s website informing that all schools would be closed at noon.

“Conditions have worsened in the last three hours since we made the decision to open schools,” superintendent Michael Audet told The Progress in a phone interview Wednesday morning.

“Because of issues with road conditions, drifting snow, windchill, and in the interest of everyone’s safety, we will be closing all schools today at noon.”

In wintery conditions, the school district follows a protocol that has several employees driving the local roads early in the morning, checking on road conditions and parking lots, as well as whether or not schools have power. Decisions are generally made prior to 6 a.m.

When Audet decided to open the schools, he said the roads at that time were manageable.

He was also informed by BC Hydro that the schools without power, which included Promontory elementary, Vedder elementary, and G.W. Graham middle-secondary would have their power returned by 9 a.m.

A second incident, however, also knocked the power out at Sardis secondary and Sardis elementary.

Their power was not returned until 9:45 a.m.

Audet believed that by closing the schools at noon, it would still be safe enough for staff and students to make it home before conditions worsened.

For further school closure information, visit the school district’s website at

University of the Fraser Valley also closed its campuses at 1 p.m. Any class that started after 11:30 was cancelled.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Fire Department on scene at a house fire on Boundary Road and No. 4 Road on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (David Seltenrich/ Facebook)
Fire crews respond to house fire on border of Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Flames, dark smoke reported coming from front of house when crews arrived

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

Pig races at the 147th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 10, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Fair plans in-person event for 149th annual exhibition

Will be first large-scale, in-person event in over a year, provided regulations continue as planned

Vivian Le is one of two local recipients of a Beedie Luminaries scholarship.
Chilliwack students overcome adversity to win Beedie Luminaries scholarships

Sardis secondary’s Vivian Le and G.W. Graham’s Alisa Gusakova are among 112 students receiving money

Crews work on the construction of Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt near the Vedder River on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack School District shuffling catchment areas as Stitó:s Lá:lém totí:lt construction continues

SD33 is looking for public input about proposed catchment and feeder school options

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read