How are District Sites and Road Conditions Assessed during Inclement Weather?
Beginning at approximately 2:00 a.m., a team of maintenance and transportation staff begin investigating road conditions and conditions at district sites. Unpredictable conditions can be a result of the varying elevations within Chilliwack. For this reason, road assessments take place in the following areas:
Rosedale, Popkum, Little Mountain and Chilliwack Mountain, Columbia Valley (to the U.S. Border), Chilliwack Lake Road (to Allison Pools), Promontory, Ryder Lake (to Look-Out Point), Prest Road, Marble Hill, Yarrow (including Majuba Hill), and Greendale.
District crews provide an estimated time that snow and ice will be cleared from parking lots, sidewalks and busses. The Manager of Transportation also consults with City of Chilliwack Maintenance Staff and the Fraser Valley Regional District (EMIL Anderson). Weather reports and storm warnings are taken into consideration for the day. Other concerns include fallen or low-lying trees, power failures, accidents and traffic flow. Sidewalks that have excessive snow due to snow removal off the streets are also a safety concern, especially along corridors where students would normally walk to school.
Decisions are also made based on weather conditions forecasted for the “whole day”. If weather changes mid-day there is no way for us to bring students home early because in many cases both parents are working, or may not be home.
Once area assessments are complete, the Facilities/Transportation Team meet to compare their observations. A recommendation is then made to the Superintendent of Schools prior to 5:00 a.m.
How do we make a decision to announce a Snow Day?
Once a recommendation is received, the Superintendent of Schools makes a decision based on the information provided; taking into account the safety of students and staff as a primary concern.
A district announcement is immediately placed on the local radio stations, School District website and social media sites. Notification is also sent to staff, District partners, Community/NLC Coordinators, Daycares and Preschools.
Snow Days are announced on a day-by-day basis only. If inclement weather should continue for more than one day, a routine assessment will occur each day with recommendations brought forward prior to an announcement.
Should inclement weather occur over a weekend, Community School/NLC Coordinators and Principals at these sites are updated and notified of any closures so they may plan accordingly should they need to cancel rentals and re-schedule planned events. For this reason, Community School and NLC sites (or sites hosting significant events) are given priority for snow removal on weekends.
Principals should notify Facilities Staff of significant planned events (including weekend events) booked at their site so that snow removal crews can be scheduled accordingly.