A group of Abbotsford secondary principals’s and vice-principals are at a retreat in Whistler this weekend. (Whistler.com photo)

A group of Abbotsford secondary principals’s and vice-principals are at a retreat in Whistler this weekend. (Whistler.com photo)

Abbotsford principals attend retreat in Whistler despite COVID-19 gathering restrictions

Reported group of 20 did follow COVID-19 protocols during Whistler Pro-D event, says school district

A reported group of 20 Abbotsford secondary principals were in Whistler over the weekend on a work-related retreat despite recommendations from Dr. Bonnie Henry to have a maximum of six people at all gatherings.

The overnight retreat takes place annually.

An Abbotsford School district spokesperson did confirm that 20 secondary administrators from Abbotsford are attending an event in Whistler hosted by the British Columbia Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.

The BCPVA, though, said its event is a virtual conference on Thursday and Friday and that they have nothing to do with the event occurring in Whistler. The spokesperson then clarified that the Whistler event was being held by the Abbotsford Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, a group not under the control of the Abbotsford school district.

There has been online criticism of the Abbotsford School District demanding teachers do their Pro-D work in person at school, while principals and vice-principals are in Whistler.

RELATED: Abbotsford Teachers’ Union says teachers left in the cold on Friday

Jennifer Brooks of the Abbotsford Teachers’ Union told The News that teachers were directed to be at school on Friday, despite the fact that the online workshops and conferences they were registered for could be done online at home.

Brooks said that several school sites did not have the heat turned on and that many of those working that day experienced frigid temperatures for all or part of the day. The News did also receive messages from teachers and the spouses of teachers who wished to remain anonymous that they were cold and were forced to bundle up in additional layers.

Kayla Stuckart, the ASD communications manager, stated that all thermostats in all district buildings were set to 21 Celsius on Friday.

“Our current daytime occupied setpoints for all district buildings are set to 21 degrees,” she stated in an email. “While it was a professional development day with no students on-site, our Facilities Department was aware that staff would be on-site and ensured that thermostats were maintained at the aforementioned setpoint.”

Brooks said it was disappointing that teachers were forced to work at the school because she felt it would have been prudent to have all buildings cleaned following parent-teacher conferences which had occurred on Oct. 22.

“I had spoken with Mr. [Kevin] Godden [ASD superintendent] the week previous, requesting that teachers be able to do their on-line work from home for many reasons, the most important being to allow for schools to be cleaned thoroughly having just had parent teacher conferences on Thursday (Oct. 22nd) and numerous people through the facilities,” she said in an email. “The ATU believes that School District 34 should do a better job of respecting teachers professionalism and autonomy.”

She added that she spoke to Godden prior to Friday and he insisted that heat would be on in all buildings. She said Godden also stated that teachers could not do their work online due to legal reasons surrounding working at home.

Brooks also said she had no knowledge of the Abbotsford principals’ and vice-principals’ planned retreat to Whistler, which also occurred on Friday. She added that she believes all who attended the retreat have all returned to their schools.

“The Union values professional development for both teachers and administrators but in the context of our current pandemic reality has serious concerns regarding administration gathering in person,” she said.

Stuckart said that everyone who attended the Whistler gathering followed all proper safety protocols.

“Administrators that were gathered together for their off-site professional development session followed all of the health and safety protocols implemented by the venue and the health authority,” she said. “Furthermore, they respected the health and safety measures we have for our school district, including the use of masks and physical distancing from those outside of their school cohort.”

B.C.’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise and Henry urged a maximum of six people for any social gathering.

RELATED: B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

“The reality is that, right now, everywhere in B.C., wedding, funerals and other life occasions need to be small — as small as possible. Every gathering needs to be our own household only, and at maximum, our safe six,” Henry said.

Henry also hinted at using tools to place further limitations on social gatherings if the numbers continue to increase.

abbotsfordAbby Schools

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

The Great Gordini puts on a magic show for an avid audience during the first Storytime in the Park in this 2019 photo. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Storytime in the Park returns this summer

Day 1 registration is on June 30

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

Most Read