- Monday, September 7th, 2020
Principal Cheryl Simmers released the following final update before the opening of school:
I sit here at Rowanty today working on all the last bits of things that need to be completed. It is quiet in the building, but I do have a few people around doing the same thing. As much as educators would love to take today and rest, most of us are still moving forward to get our tasks done. I guarantee you that the majority of teachers are trying to ease their own fears, just like you. Please take a minute today, if you can, to think of the teachers and send them positive energy. While we know there will be bumps in the road everywhere tomorrow, please know we will hit those potholes and keep going.
For our Rowanty family, I wanted to ease everyone’s minds. We are well-equipped to deal with whatever is thrown our way. We have discussed possible problems and how we will respond. My trusted staff is used to dealing with whatever happens. We just ask that you be patient and give them the moment they may need to determine the best course of action. Believe me, we are transparent and will tell you if it is something we can’t fix right that second.
For our online Rowanty family members, please do not think we have forgotten you. We have chosen to tape our classes and upload them to Google Classroom, instead of meeting live. We understand that many of you may not have Internet strong enough to support live feeds. We also know that there are students still without devices and Internet service at all. Last, we are not comfortable with the quality of the live feed from Zoom versus a recording. Teachers will be contacting you the first week of school to help you get connected. Unfortunately, we don’t receive demographic information until the last minute due to last minute schedule changes, etc. We wait until the counselors feel they have everything in place.
My IT Coordinator is working on all of the new accounts for first time students at Rowanty. For my second-year students, your email address and password has not changed. Your instructor will have your information available. If you are virtual, please email them if you have forgotten. It is not a problem at all.
I want all of the family to know how our online presence will be used this year. Every student will have a Google classroom account. The teachers will send out “invites” for their classes once we have the email addresses completed. Teachers will be uploading their daily videos and all assignments. Any resource available (PowerPoints, handouts, pictures, etc.) will be uploaded as well. Every student will then be able to download anything they need to their individual Google Drive and be able to access the information without Internet service.
Our teachers are using Samsung tablets to record their lessons. This will make it easier for them to be mobile and ensure our students don’t miss anything, if they aren’t here in-person. I will warn you the first week will be trial and error, so please give my teachers a bit of grace. They have tested recording with their tablets, so our fingers are crossed all will go well. Also, our instruction in our shops and labs will be recorded. We want to make sure our students have the full experience, short of standing there in-person.
We are asking all families to have their student bring their Chromebook, tablet, etc. with them each day to Rowanty fully charged and ready to go. This way they will be able to access Google Classroom and any other program they need to use. If your student has not been assigned a device, we will work with them the first week of school. We have subscribed to a number of online content-specific software, so it will be extremely helpful for them to have their own device, rather than using one of ours in the classroom. We want to make sure that your students are technologically sound in all facets of our online instruction. This is critical in case we run into circumstances that require virtual instruction to become widespread again.
I have been watching social media and realize that it appears that transportation may be the biggest obstacle for our families. As my previous update indicated, Rowanty has limited parking and does not guarantee driving privileges. There are certain things for which we will not approve driving. We do know who originally requested virtual education and those that requested in-school education. We realize that more students are accessing virtual education, but we also know schools are working with students regarding transportation.
Please know that transportation is the home high school’s responsibility. Rowanty has no obligation to notify any parent regarding transportation. We made a compromise this year to help the schools with the overloaded bus situation. Know that we have never granted long-term driving privileges to students unless they have a documented health problem from their physician. We do have limited parking, so any message from your home school that indicated that driving was a guaranteed option for your student was incorrect. Rowanty notified all school divisions that driving and parking was limited and that there would be a process to follow for approval.
I know that parents and students have received mixed messages from individuals. We at Rowanty have tried to clear up as many of these mixed messages as we can. We hope we have reached most people through our website and Facebook page. Unfortunately, we don’t have the same access to robocall information this early in our year. Our demographic information is just being updated now. You will, in the future, be notified via robocall to check our website for information. We know everyone has a different preference for notification, so we do also use Facebook. Last, know you can always email a staff member at their Rowanty email address. Please do not use Facebook Messenger for official school questions. We do not monitor that regularly.
Because of the mixed messages many families have received, we are anticipating some problems in the morning regarding transportation. Families that have received official approval emails are on a list that our staff will access when the student arrives. The students will be directed to the appropriate parking location. Students not on this list will be directed to a different location on campus so we can determine the problem. Drop off students should be brought to the front entrance of the school and wait in the car for the pre-entry temperature check before entry.
Students that are driving or brought by bus will enter through their program outside entrance. This is where the pre-entry temperature check will take place. Any student with a temperature of 100 degrees or more will be directed to where they need to go, so our school nurse can evaluate them. Parents/guardians will be contacted and will be told the next steps. We are hoping we won’t have to worry about this tomorrow, but please know we are prepared.
Be assured your student will not have to deal with any problem that occurs in the arrival process tomorrow. We will make it work. We want the first day to go smoothly for them.
For tomorrow, we would expect our students to arrive with the following:
- A fully charged device, if available
- A face covering that MUST be worn properly (over face and nose) at all times on Rowanty property
- A three-ring notebook with paper or some other type of notebook (marbled composition books are great for general note-taking)
- Writing implements (pens, pencils, etc.)
- Abide by standard school dress code and NO OPEN TOE SHOES OR SLIPPERS
Rules and policies will be discussed with students tomorrow. They will be repeated regularly to ensure all students understand the faculty and staff are on the same page. The student handbook and forms that will need to be completed will be available on our website and in Google classroom as fillable PDFs. We also will provide students without access hard copies. We are attempting to embrace our virtual world this year, so most of our information will be online. There will be an opportunity for you to let your student’s teacher know if you need information provided in an alternative form.
Please know that transportation is the home high school’s responsibility. Rowanty has no obligation to notify any parent regarding transportation. We made a compromise this year to help the schools with the overloaded bus situation. Know that we have never granted long-term driving privileges to students unless they have a documented health problem from their physician.
As I wrap up this message, please make sure that Rowanty has your current email address and phone number on file. We are unable to contact you until you provide this information on the demographic form we will be posting on our website.
We thank you for all of your patience in this process. I hope this message provides you with the information you need to start school tomorrow. Please feel free to call at 434.246.5741 with questions. If no one answers, please leave a voicemail or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back with you, but we know that tomorrow will be crazy.
Let’s all try to stay positive and focus on what we can do. It is amazing what we can all do when we choose to not be negative. Best wishes!
- Tuesday, August 25th, 2020
Principal Cheryl Simmers released the following information update for Dinwiddie family members:
To our Dinwiddie family members … Rowanty is aware of the robocall made regarding the change in Dinwiddie’s reopening plans to an all-virtual status. We do not know how this will impact Rowanty’s plans for reopening. We ask that you be patient until we can gather the information we need to best answer your questions.
We will be posting all official updates on our Facebook page and website. We would appreciate if you would allow us tomorrow to gather our information before you contact us. By Thursday, we hope to have answers to your questions if you call or email.
This is our reality at this moment. Just know we are continuing to prepare for school opening. I think you will be impressed with the innovations our staff are using to make Rowanty the safest environment we can.
Stay strong and positive everyone. We will make this work together.
- Monday, August 17th, 2020
Principal Cheryl Simmers released the following update:
Today’s update includes information regarding student attendance information for Rowanty for 20-21.
Dinwiddie students are scheduled to come to Rowanty on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week, with virtual learning on Friday..
Prince George students are scheduled to come to Rowanty on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week, with virtual learning on Friday.
Sussex students are scheduled to access Rowanty courses virtually each day for at least the first two weeks of school. Rowanty is currently working with Sussex administration for plans past the first two weeks of school.
Please note that if your child has a driver’s license and their own transportation you may contact Rowanty after August 27th for driving opportunities on “off-days.” Parents/guardians may drop off and pick up students any day, as long as they arrive/leave from 8:00 am and 2:30 pm.
Documentation required for Rowanty students will be posted online next week. More details regarding virtual learning, driving, and health plans will be posted at that time. It will be very important for ALL families to complete these forms in a timely fashion once they have been contacted by the student’s teacher.
As of today, Rowanty course registration information (student names) is still in preliminary stages. School counseling offices will contact students/families with any questions or concerns. Rowanty teachers, when they return to school, will be contacting student families to complete an important questionnaire to determine student access to learning opportunities. Communication between Rowanty administration and teachers with students and their families must be consistent and effective this year, more than any other year.
We respect that your students are older and should be taking individual responsibility for their education. However, we also know, from our experiences, that doesn’t always happen. Please know that Rowanty faculty and staff will be in touch with your student and the family regularly throughout the year. Please know your student’s teacher will be the one most aware of your child’s educational information. So, please make time to speak to them when they call. We appreciate your cooperation and know we will have a positive year if we keep the lines of communication open and build the relationships we value so much.
As of today, no information provided in previous updates has been changed. Please feel free to contact the principal at email@example.com or 434-246-5741 with specific questions.
Principal Cheryl Simmers has released the following statement:
Rowanty Update #4
Good afternoon all! As always, I am trying to stay in the loop with all three counties, because their choices affect our instruction at Rowanty. I recognize the fear in all parents’ and students’ voices. Unfortunately, I can’t eliminate all of the fear. But, I can certainly do my best to help lower the fear threshold. I would like to preface everything I am about to say with, “This is today’s world. Tomorrow’s world could change. With that, our plans will change accordingly.”
Right now, I know this to be true: Dinwiddie will be operating on a hybrid plan or all virtual plan, with family’s choice. I have spoken with Dinwiddie administration. They are trying to guarantee Rowanty students three days a week on-campus, so students will be able to receive the hands-on instruction they need to move forward and be prepared for their future jobs. If an in-school option is available for your child, this should be the choice. All Rowanty programs require students to complete a minimum of 80% of the competencies for each program.
I also know that it is possible/probable that Sussex may go all-virtual for the first nine weeks. I also know that a final decision has not been publicized. (This is one of those “today’s reality” situations). I am currently working on plans to help my Sussex students if this happens. Please know we will be recording all class sessions. I also realize that Internet connections are spotty in much of the county. I will speak more toward opportunities for my Sussex students once I have a few days to figure it out. Please know I am trying to be as transparent as possible, so you will feel more comfortable having your child come to Rowanty.
For Prince George, I know that parents have two choices on the survey: all virtual, all in-school. Please make sure that you seriously consider the all in-school option if your student plans to attend Rowanty. Many of our programs are governed by outside organizations that have additional requirements we have to meet. I also do understand the fear of your child being in the school buildings. I can reassure you regarding the planned procedures at Rowanty, but I can’t speak to the high schools’ policies.
As of today, the procedure for students will be to arrive at Rowanty. Each student will report to a program assigned door. Each student will be required to wear a face covering (e.g., mask, face shield, gaiter) before they are allowed in the building. Each instructor, with a face covering, will take the temperature of each student before they are allowed to enter the building. If a student has a temperature in the danger zone (to be determined), the student will be redirected and placed in an isolation area until someone arrives to pick them up. The isolation area will be sanitized when the student leaves.
Please note that we are giving students options for the face covering they may wear. Regardless of their choice, the face covering must completely cover their nose and mouth. Rowanty will be providing a cloth mask that can be left at school so it can be UV sanitized regularly. Students will still need to provide their own face covering for entry and exit of the building. As I have stated before, we respect family and individual choices regarding face coverings. However, we must require face coverings to help increase our ability to protect all of our students. Any help parents can give will be greatly appreciated.
Once the students arrive at their classrooms, they will be required to place their cell phone (if they have one) in our cell phone pocket hanging storage. Each child will have his/her own labeled slot for their cell phone, Rowanty mask, and safety glasses. Rowanty has always required that cell phones not be accessible during class time for safety reasons. This is not a change of policy. Classrooms will be locked if the class heads to the shop. Students will NOT be allowed in the classroom if they are working in the shop. Safety glasses and masks will have identifying marks placed on them before they are sanitized in the UV chambers. They will be placed in each individual student’s pocket once sanitizing is complete. Each program will have its own UV sanitizing chamber. In addition to face coverings, each table/desk seat will have a three-sided high impact plastic desk shield. We will be determining the policies of face coverings when students are sitting at their desks, provided the desk shield is in use. Research is being completed to determine if these desk shields will be enough protection for your students while seated.
Air purifiers have been purchased and should be installed before school starts. These air purifiers will help increase the quality of the air that is moved throughout the classrooms and labs. These air purifiers have multi-level filtering systems. I am also investigating additional equipment to be attached to our HVAC system to help ionize and sanitize the air as it is sent through our systems. This will be an additional line of defense. Last, I will be purchasing shop fans so we can circulate air in our shops better. These measures have been taken because some studies show that filtering and ventilation can help improve the quality of air to minimize airborne particles ability to circulate.
Our regular sanitizing procedures will be as follows. Bathrooms will be sanitized multiple times daily. Water fountains will be out of service, but students will be allowed to use the bottle fillers if they have their own water bottles. Snack machines, specifically, will be removed to minimize sharing of food and congregating in the common area. Food items will not be allowed in the classrooms at all. All surfaces will be sanitized daily.
All classrooms will be thoroughly sanitized twice a day, between classes and at the end of the day. All staff will be provided with appropriate cleaning supplies. These supplies are hospital/nursing grade level. These supplies were selected because of their ability to kill viruses. Door handles, general areas, and computers will also be sanitized. We will have anti-bacterial soaps in all of our restrooms and hand sanitizer dispensing units throughout the building. We encourage students to have their own hand sanitizer if it makes them feel more comfortable, but it may not be shared between students.
Teachers will be recording their classes daily and the lectures will be available via Google Classroom. We are also working on ways to record demonstrations in the shop. While we will do our best to make this learning as seamless as we can, I am certain we will have bumps in the road. I hope that our parents and students will be patient and provide us constructive feedback. I know it will be difficult, but if we are all working from the same page I believe we can make this year more positive than the end of last year. More information regarding the instruction piece will be provided but I wanted to give you all details on the health plan.
We are still working on the response piece if we have a student or staff member that is exposed or tests positive for COVID-19. Just know we take this as seriously as we do the sanitizing and PPE. It is CRITICAL for you to make sure we have a current email address and phone number. We will be utilizing those to keep all parents/guardians informed. Each year we struggle with having correct demographics and health information for each student. This is another area that we hope our parents can assist.
I realize this is a lot of information to take in, but I hope you can see that Rowanty is very serious about the safety of our students and staff. Our Rowanty staff feels comfortable about starting the year in the building and are anxious to have your students here. As I stated, I am extremely transparent with our procedures. I realize everything isn’t fleshed out, but I believe we have a good start to a school year. We are trying to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do. We may do some unconventional things as we work through this “new normal,” but know that our number one goal is to keep everyone as safe as we can.
Again, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 434-246-5741.
Principal Cheryl Simmers has released the following statement:
Rowanty Update #3
Hi all! Just a quick update to help clarify some questions we have been receiving. First, I hope everyone is staying safe and cool. I know how the heat can just drain you. Please know that everything I share with you is contingent on any changes made by Governor Northam, CDC, and VDOE.
Rowanty is prepared to be in school five days a week. Our instructors will be in the building each day. All high schools have been told this. We have also notified the schools that we need as many days “in person” as possible to ensure proper hands-on instruction to meet the competencies required by our classes. As a regional school, we do not make the final decision on the students’ attendance to Rowanty. Each county will create its own plan, and Rowanty will adapt to meet the needs of the students the best way we can. It is times like these that we are unable to give you specifics. We apologize for that.
Our suggestion to ALL parents is to select the “in person” option on any survey you are provided to ensure your child’s ability to attend Rowanty. It is our understanding that students that are “all virtual” will only receive a Rowanty slot if the “all in person” slots are taken. We do not want to be held to this statement, because things are changing regularly and we realize what might have been the case today may change tomorrow. We strongly urge all parents to call your home high school to clarify its policy.
Also, parents should ask if their children’s schedules have been finalized and if Rowanty is on that schedule. You may be able to see this information on your school’s student management system: TylerSIS (Prince George), Infinite Campus (Dinwiddie), or PowerSchool (Sussex). We have not received any information from the schools regarding registration at this time.
Please know we are more than happy to help you get the information you need. Please email Ms. Simmers at email@example.com or give us a call at 434-246-5741. If we can’t answer your question directly, we will do our best to find the answer.
We know anxiety levels are rising as we get closer to the opening of school. We do want to increase those levels if we can help it. So, please reach out if we can help. Have a good week.
Principal Cheryl Simmers has released the following statement:
Rowanty Update #2
Good morning all!
I wanted to take a few minutes to update you on Rowanty’s planning for the fall. We are still working on the final stages of our health/safety plan. I know this is one of pieces that is giving families the most anxiety with respect to sending their children to school. I can’t speak for other schools, but I will share with you some of the extra precautions we are putting in place at Rowanty. I realize that nothing is failsafe and some will disregard some of our policies. We will do our best to have a multi-step system that will help increase our effectiveness.
Students and parents will be provided with a checklist, ahead of school opening, of things to consider before students leave for school each day. This checklist will include the standard items you have seen in much of the CDC literature regarding symptoms and warning signs of COVID-19. We ask that students not come to school if these symptoms are present. We will be modifying our attendance policy to help ease students’ minds about missing days for legitimate health reasons. We will also be providing additional instructional support.
Students will be entering our building through different doors to minimize the crowding of their entry to the building. Their temperatures will be taken before they enter the building. If they do not have a fever, they must enter the building with a face covering of some type. Details on options will be provided at a later date. Also, please note Rowanty will also be providing assorted PPE of this type for students, so we can meet individual needs.
All classrooms/shops will be sanitized daily. When students enter the classroom, each will have a tri-fold high impact desk shield at their desk. This will add additional protection to the facial covering. Students will be seated at least three feet apart, as required by CDC. All instructors will be held to the same standard regarding facial coverings. Rowanty takes the stand that instructors and students are wearing their facial coverings to protect others, since we do know some people are more at risk.
Each classroom will be equipped with a UV Sanitizing chamber, so masks, safety glasses, and other tools can be sanitized daily. The goal is to have a full room air purifier in each classroom inside the building. Shops will be able to open bay doors to increase ventilation. We are also researching the type of HVAC filters that are best suited for our building to minimize the spread of any virus. These are just some of the types of precautions we are taking to keep your students safe.
Please know we have been purchasing PPE and safety/cleaning products since March 13th. Every day we check to see if there are new products we can acquire to help improve our safety protocol. We are not taking the health of your child lightly at all. My main priority since March 13th has been on what we CAN do to better protect our staff and students. We tell people we work as a family/team. We mean it, so everyone’s personal welfare is our first priority.
Since our students are high school students, we will spend time at the beginning of school to educate them on healthy safety protocol. We will also make our expectations known and the “why” behind these policies. Our goal is to provide your students with the education they need to successfully enter and stay in the workforce. Many of our graduates are essential personnel. With that responsibility comes risks. We want to help our students understand how to maneuver that new territory. We are asking parents to support us as we try to help your children.
Please know that this education is driven by the information we receive from CDC and VDOE. We do not entertain any form of politics or alternative health views in our instruction. So, please know that we will be happy to provide links to our resources to you as we move forward. Please help your students understand the difference between “family” requirements and “school/work” requirements during this pandemic. We respect families’ rights but we also know our students will enter the workforce and be required to meet those standards. This is the stand from which we will operate. We will present the standards that CDC, VDOE, and many industries are enforcing.
I am active in social media, and I see the pure panic, fear, and anxiety that is present for teachers, administrators, families, and students. I know it is very real. It appears to me that a lot of this is driven from the unknown. While I can’t answer every question yet, I hope that I have given you a little peace of mind knowing what our safety protocol is evolving into. Please do not hesitate to share ideas and concerns. We are simply trying to take the positive approach of what we CAN do rather than focusing on the unknowns and what we CAN’T do. We appreciate you all and hope you stay cool and healthy.
If you have concerns, we simply ask that you contact administration at Rowanty at 434-246-5741 or Ms. Simmers at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are more than open to listening and assisting you if we can. Just know our FIRST priority is the safety of your child. Also, please remember that official information for Rowanty will only be shared on our Facebook page and website. We can’t guarantee the accuracy of any information you may receive from other sources.
Rowanty announces the following information for students and their families:
- All belongings must be picked up at Rowanty by Thursday, April 30th at 1pm. Hours for pick up are Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 1pm.
- If you have not received your letter from Rowanty, please email Ms. Miller at email@example.com. Please do not call as we are still working at minimal capacity and may not be available to take your call.
- If you have not heard from your teacher, please email Mr. Maxey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!
Packets containing report cards and a letter from Ms. Simmers were mailed to students. An automated phone call was sent to inform everyone. To download a copy of Ms. Simmers’s letter, please click the filename below:
Rowanty is providing curbside assistance to any student who has items that were left in classrooms or lockers from 10 am to 1pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays through the end of the school year. Please ring the doorbell and wait for assistance on the sidewalk. Mr. Maxey will be available to help retrieve belongings and bring them outside. No students or persons other than staff will be allowed inside the building until the stay at home order issued by Governor Northam is lifted.
Principal Cheryl Simmers has released the following statement:
Rowanty seniors, we are in the process of planning to insure your ability to take specific certifications. Those programs listed below are directly impacted for state or union testing:
CNA students – We are stuck in limbo for clinical hours until it is safe to enter our facilities. We will, however, make plans as soon as we can. Please continue to use your State Board handbook as a guide for studying for written part of the test. Other helpful study guides are posted on Google classroom. Take this time to practice as many of your skills at home as possible. We will hold review sessions for testing as soon as we can.
Cosmetology students – There are plans in the works to insure the loss of hours do not eliminate your ability to sit for state boards. Use your candidate bulletins to continue to study. Use the scripts provided to help you with practical skills. We will keep you posted, but be assured we have not forgotten you.
Auto Tech students – For those of you that have passed the written portion of the State Inspection License test, Mr. Wells will be in touch to discuss opportunities to test for the hands-on portion.
Welding students – Mr. Clements will gather information for us to be able to still offer you the Vertical 3G testing.
All other seniors – Please know you are not forgotten. We will be discussing ways to help you end your senior year with all of the skills and assistance you will need to become employed. Please keep your resume updated. We are looking at ways to connect you to employers.
To my juniors, you are not forgotten. Please just breathe. We will get through this and will have a plan in place soon.
To our students, parents, community members, and employers, please know we appreciate your support in the past and we hope you will be there for us as we move forward. If you are willing to assist in any way, please contact me at email@example.com.
Be assured we are working diligently to find ways to connect you to our soon-to-be graduates. If you are on our job fair contact list, we will reach out when our plan is finalized. If you wish to be added to our job fair contact list, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone for their understanding and patience. The Rowanty family will bounce back stronger than ever as long as we continue to work together.
All my best!
Governor Ralph Northam has issued an order closing all Virginia K-12 schools through the end of the academic year. Rowanty will send send a mass alert via phone with the following message:
During a press conference on Monday, March 23rd, 2020, Governor Northam announced schools will remain closed through the end of the year. We realize this raises many questions about what this means for our Rowanty family. Please be assured that we have been planning our course of action since the first closing announcement and that this new announcement will undoubtedly alter some of our plans drastically. We take the education, certification, and job placement of our students very seriously. Following guidance from the Virginia Department of Education, our staff and teachers will continue to work together to plan for the rest of the year and will provide information to students and their families as soon as it becomes available. We wish everyone well and thank you for your continued patience and cooperation.
The Rowanty Job Fair has been officially canceled for 2020. Please email email@example.com for more information.
- Monday, March 16 – Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Rowanty staff and teachers will work to clean the building and to prepare and plan for the eventual reopening and return of our students. Staff and teachers will make calls to each individual student, to ensure everyone in the Rowanty family has what they need during this time.
At approximately 2pm, Governor Ralph Northam has issued an executive order closing all Virginia public K-12 schools for two weeks. Rowanty will issue a mass alert via phone with the following message:
On Friday, March 13th, Governor Northam ordered all K through 12 schools in Virginia to be closed for a minimum of two weeks due to the spread of COVID-19, novel coronavirus 2019. As a result, Rowanty Technical Center will be closed for students beginning March 16th through at LEAST March 27th. We will keep you informed with any information regarding classes and scheduled work as it develops, as well as any new closing information. Thank you and best wishes for good health to everyone.