- Wednesday, July 29, 2020
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 email@example.com or call at 434-246-5741.
- Monday, July 27, 2020
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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 email@example.com. 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.
- Thursday, April 23, 2020
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!
- Tuesday, April 14, 2020
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:Family-Info-COVID19.pdf
- Tuesday, April 7, 2020
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.
- Tuesady, March 24, 2020
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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!
- Monday, March 23, 2020
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.
- Tuesday, March 17, 2020
The Rowanty Job Fair has been officially canceled for 2020. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- Friday, March 13, 2020
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.