More Roanoke students return to the classroom
ROANOKE, Va – More Roanoke students Returned to the classroom Monday. Most students attending Roanoke City Public Schools were already attending in-person classes two days a week. Now, they’ll be in-person double that, for four days a week. The school division has several precautions in place, such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and regular cleaning to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. About 25% of students in the school division chose not to return and will finish the school year virtually.
Black superintendents in southwest Virginia make strides in and out of the classroom
ROANOKE, Va – During Black History Month, 10 News continues to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of African-American leaders across southwest Virginia. As time went on and she continued her path in educational leadership, Edwards became the first Black female superintendent at Lynchburg City schools. “I grew up in poverty with, with two parents, neither who finished school,” Martinsville City Schools Superintendent Zeb Talley said. Verletta White will soon wrap up her first year as superintendent with Roanoke City Schools. “Representation matters because perspective matters,” Roanoke City School Superintendent Verletta White said.
High schools prepare for the start of fall, yes, fall sports season
ROANOKE, Va – The kickoff for the high school football season is right around the corner. Having fall sports happen during the winter is something Roanoke City Schools Athletic Director FL Slough could never have imagined, but he said his players and coaches are making the most of it. “It is critically important that everyone continues to follow the community mitigation strategies, the last thing we want to happen is to see a reversal in this downward trend,” Morrow said. AdThis season, the players will be wearing face shields inside their helmets to lower the risk of spread COVID-19. “So we’ve had to implement a lot of mitigation strategies that wear masks, social distancing, washing hands and monitoring what we’re doing,” Slough said.
Roanoke City Schools work on reopening plans
ROANOKE, Va – With less than a month until students are set to return to the classroom for in-person learning, school divisions across southwest Virginia are working around the clock to prepare their plans. Newly released guidelines from the CDC show that students can return to the classroom safely. “Just inching our way forward very carefully, but we’re proud to have kids in-person according to the CDC recommendations that were just published this past weekend we are in alignment with those CDC recommendations,” Roanoke City Superintendent Verletta White said. Most Roanoke City School students haven’t had a full week of in-person learning in almost a year, they’ve been doing a mix of in-person and virtual learning. The Superintendent says the school division is working very closely with the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts to welcome students back safely.
Roanoke City schools make changes after new COVID-19 cases
ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Schools is making changes to some classes after staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Monday, Oct. 12:A staff member at John P. Fishwick Middle has been diagnosed with COVID-19. A Roanoke Technical Education Center (ROTEC) staff member has also been diagnosed. Roanoke Technical Education Center (ROTEC) will remain open during this time," said the notification sent Monday. If you have any questions, you may contact Employee Health, Monday – Friday 7am-4pm at 853-1433 or 853-1436.
Roanoke City Schools releases COVID-19 numbers, guidelines
ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Schools officials have released an update on coronavirus cases in the district and guidelines going forward. Here is a breakdown of the cases between Aug. 31 and Sept. 21:Students 13 positive 25 reported symptoms 29 exposures 67 total cases trackedStaff 11 positive 39 reported symptoms 44 exposures 72 cases tracked (some reported both symptoms and exposure)The school district also detailed what would happen in a variety of scenarios:If a person tests positive with exposure to someone else within the district: School principal or supervisor will tell staff members if person was in the building Parents and guardians will get a letter and a robocall, or a phone call depending on the degree of exposure, if their student was in the buildingOfficials say what happens next depends on a variety of factors:
Roanoke City Schools prepare students for first day of school
Roanoke, VA – Roanoke City School leaders spent the weekend gearing up students and their families for the first day of school Monday. Sunday the division hosted its annual Back to School to Extravaganza a little differently than in years past. Parents could drive through the parking lot at William Fleming High School to get more than 2,000 bags of school supplies. Superintendent Verletta White says she and the rest of her team are excited to kick off the school year. Roanoke City Schools will be doing virtual classes for a majority of its students.
State Farm agents donate 10,000 water bottles to Roanoke City schools
ROANOKE, Va. – The water fountains within Roanoke City Schools will remain dry this year, but students will have no issues finding water thanks to an ocean-sized donation. State Farm unloaded a moving van full of 10,000 water bottles at William Fleming High School on Thursday morning. State Farm agent Betsy Thomas said she wanted to ensure children would not have to look far to find water. “If the kids are having recess, if they’re doing sports or are in the band, or if they don’t have water of their own, we’ve got to provide it or the school has got to provide it,” Thomas said. “We just wanted to do our part.”The schools’ water fountains will be shut off this year because of social distancing; however, Roanoke City Public Schools will hand out water to students during both breakfast and lunch.
‘It’s about safety': A look at the bus plan for Roanoke City Public Schools
ROANOKE, Va. – For students in Roanoke City Public Schools, safety will start from the moment they step on a school bus this fall. Window, aisle, window, aisle,” Ziegler said, referring to the orange cones that had been placed in the seats on a bus. For bus drivers and aides, safety starts before they get on the bus. If someone on a bus tests positive for COVID-19, that bus will be taken out of service for at least 24 hours to be cleaned. When the school district will finalize a plan for the school year, including pick up and drop off times and routes, was unclear Wednesday.
Whats News Today: COVID testing, Sprinkle Day
The New River Valley Public Health Task Force will hold a COVID-19 testing clinic today. The site will be set up at Blacksburg High School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You will need an appointment. You can get a test between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Northside High School. Roanoke City Schools will answer your questions about reopening schools tonight. Center describes it as a tribute to the neighborhood. Theres a virtual meeting tonight at 6 p.m.
‘We’re not pleased’: Roanoke Education Association responds to RCPS plan
ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke Education Association President Bettye Bell made her position clear on Wednesday about Roanoke City Schools’ plan for the upcoming school year. I would like for the parents and the board to consider more of a virtual opening,” said Bell. As a high school teacher, Bell’s especially concerned because there are so many young people testing positive for COVID-19 right now. White said, overall, feedback on the plan had been positive as of Wednesday afternoon but nothing was official. As of Wednesday, a date to vote on a plan had not been set.
Roanoke City Schools expecting greater need for supply donations this year
ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City school leaders are emphasizing the need for school supplies ahead of the upcoming school year. The district has put together an Amazon wish list of school supplies which they published on Facebook this week. This is something the district does each year, but there is expected to be a big need this year. “With quarantine and many of our parents being out of work, we believe that the need will be greater than it’s ever been,” said school district spokesperson Justin McLeod. While any school supplies are acceptable, backpacks are often what many families struggle to afford more because of the cost, McLeod said.
Whats News Today: hot car safety, COVID updates
ROANOKE, Va. Roanoke City Schools kicks off its Virtual Summer Reading Program today. Cox Communications will distribute free books to students at today kickoff at Round Hill Elementary at noon. Today, we will hear from community educators about their efforts to prevent unnecessary car heat deaths. Lynchburg City Schools will talk more today about its plan for school this fall. The Return to Learn committees and school system leadership will talk about what school will look like for students.
New Roanoke schools superintendent says back-to-school plan still a work in progress
ROANOKE, VA. Roanoke City Schools superintendent Verletta White said the citys back to school plan is still a work in progress. On Tuesday night, White rounded out her welcome to Roanoke tour with the families of Garden City Elementary. Earlier in the day, Governor Ralph Northam announced new school guidance that said students can be as close to three feet apart if they wear masks and arent showing symptoms of the virus. White said theyre still working on their plan and hope to present to the school board next week. The division said 7,000 parents have completed the school re-opening survey.
Whats News Today: back-to-school talks, peak power alert
ROANOKE, Va. Today is the last day to give your input about reopening Roanoke County Schools. Roanoke City Schools is also asking for your thoughts about the reopening of schools. The Alleghany Health District will test people on a first-come, first-served basis today from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Alleghany High School. We could find out tonight about reopening plans for Lynchburg City Schools. Danville Utilities receives a Peak Power Advisory from its wholesale power provider.
Small church, big impact: Forest Park Church launches summer meal program
ROANOKE, Va. One small Roanoke church is trying to make a big impact in its neighborhood this summer. With the help of Roanoke City Schools, Forest Park Church launched their summer meal program this week. The program started Monday, but two weeks earlier the Forest Park Church did a pilot program to figure out resources and make sure this was something they could keep up throughout the summer. Meals are only for students, pick-up is Monday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the church parking lot (812 29th Street NW, Roanoke VA 24017). Together, they just want to show how church is more than what happens in a building especially during a pandemic.
Taskforce formed to help Roanoke City Schools reopen
ROANOKE, Va. – School districts across the state remain closed, but some districts, including Roanoke, are preparing to reopen. Roanoke City Schools has formed a taskforce with that goal in mind. The school district’s spokesperson, Justin McCleod, said Wednesday that the district is waiting to see what happens with the coronavirus before making any decisions, but planning is taking place behind the scenes. “All types of scenarios, whether we do x, y and z, but I would say at this point it’s too preliminary for me to say we’re going to do what’s being proposed. There was no timeline Wednesday for when a decision about what the next school year will look like could be made.
NBA player, Roanoke native Troy Daniels donates to Roanoke City Schools
Roanoke, Va. – Roanoke native and current Denver Nuggets guard Troy Daniels has donated $3,000 to help Roanoke City Schools feed children during the weekends. Roanoke City Schools tweeted out a thank you to the William Fleming grad on Thursday. The 6-year NBA pro’s trek to pro basketball started at William Fleming, then took him to VCU. He broke into the league with Houston, and has had stints with Minnesota, Charlotte, Memphis, Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers and is now a Denver Nugget.
New Roanoke school bus transportation boss hands out turkeys to boost employee morale
ROANOKE, Va. – There’s a new boss in town running the Roanoke City school bus show and he’s been tasked with a tall order. Among other issues, there is a shortage of bus drivers. Ron Young is the new general manager for Durham School Services, which is the transportation company used in Roanoke City Public Schools. Young said he enjoys getting face time with the employees and letting them know they’re appreciated. “When they’re working extra hard or they don’t think they’re respected or appreciated, that’s never good.
Durham hires new Roanoke general manager
ROANOKE, Va. – As patience continues to dwindle and pressure proceeds to mount, the transportation provider for Roanoke City Schools has hired a new general manager to run the company’s Roanoke operations. Durham School Services announced on Thursday that Ron Young, an Army veteran and longtime Roanoke Valley resident, would be taking the helm in the Star City. Last week, the school board received an update from Durham which it viewed as unsatisfactory and demanded an action plan by the following day. Durham met its deadline, but the school division chose to wait five days before giving 10 News its requested copy. But, while board Chairman Mark Cathey was pleased with the plan, the real test will be if Durham can deliver.
Roanoke City bus provider Durham School Services promises fixes in action plan
ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City School leaders continue to pressure Durham School Services to get its act together. Last week, the school board got an update from Durham which they viewed as unsatisfactory and demanded an action plan by the following day. Durham met its deadline, but the school division chose to wait five days before giving 10 News its requested copy. Wednesday marks three months since the first day of school in Roanoke and while many of the bus issues have been resolved, there are still some that need fixing. Roanoke City bus drivers receive the highest starting hourly wage in the area and are offered full benefits.
Roanoke City School Board ultimatum answered, Durham submits report on bus issue solutions
ROANOKE, Va. – Patience is running out for parents and the Roanoke City School District over problems with its bus company, Durham School Services. On Wednesday, school officials received a report from Durham they hope will resolve all the busing issues they’ve faced since the start of the school year. On Tuesday night, the tension came to a head at the school board meeting where board members demanded that Durham submit a report detailing concrete solutions within 24 hours, or else they’d have to consider firing the company. On Wednesday evening, the school district confirmed it received Durham’s report within the deadline. However, Rottenborn said she hopes the school district and Durham can work together.
Roanoke City Schools wraps up inaugural father and male role model engagement week
ROANOKE, Va. - On Friday night, Roanoke City Schools wrapped up its inaugural father and male role model engagement week. The program is titled Kicking it with our Kings and was designed to engage men by inviting them into schools. City schools leaders hosted three dinners this week. Earlier this week, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea spoke at another dinner. "K ids now, they need somebody, they need help," Roanoke City Schools grandparent Harold Hancock Jr. said.
After-school events cancelled in Botetourt County, Roanoke
Mario Tama/Getty ImagesROANOKE, Va. - After-school activities and sports have been canceled in both Roanoke and Botetourt County. Roanoke City Schools has canceled afternoon preschool and all after-school activities and athletics. Inclement weather has also canceled all after-school and sporting events have been canceled. Copyright 2019 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.
New Fallon Park Elementary School building close to completion
ROANOKE, Va. - Fallon Park Elementary School's new addition is nearly ready for its first classes. Phase two of Fallon Park's reconstruction is moving ahead of schedule, according to Roanoke City Schools. The new building, which will become the elementary school's main building when it is complete, is expected to open after winter break. Fallon Park Principal Nikki Mitchem said her school is looking forward to the move. After phase two is complete, most of the old Fallon Park building will be demolished to make way for phase three of construction.
'I refuse to get used to it': Roanoke parent says app doesn't resolve school bus issues
ROANOKE, Va. - The Star City school bus saga continues. The company running the buses, Durham School Services, said a new tracking app will fully roll out Thursday, touting it as improved communication after months of issues. I want them to make it right, and I'm not going to stop until they get it right," Jones said. One way that Durham School Services is trying to do that is with a new tracking app that promises near real-time information at each stop. For Jones, the app is merely a distraction from the real issues, dating back to Durham's takeover this summer.
Roanoke City Schools' Durham Bus Tracker app available now
ROANOKE, Va. - Parents of Roanoke City Schools will now be able to track their child's bus using the Durham Bus Tracker app or DBT. According to the school's website, the free app will securely allow parents or guardians to view the location of their child's bus in relation to their assigned bus stop. The app is set up so security information such as student names, ID number and location must be provided before the bus location can be viewed. The company says this helps to ensure that only parents and guardians of students assigned to specific bus routes are able to view the location of their student's bus. For more information, head to the Roanoke City Schools website.
Dodgeball tournament to benefit homeless students raises more than $13,000
A dodgeball tournament at Patrick Henry High School raised more than $13,000 for homeless students within Roanoke City Schools. The event was organized by the STAR (Students Take Action in Roanoke) Council, a group of high school students within Roanoke City Schools that aims to help homeless students in the district. "This means a lot," said STAR Council member London Paige, a student at William Fleming High School. Specifically, it helps our students and peers, people we probably see every day and would not know that they are homeless." Roanoke City Schools estimates there are approximately 300 homeless students within the district.
Roanoke City Schools' bus provider increases sign-on bonus
ROANOKE, Va. - After several months, the embattled transportation provider for Roanoke City Schools has increased its signing bonus for new drivers. The substantial increase comes after drivers told 10 News that Durham School Services is short drivers. Previously, the sign-on bonus was $500. Now it's $2,500, according to a tweet by Roanoke City Schools. The transportation company's debut in Roanoke has been rocky, including late pickups, late drop-offs, personnel changes, and a slew of parent and driver complaints.
Schools in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Wythe County named 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools
ROANOKE, Va. - Some local schools are receiving a national honor for education: the distinction of being named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School. Grandin Court Elementary in Roanoke, Paul Munro Elementary in Lynchburg and Rural Retreat Elementary in Wythe County are among seven Virginia schools to earn this honor. @VDOE_News pic.twitter.com/a3e7wjQ4wh Roanoke City Schools (@RoanokeSchools) September 26, 2019U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos named 362 schools nationwide as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors K-12 schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement, according to the Virginia Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education will honor the 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools during an awards ceremony later this fall in Washington, D.C.
'A positive, progressive, successful community': Roanoke mayor gives State of the City
ROANOKE, Va. - Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea maintained his optimism for the city in his annual update. Lea gave his State of the City address to the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning. The mayor drew attention to Roanoke City Schools' 90 percent graduation rate, as well as major projects which finished such as the rebuilt Franklin Street Bridge and the new Melrose library. Lea says he's proud of how far the city has come and believes it will continue to improve. "We can sustain our momentum as a positive, progressive, successful community in which everyone plays a role in making our incredible potential," Lea said.
Struggles with Roanoke City Schools' bus operator have school year off to a bumpy start
ROANOKE, Va. - Roanoke City Schools' struggles with its new bus operator have started the school year off on a bumpy road. Durham School Services' buses ran so late this week, the school district called parents and posted to social media about it. This is definitely not the start Durham School Services was hoping for when it took over Roanoke's school bus system. Roanoke City Schools drew attention to Durham's delays yesterday with both a Facebook post and a robocall to parents. Roanoke City Schools still has a phone number that parents can call to air out their concerns with the bus service.