When the pandemic arrived in Michigan last March, paramedics and other emergency medical technicians braced themselves for an onslaught of calls to bring individuals battling COVID-19 to the hospital. And while there was certainly a flood of COVID-19 patients to some hospitals, mostly in metro Detroit, calls to 911 dropped dramatically across Michigan as out-of-hospital deaths soared. Michiganders, including those facing serious illnesses, were avoiding the medical system.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Wednesday that some pandemic restrictions are being loosened. Legislative Republicans, however, continue to push for a full reopening and have threatened to hold up Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s appointees and withhold federal COVID-19 relief dollars.

Dates for reopening Three Rivers Community Schools buildings to students have changed following a Board of Education meeting Monday. Pre-K through fifth grade students will now begin attending school in person next Tuesday, January 19. Middle and high school students will return to hybrid learning as previously planned on Monday, January 25. However, they will now return to full face-to-face instruction two weeks later, on February 8. Also at Monday’s meeting, new school board members were welcomed, new officers were chosen, and Superintendent Ron Moag provided an update on current capital improvements.

During a special meeting Monday, the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) voted to approve a plan to reopen schools to in-person and hybrid instruction on January 25. After discussion that continued from a previous meeting on December 7, BOE members decided not to approve a modification of the Three Rivers Community Schools’ (TRCS) “Return to Learn” (R2L) plan that would have continued all-virtual remote instruction for middle and high school students beyond the start of the next semester.

Beaver Lake Hunt Club General Manager Todd Reilly knew the pandemic meant that camaraderie shared during hunting could end in serious sickness and death for club members, especially considering many are older and susceptible to severe COVID-19 cases. As gravely ill patients flooded intensive care units and the death toll rose last spring, the manager knew he needed to protect his members and decided he’d close the facility’s lodge and kitchen this hunting season. While individuals couldn’t gather like they once had, they were still able to hunt there, and Reilly provided electric hookups for those who wanted to forgo a nearby motel room and instead set up a camper.

Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) announced this afternoon that all school buildings will remain closed to in-person instruction into January. In response to a pandemic health order issued earlier this month by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), TRCS began fully conducting instruction for all in-person and hybrid students through online streaming. That closure was scheduled to last through the expiration of the HHS order, which occurs on December 8.

Christmas Around Town, the annual holiday celebration in downtown Three Rivers, took place this past Friday and Saturday with a lighter schedule than normal. Pandemic restrictions issued earlier this month meant curtailing a variety of things, and organizers further trimmed back an already curtailed event. However, there were still activities, and perhaps 200 people came out on Friday evening and Saturday to partake in them.

During a special meeting Thursday, the Board of Education (BOE) said it found Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) Superintendent Ron Moag to be “effective.” The statement came at the end of a closed session that lasted well beyond two hours. Thursday’s meeting concluded a two-meeting process wherein BOE members conducted Moag’s annual performance evaluation, facilitated by Rod Green of the Michigan Association of School Boards. During closing comments, BOE members also discussed the status and future of online instruction in the district.