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.

With additional closure orders in place and pandemic case numbers continuing to spread, Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) announced on Wednesday evening that it plans to close additional school buildings later this week. On Sunday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new order that required high schools around the state to close. TRCS subsequently closed the middle and high schools to in-person instruction on Monday, taking all classes to a virtual setting. Elementary schools will now also be subject to closure.

At a regular Board of Education (BOE) meeting Monday evening, Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) principals and administrators discussed current performance amid ongoing pandemic measures. Through a series of presentations led by TRCS Curriculum Director Nikki Nash, principals from each of the TRCS buildings discussed where current performance measurements stand among students, and what measures they are taking to improve student engagement and results.

In a press release Tuesday, the St. Joseph County staff announced the Historic Courthouse building will be closed to the public beginning November 18 and continuing through December 8, 2020. The closure comes following a COVID-19 related order issued Sunday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS order is in response to a statewide spike in COVID-19 cases that began several weeks ago.

In response to a directive by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Three Rivers Community Schools announced it will be closing Three Rivers High School and Three Rivers Middle School starting this Wednesday and continuing through December 8. In a Monday press release, TRCS Superintendent Ron Moag said school will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, November 17, to allow teachers and staff time to prepare for a transition. Virtual instruction for students affected by the closure will commence Wednesday.

In the face of rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers, Glen Oaks Community College (GOCC) is stepping up its response by minimizing in-person interactions on its Centreville Campus. College President David Devier and other administrators provided an update during a regular meeting of the GOCC Board of Trustees Thursday morning, and Devier provided a further update on additional restrictions through a statement issued later on Thursday.

An outdoor “Main Street Commons Social District” may be coming to downtown Three Rivers soon. At a regular meeting of the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority and Main Street Program (TRDDA) Friday, board members voted to approve recommending the district to the Three Rivers City Commission for approval. The district is a new opportunity under the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) to permit patrons at certain drinking establishments to consume alcoholic beverages outside.

At a special meeting Thursday, the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) began an annual evaluation for Superintendent Ron Moag. Evaluation-related activities took place in closed session, and no action was taken pertaining to the evaluation. The purpose of the first meeting was for Moag to present a portfolio of his work and accomplishments. A follow-up meeting will conclude the evaluation process. Also at Thursday’s meeting, a pay increase vote was retaken to correct a conflict-of-interest error in a previous vote on Monday. In other TRCS news, two schools reported positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

A “Trunk-or-Treat” event at YMCA Camp Eberhart took place this weekend, drawing several hundred carloads of trick-or-treaters. Families came in vehicles of all kinds from St. Joseph County, surrounding counties, and northern Indiana to take part in the socially distanced Halloween event. Roughly 40 organizations and private individuals hosted “trunks,” wherein they passed out candy to the families that came from the trunks of their vehicles. Some set up elaborate Halloween displays.

Effective a 3:15 p.m. Thursday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new pandemic health order in response to sharply-rising COVID-19 case numbers. The order’s language limits the number of attendees that may gather at indoor and outdoor gatherings in a variety of settings, particularly those where health officials have observed the most rapid spread of the virus. In related news, In a press release Thursday, Office of the St. Joseph County Administrator announced that the county’s Courts Building is closed to the public.

In a light regular meeting of the Three Rivers Public Library (TRPL) board Tuesday, Board Chair Julie Keefer and Acting Director Bobbi Schoon said public response to the former bank building at Main and Moore Streets has been good so far. TRPL staff moved into the new building in August as contractors were finishing up renovations on the building, which the board acquired in 2017. Curbside lending service resumed in September, and the building opened to limited visitation earlier in October. Board members also approved a snow removal contract, authorized Schoon to negotiate with Park Township over an ongoing issue, and discussed a possible archival tenant in the basement.

YMCA Camp Eberhart, located on the shore of Corey Lake west of Three Rivers, will be hosting a Halloween “Trunk-or-Treat” event this Saturday, October 31. Families will be able to tour slowly through the camp in their cars, and more than 40 individuals, groups, and organizations will be on hand to pass out treats. Event organizers say children and adults are welcome and encouraged to arrive in costume. The event is free and open to anyone.

After remaining steady at 11 since late summer, the St. Joseph County death count due to the COVID-19 virus now stands at 15. One death occurred the week before last according to comments last week by Rebecca Burns, Health Officer with the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJ). Three more deaths were added to BHSJ’s online statistics early this week.

Administrators and staff at Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) continue to adjust pandemic response plans and the operation of virtual learning platforms as the fall semester begins to wrap up its second month. At a regular meeting of the TRCS Board of Education (BOE) Monday, Superintendent Ron Moag and Curriculum Director Nikki Nash provided updates on the status of each, and BOE members approved a reconfirmation of the district’s state-mandated COVID-19 Extended Learning Plan (ELP).

The Three Rivers Public Library (TRPL) opened its new facility at the corner of North Main and Moore Streets to a limited number of inside customers Monday. Although it has been providing curbside service since September 21, the interior of the library has been closed to the public. TRPL Acting Director Bobbi Schoon said she was excited for Monday’s opening. “We finally get to share it with everybody,” she said.