News Briefs: County granted accelerated reopening, TRUS plans for mix-mode learning, Memorial Day at Lake Kaweah

Tulare County granted local variance from CDPH

On Wednesday, May 27, Tulare County received approval from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to move forward in accelerated reopening under the statewide Stay-at-Home Order. Tulare County can now move fully into Stage 2 of California’s Resilience Roadmap. 

“We are happy to announce that we have met the metrics set forth by State Public Health officials, allowing us to move forward in the reopening of all businesses within Stage Two,” stated Karen Elliott, County of Tulare HHSA’s Public Health Director. 

Karen Elliott, Tulare County HHSA’s Public Health Director

This includes allowing barbershops and hair salons to open following State modifications and guidance documents released this week. In addition, the CDPH has expanded the opening of faith-based services and in-store retail shopping, issuing guidelines earlier this week. Tulare County’s full COVID-19 Variance Attestation submission was posted on the CDPH website and can be viewed at

Business and industry sectors within Stage 2 will be allowed to resume operations once they have implemented the guidance provided by the CDPH. Businesses and employers can access the full list of permitted statewide industry guidance to reduce risk at

In submitting the local county variance, the County Health Officer attested to various reopening criteria issued by the State Department of Public Health, including testing capacity, positivity rates of COVID-19 tests, hospitalization rates, hospital surge capacity, contact tracing, and more. Restaurants and the local brewery may seat up to 50 percent of capacity in outdoor seating areas.

While the local variance approval allows Tulare County to accelerate fully into Stage 2, it does not allow for the reopening of nail salons or other higher-risk workplaces, such as entertainment venues, movie theaters, live sports audiences, concerts, conventions, or large gatherings.

TRUS awards distributed to

TRUS plans for mix-mode teaching and learning

On Wednesday, May 27, during a special meeting of the Three Rivers Union School board of trustees via Zoom, the cloud-based video-conferencing service, there was overwhelming agreement on the next move for the 136-student kindergarten-eighth-grade school. Administrators, teachers, parents, students, and school board members all want to return to in-person, on-campus learning when the fall semester begins Wednesday, August 12. 

But reopening is problematic. There is no centralized leadership directing a reopening that must be data-driven, so decisions to reopen are left up to the individual school district. The problem is compounded by the fact that nobody knows what the data will dictate.

If students do return to school in August, what supplies will be needed to ensure the safety of teachers and students? Whatever those supplies turn out to be: thermometers to test the kids in each classroom, face coverings for students and teachers, hygiene products, and more, they must be ordered now.

Most parents and the majority of students were relieved that this distanced-learning semester was coming to an end. Superintendent Sue Sherwood commended the teachers for adapting on such short notice and making it work. The caveat: Distance Learning is here to stay. It is part of “mix-mode,” and is rapidly becoming the norm from kindergarten through college.

Traditional schools that opt for in-person and on-campus learning only will cease to exist. Here’s why:

Some parents will not choose on-campus learning in order to protect the health of their children. The COVID-19 pandemic is not going away in 2020 and even when a vaccine exists, because not all will opt for vaccination.

There could still be outbreaks. If a single positive case is recorded at Three Rivers School, on-campus activities would be immediately suspended for three to four weeks. 

TRUS staff, and especially Sue Sherwood, the eighth grade teacher, are agonizing over the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed graduation. Sherwood was emotional just thinking about how these eighteen 2020 grads are not being properly recognized for all their hard work. 

Sherwood said that if COVID-19 guidelines permit, on Friday, June 5, she would like to take the grads on a tour of Three Rivers so the entire town can come out and cheer them on to recognize their achievement. Keep an eye out for this event because all community members will have a chance to make graduation special for the TRUS Class of 2020.

A group of eighth-grade parents, who prefer to remain anonymous, are feeling frustrated by the fact that they raised more than $10,000 for the eighth-grade San Francisco trip that might never happen. An alternative camp-out or whitewater rafting trip was suggested instead of the overnight trip via chartered bus, but it just wouldn’t be the same. These parents, who contacted 3RNews via email, said these alternatives are unacceptable. The group refuses to identify themselves for fear of retaliation.

Here is an excerpt of the email that was signed “Eighth Grade Parents and Students”:

…[W]e write this letter to [3 Rivers News] because we are frustrated of nothing being acknowledged our kids. Just like our children have asked us for help, we now turn to you for help. Why not be open to a different way of doing things because this year has been different as we will remember it. Why not make a mini trip so kids can do something for their 8th grade and save the main trip for a later time? We told our kids we would be writing to you and they got happy that maybe just maybe the community would help them be heard. 

There has been no discussion on the subject of the eighth-grade trip since it was first brought to the table during the March board meeting, the letter said. Here is another excerpt:

Our 8th graders are being treated as if their feelings and hard work don’t matter. They have worked diligently with the Three Rivers community to raise money to provide them with their iconic San Francisco Trip. The kids and parents helped many hours in various fund raisers… 
* * *

Here are the TRUS staff assignments for the fall semester of the 2020-2021 school year along with class size projections: Kindergarten: Liz Harrelson (20); Grades 1-2: Jamie Beck (23); Grade 3: Linda Warner (13); Grade 4: Katie St. Martin (12); Grade 5: Laura Himm (14); Grade 6: Megan Thorn (12); Grade 7: open position (15); Grade 8: Diane Garcia (22). 

Memorial Day at Lake Kaweah

Nobody knew what to expect for the Memorial Day weekend. One thing was for certain: With Lake Kaweah reopening on Friday, May 22, a throng of cabin-fever-suffering folks would be staking out a piece of ground somewhere along Lake Kaweah’s shoreline. Hundreds of boaters could launch at any of the three boat ramps and all the adjacent parking places were expected to be filled. 

Fishing enthusiasts, picnickers, swimmers, boaters — family groups were ready to recreate.There were no major incidents the entire weekend except for a theft from a vehicle reported by the Three Rivers deputy on Saturday, May 23.

With hundreds of boats and personal watercraft out on Lake Kaweah during Memorial Day weekend, everyone behaved appropriately as the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office boat patrol reported no arrests.

Here are the lake stats as of Thursday, May 28:

Storage: 137,689 acre-feet (on target for a projected peak level of 150,000 acre-feet for May 31)
ean inflow: 926 cubic feet per second
Outflow: 253 cfs

Flags at federal facilities were flown at half-staff during Memorial Day weekend in honor of those Americans who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.





12 thoughts on “News Briefs: County granted accelerated reopening, TRUS plans for mix-mode learning, Memorial Day at Lake Kaweah

  • May 29, 2020 at 9:52 am

    How do we register our children for kindergarten for the fall semester? It would be great if you/sue Sherwood could include directions for how we do this this year in an upcoming issue, thanks.

    • May 29, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Sunshine- please call the school at 561-4466. They will mail a registration packet to you. Also: check the school’s website at and Facebook page are good sources of information, too.

    • May 29, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      Sunshine—on the Facebook page for the school there was information. It says to call the school and leave your name and the student’s name and mailing address and they will mail out a registration packet. 561-4466

  • May 29, 2020 at 10:47 am

    In regards to the letter by the 8th grade parents, please know that the letter was not from ALL of the parents. I think that the school and administration is doing all they possibly can to honor our students. Lawn signs were made for each student as well as individual graduation photos done ahead of time. Also a bus parade is being planned for the last day of school for the 8th graders. Sue has had Zoom meetings three times a week with the class – or at least for those kids that have made the effort to attend! During those meetings she has ALWAYS informed the kids of what can and can’t be done and asked for ideas to replace the activities they have lost. A parent Zoom meeting was also conducted to cover all of this information. Unfortunately many of the parents did not make the effort to attend. Another parent Zoom meeting is scheduled for tonight. Due to CDC guidelines no firm plans can be made for any trip and it’s ridiculous for some to think that just because nothing has been firmed up that the kids won’t get some sort of trip.

    • May 29, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      I agree Julie. Thank you!

    • May 29, 2020 at 11:11 pm

      I completely agree as well Julie!! Thank you for speaking up!

    • May 30, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Well said Julie, thank you. The email definitely does not represent the majority of the 8th grade students or their parents.

  • May 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    This letter from the 8th grade parents is not representative of everyone. It’s sad that it was published anonymously and that only one side was presented. Whatever happened to fair and balanced reporting? 3rnews: If you’re going to write about an issue, it is your responsibility to give the stakeholders an opportunity to respond. I’m sorry that some parents I know and love feel this way, but if you had talked to other 8th grade parents and given Sue Sherwood a chance to respond, you would have done a good job reporting this issue. As it stands, this information is terribly one-sided.

    • May 29, 2020 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Liz:
      That was the point of publishing the letter so whoever cares to can reply and tell another side of the story. We felt that even though anonymously signed, the concerns were important enough to be shared.

      Don’t shoot the messenger. We’re just making sure there is a conversation; that’s how issues are addressed and a consensus reached. These are unprecedented times, and we are all navigating uncharted waters.

      • May 29, 2020 at 9:34 pm

        John – the point is that you did not ask any other parent and only told one side of the story. If you had asked, you would have known that there has been plenty of conversation regarding the 8th grade trip and graduation and that a large portion of the 8th grade parents DO NOT feel the same as those who could not put their name on the letter!!

  • May 29, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Congratulations 2020 Three Rivers Union School Graduates

  • May 30, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Indeed! Congratulations to an awesome and talented group of young people. You all make me, your parents and Three Rivers proud! I am working hard to try to come up with a memorable ending to your 8th grade year (besides the pandemic), a memorable graduation on July 7, and some fun way to celebrate your years at Three Rivers School with your friends. It won’t be San Francisco and I’m sorry that you have missed out but we will do something. I know you worked hard and so did your parents and thanks to the generosity of our community members you were all set to go. But life threw you a curve and now we have to work on finding an acceptable Plan B, Life is all about how you handle Plan B. So if any parent has a suggestion, I’d like to hear it. We had a parent meeting on Friday and there were about 8 families there; we talked about a trip among other topics. I’ll be sending a summary email to all parents today and I welcome your comments. Let’s pull together for the kids! Sue Sherwood


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