Glen Ridge shuts down amid COVID-19

Photo Courtesy of CDC
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depicts coronavirus. The spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion when viewed electron microscopically, which gives the virus its name.

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily life across the world, Glen Ridge officials are providing updates to residents every day about how the statewide emergency is being handled. As of March 24, no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Glen Ridge have been reported to the media. In a press release on March 19, Mayor Stuart Patrick described the measures that are being taken to keep Glen Ridge residents safe.

“The administrative office staff is available via phone and email business days between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Our staff directory can be found at www.glenridgenj.org/grdirectory.htm,” Patrick said. “Please consider using our online payment center for signing up for services and paying bills. Available services include property taxes, water bills and dog licenses.”

A dropbox is located in the foyer of the police department headquarters entrance on Herman Street, and payments placed in the box are collected daily. According to Patrick, questions about tax payments can be directed to Donna Altschuler at 973-748-8400, ext. 236.

Municipal court sessions have been canceled through March 27. Until further notice, all overnight on-street parking rules have been suspended. The suspension does not include parking lots or the one-hour parking zone in the commercial area. Designated handicapped parking spaces and illegal parking in violation of state law or ordinance will be enforced.

“Public Works will continue to operate. Garbage and recycling collection services will continue during this time,” Patrick said. “We will stop all building inspections beginning Monday, March 23. Staff will still be reviewing permit applications. Applicants are encouraged to download the counter form from the website — www.glenridgenj.org/pdfs/building.pdf — and mail the completed form with necessary plans to the office. In regard to home sales, we will be working with home buyers and sellers on affirming their smoke detector certificates and zoning compliance certificates.”

All playgrounds are closed until further notice, and the jitney service is canceled until further notice. The community center at the Glen Ridge train station is closed, and all events at the center have been canceled, along with all senior citizen programs. However, other measures are being taken to help seniors in town.

“During this trying time, the Glen Ridge Policemen’s Benevolent Association has allocated $1,000 to assist our elderly residents who have taken precautionary measures to self-quarantine, by providing those in need with a meal,” Patrick said. “If you are aware of a resident who is in financial need or other hardship, please contact the PBA via 862-220-7482 by sending a text message with your information, and one of our members will call you back for the details. The established plan is to have dinner delivered directly to the doorsteps of those in need from Angelo’s Pizzeria on Broad Street, Bloomfield. In the event that the allocated funds run out, the PBA will host a communitywide fundraiser specifically for this cause.”

Glen Ridge has also started the “Shop for a Senior” program, which is running on a trial basis through March 29. The program allows residents to be matched with a senior citizen, for whom they would shop and deliver essential groceries once per week.

“Volunteers will either speak to their senior by phone or pick up a shopping list. This list can be left in the mailbox or under the doormat to reduce the instances of physical contact,” Patrick said. “Volunteers will pay for the groceries and then be reimbursed by the senior upon delivery. The volunteer must present the receipt. The receipt should only include items from the senior’s list. Volunteers must carry a cell phone on every trip in order to call their senior if an item on the list is not available and a substitution needs to be made. Those wishing to volunteer should contact Jim Cowan at jtcowan@glenridgenj.org or 973-748-2924.”

Seniors who need assistance should also contact Cowan.

The Glen Ridge School District was planning to be closed until March 27, utilizing distance learning until then. After Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Orders 107 and 108, schools across the state will now be closed indefinitely.

“Although our initial hope was that we would be able to return to our schools after two weeks, the decision as to whether or not to reopen our facilities is no longer in our control. Gov. Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education have left the timeline open-ended for the reopening of school facilities across the state,” Superintendent Dirk Phillips said in a press release on March 24. “In his press conference yesterday, the governor indicated that we should expect to be learning remotely for a significant period of time.”

He said that virtual learning will continue until the district’s planned spring break, from April 10 to April 17. During that week, distance learning will not occur. Online classes will resume April 20.

“Our talented educators continue to advance our virtual learning plan. They are reviewing and evaluating new resources, sharing best practices, and developing effective strategies. I have been extremely impressed with their creativity, thoughtfulness and willingness to embrace a new instructional format,” Phillips said. “I have been equally impressed with the support our parents have displayed during the transition to virtual learning and the role they have taken on as facilitators of home instruction. At the same time, I understand that managing the responsibilities of work, parenting and educational support is a daily challenge. I encourage parents to remain in communication with their children’s teachers and administrators. Our collective efforts will provide the children of Glen Ridge with the most meaningful and engaging learning experiences possible under our unique circumstances.”

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