Nutley responds proactively to COVID-19

NUTLEY, NJ — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily life across the world, Nutley officials are providing updates every day to residents about how the statewide emergency is being handled. As of April 1, according to the township website, there are 110 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nutley and there have been six deaths. The Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency in town on March 24.

Nutley shut down after Gov. Phil Murphy’s signing of Executive Orders 107 and 108, which forced all nonessential businesses to close their doors and closed all schools in the state for an indefinite period of time, ordering them to move to distance learning. In an announcement on Nutley’s website on March 24, the township said the library, all public basketball and tennis courts, and all playgrounds are closed. The statement also addressed municipal buildings.

“Your Board of Commissioners continue to take actions that will allow us to continue to provide services while we follow best practices for keeping our employees and residents safe. Please be patient while we implement procedural changes,” the statement read. “At this time, all municipal government will remain open; however, no person other than an employee is allowed into any building unless absolutely necessary and an appointment is scheduled in advance. We encourage residents to contact departments by phone or email.”

The Nutley Health Department will reach out to people who have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Officials are asking all residents to pay bills online or mail them.

In the update post on March 25, it was announced on Nutley’s website that Essex County will be opening a drive-in coronavirus testing site for county residents beginning March 26, in Weequahic Park in Newark. Appointments are mandatory.

“The screenings are being offered to Essex County residents only who are symptomatic of COVID-19. This means anyone wishing to be tested must meet specific testing criteria, which includes a fever of at least 99.6 degrees and respiratory symptoms of shortness of breath,” the announcement read. “Appointments will be scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who do not meet the criteria will not receive an appointment. If you are exhibiting severe symptoms, please contact your local health care provider or local health department for guidance.”

More information can be found about the testing facility at www.essexcovid.org.

In a letter to Nutley School District staff, students and parents on March 24, Superintendent Julie Glazer said the district would be implementing distance learning through at least April 10. The district’s spring break was originally scheduled from April 10 to April 17.

“We will continue to monitor and re-evaluate this evolving situation and provide updates to the community via email, our district website and social media. This closing includes the cancellation of all school-related activities, including athletic practices, games and scrimmages,” Glazer said in the letter. “I am in touch daily with the local and county Office of Emergency Management, and local, county and state departments of health and education, as well as our community partners, to continue to provide accurate information, resources and support to the school community and all of Nutley.”

She thanked the district’s staff members for their cooperation in switching over to the online learning model.

“Additionally, the commitment that our instructional staff, administration, and support teams, parents and students have put into our virtual learning has been remarkable. We have all adapted so quickly to a new and unique way of working and learning,” Glazer said. “Each of you continue to prove that we are stronger together. I am immensely grateful for the way in which we, as a school community, have risen to this challenge.”

Mayor Joseph Scarpelli thanked the school district staff as well, in a Facebook post on March 25. He also acknowledged township employees.

“Our school system has embarked on remote learning — a trying time for our administrators, teachers, parents and students. Please be patient as we all work from home, take care of our families, worry about our elderly parents and spend much more time together,” Scarpelli said. “All the township departments have done an outstanding job stepping up during this crisis, putting themselves in harm’s way, while taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their families as safe as possible.”

In the post, he also encouraged residents to support local businesses as much as possible while many have closed doors.

“Support our business community. Many will struggle. Patronize them as much as possible. Now and in the future, in hopes that when this is over — and it will be — they survive this health/economic crisis,” Scarpelli said. “Many of our neighbors will also experience financial pain. Look out for them. Hopefully, the stimulus package will help them through. Finally, to our volunteers — thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Nutley’s volunteer community spirit never ceases to amaze me.”

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