Glen Ridge sees 7 COVID-related deaths

Photo Courtesy of Glen Ridge Police Department
A BIG HEART — Matt Tulleson, of Wildwood Terrace, created a custom blue heart that is currently on display in front of police headquarters in honor of Officer Charles Roberts, who became very ill due to coronavirus.

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — As the number of positive cases of COVID-19 around the world continues to rise, Glen Ridge’s total has risen as well. As of the morning of May 5, according to statistics from Essex County, of the 14,891 cases in the county, 32 are in Glen Ridge. Seven people in Glen Ridge have died from complications of the virus. An update posted on the borough’s Facebook page on May 3 told residents to continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

Gov. Phil Murphy allowed state parks to be opened the weekend of May 2, and Essex County parks soon followed suit. In a Facebook post on April 30, Glen Ridge clarified that the opening of the parks did not apply to borough parks and playgrounds.

“The governor’s order only applies to passive-activity facilities/parks,” the post read. “It does not apply to any playgrounds or athletic fields. Strictly prohibited are any fields with sports facilities, such as basketball courts, tracks, fitness equipment, etc. The order makes clear that passive activity dictates that there will not be any congregating or other organized sports or other group activity.”

The only open space in Glen Ridge that will be open is the Glen, and Mayor Stuart Patrick said in the post that it will remain open only if residents use it passively and continue to practice social distancing.

“It must be noted that the municipality is fully permitted to adopt stricter measures than the governor’s order if it deems it necessary to do so,” Patrick said.

On May 4, Murphy announced that schools would not reopen for the remainder of the school year. Spring sports seasons have been canceled as well.

“All schools will remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year — to protect the health of our children, our educators, and their families,” Murphy said on May 4. “Guided by safety and science, this is the best course of action. We’re working with the principle that public health creates economic health — or in this case, educational health. If the standards are high to reopen our workplaces, they are even higher when it comes to schools filled with our children. As the father of a high schooler who has been attending classes remotely for nearly two months, I understand the concerns of both parents and school leaders. But, for us to ensure that we can undertake a responsible restart and recovery, this step was necessary.”

According to Murphy, the New Jersey Department of Education will hold stakeholder meetings to determine the feasibility of holding school summer programs. The same will be done regarding the opening of schools in September for the 2020–2021 academic year.

On April 24, before Murphy’s announcement, Glen Ridge Superintendent of Schools Dirk Phillips said in a letter to parents that the district is planning for the end of the year.

“Weekly administrative meetings are held to discuss new legislation and how it changes current operations. Working on schedules and student placement for next school year has begun,” Phillips said. “I have participated in numerous meetings with the DOE, state organizations and superintendents making recommendations and seeking insight. The entire administrative team is doing significant work behind the scenes to ensure that we continue to provide quality instruction, and we are prepared for the remainder of the school year and the start of next school year. Your understanding and flexibility have been much appreciated.”