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Heroes Come in All Shapes & Sizes

Linden Mayor honors 9 year old Gabriela for stepping up to help her town during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gabriela is a 9 year old student at School #2 who loves arts and crafts and helping others. One morning said to her mother, “Mommy, I want to help people that are not working and don’t have food. I want to find a way to help families in need that are going through hard times.” Little Gabriela came up with a plan to make bracelets to sell for $5 each. With the support of her mother, Gabriela used the money to buy food to help families affected by COVID-19 in her hometown of Linden, NJ. Gabriela will be helping the town with their COVID-19 Emergency Food Relief Program. Gabriela was so excited when Mayor Derek Armstead paid her a special visit.

Kids to Parks Day

Due to COVID-19, Kids to Parks Day, which was scheduled this year for May 16th, has unfortunately been cancelled. HOWEVER

National Park Trust is taking the 10th anniversary of Kids to Parks Day digital and instead is celebrating May 16, 2020, as Parks to Kids Day — bringing a much-needed infusion of the outdoors to kids and families as they isolate at home and practice social distancing. Join them for this virtual celebration and bring parks home on this special day. To get started, you can download their ParkPassport app for iPhone and Androiddeveloped in partnership with Blue Star Families. There are more than 500 virtual resources featured; you can even earn Junior Ranger badges! For more information on resources designed to bring parks to kids, click here.

Governor Murphy Announces That Schools Will Remain Closed Through the End of the Academic Year

Remote learning to continue until end of school year

TRENTON – Citing the need to protect the health of New Jersey’s 1.6 million public and private school students as well as thousands of educators and support staff, Governor Phil Murphy today announced that statewide school closures will be extended through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. Private schools with longer academic years will remain closed until at least June 30.

While the prohibition of in-person instruction will be maintained through the end of the school year, public schools will continue to provide remote learning for students to allow districts to meet the state-required minimum of 180 instruction days.

“This is a difficult decision and I know that many students, parents, and staff would like to be able to return to school,” said Governor Murphy. “However, I have been unwavering on the message that we need to make decisions based on science, not emotion. And while New Jersey is making great strides in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, science tells us that at this point, we can’t safely re-open our schools.”

“I commend Governor Murphy’s thoughtful, deliberative approach that takes into account the concerns of school administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders in the education community,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “However, the most compelling factor guiding today’s decision is the health of New Jersey’s students and educators, and their families.”

The Administration will create a steering committee consisting of a diverse group of stakeholders in the education community to explore summer learning opportunities for all students, including school-sponsored summer programming and Extended School Year for students with disabilities. The committee will provide recommendations to the Administration as to which services need to continue to be provided remotely should the public health emergency extend past the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year.

The committee will also explore approaches for the safest and most efficient re-opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

In addition, the Department of Education will work with school officials to share ideas on safe and innovative ways to recognize 2020 high school graduates and other end-of-year milestones for students.

Federal Stimulus Funding

The Administration plans to tap federal funds that will help schools improve continuity of learning, assist with sanitizing and deep cleaning of school buildings, and address the emotional needs of students.

New Jersey recently applied for $310 million in federal funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Districts will have substantial local discretion in use of these funds; the CARES Act lists a number of allowable uses, including:

  • Purchase of educational technology, including hardware, software and connectivity
  • Purchase of sanitization and cleaning supplies
  • Mental health supports
  • Plan and implement activities related to summer learning and supplemental after-school programs, including providing online learning during the summer months to address the needs of student subgroups
  • Planning and coordinating the distribution of meals to eligible students
  • Provide principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools
  • Activities to address the unique needs of student subgroups

Federal officials have signaled that states can anticipate a rapid approval of applications for this stimulus funding.

Updated Preparedness Plans

In the weeks leading up to Governor Murphy’s order to close schools statewide starting March 18, the Department of Education required school districts to develop Emergency Preparedness Plans that addressed critical issues, such as delivery of remote instruction, special education services, and food security. The Murphy Administration will call on school districts to revise their schoolwide Emergency Preparedness Plans to address the extension of school closures through June 30.

Linden Parks and Recreation has put together a list of different activities and resources for families to utilize during COVID-19.

Visit parks, museums have all sorts of virtual adventures and do fun and interesting activities right from home.

Parks

Aquariums

Virtual Reality & 360 Degree Fun

Museums

Zoos

Projects, Great Reading, Activities, Other Live Cams & More

Union County Parks to Re-Open on Limited Basis with Social Distancing, May 2

Union County, NJ – Union County parks will partially re-open beginning at dawn on Saturday, May 2, for limited and passive activities only, in accordance with statewide restrictions issued by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The County’s two golf courses will open next week, after routine maintenance is conducted.

“Union County parks will re-open under guidelines that are consistent with the statewide plan, which provides for residents to benefit from healthy outdoor activities while diligently observing precautions against spreading or contracting COVID-19,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

“As a reminder, the virus does not disappear outside,” Mirabella added.

“Please be safe, and help save lives by observing the six-foot social distance guideline and other rules for visiting County parks during this time.”

Union County parks will open on the following basis:

  1. All group activities, including picnics and other gatherings remain prohibited.
  2. Only individual activities are permitted, such as walking, jogging, bicycling, and fishing. For these activities, individuals may be accompanied by family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.
  3. Park visitors must stay on marked paths and observe signage for social distancing.
  4. Park visitors are encouraged to wear masks.
  5. The following facilities remain closed until further notice:
    • Restrooms
    • Picnic areas
    • Athletic fields
    • Playgrounds and exercise stations
    • Trailside Nature & Science Center
    • Warinanco Sports Center
    • Watchung Stable
    • Echo Lake and Warinanco dog parks

Visitors are advised to avoid congested areas. When using pathways and trails give way to others, in order to maintain a six-foot social distance.

Visitors are also advised to observe other COVID-19 preventive measures including: wash hands frequently, do not touch face, cover coughs and sneezes with tissue or elbow, do not go out if sick, stay away from sick people, and use a face mask for additional protection.

Park visitors please note: Stay on marked trails in order to preserve fragile native habitat in County parks. The taking of plants and other wildlife is prohibited. Share paved paths by keeping to the right unless passing others. Bicycles are permitted only on paved paths. Dogs must be kept on leash. All trash must be carried out where receptacles are full or unavailable.

– – – – – –

TRENTON, NJGovernor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 133, reopening state parks and golf courses, and restoring the authority of county governments to determine whether county parks will be open or closed. The order takes effect at sunrise on Saturday, May 2. 

June 1st Property Tax Grace Period

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Allowing Municipalities to Extend Grace Period for May 1st Property Tax Payments until June 1st

TRENTON – Governor Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 130, which allows municipalities to extend the grace period for property tax payments due on May 1st to June 1st. Such an extension would provide much-needed relief to homeowners struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Allowing municipalities the option of extending the grace period for May property tax payments is the right thing to do as many New Jerseyans are impacted financially as a result of this crisis,” said Governor Murphy. “Leaders of towns and cities across the state have been trying to find ways to lessen the blow on local residents, and with this action, they are empowered to provide relief to homeowners as we continue to do everything possible to fight this pandemic.”

For the full press release, please click here.

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Providing Critical Short-Term Support for Renters

Additional Informational Resources for Renters, Homeowners, and Landlords Now Available

TRENTON – To provide additional options to tenantswho are struggling financially as result of COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 128, allowing tenants to direct their landlords to use their security deposits to offset rent or back rent. 

“We recognize the anxiety that so many are feeling about looming rent payments, and during this emergency renters should have the ability to utilize their security deposit to help them stay in their place of residence,” said Governor Murphy. “While this action does not resolve the broader financial concerns of New Jerseyans, this will provide critical short-term support as the first of the month approaches. My Administration will continue working with the housing community and federal government to develop long-term solutions to this crisis.”

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PPP Resumes April 27, 2020

The SBA will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am EDT.

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Frequently Asked Questions for Lenders and Borrowers (04/26/2020)

How to Calculate Loan Amounts

For affiliation rules applicable for the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

The Interim Final Rule for Applicable Affiliation Rules for the Paycheck Protection Program as posted in the Federal Register.

Frequently Asked Questions for Faith-Based Organizations Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Apply for the Paycheck Protection Program by finding a lender.

Corona Testing Site Information

This post contains all testing site related updates.

Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center

Open to those who live within 50-mile radius of the site. This site and the Bergen County Community College site (below) are alternating the days upon which they operate. 

Bergen County Community College

Open to those who live within 50-mile radius of the site. This site and the Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center site (above) are alternating the days upon which they operate. 

Kean University on Morris Avenue in Union

Open to Union County Residents, M-F, 9am – 4pm. Up to 72 hours for test results. Testing is now available to all Union County residents who wish to be tested, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms. It is also available to all first responders and frontline health workers who are asymptomatic and that work in Union County, regardless of their residence. Testing is also available to first responders and frontline health workers who live and work outside the County, but in New Jersey, must have symptoms and a prescription from a doctor. You can now make an appointment online here. You must have proof of NJ Residency IDs when visiting testing site.