North Jersey News Roundup for July 30, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy sounded the alarm that the progress residents have made in fighting COVID-19 could be undone quickly. With an uptick resulting in 2,000 new coronavirus cases in New Jersey in the last four day, Murphy said “We’re now back to where we were roughly a month ago in the daily number of new cases…We cannot continue to have crowded house parties. We have to shake that bad habit out of our system immediately.”

New Jersey must take steps to “build a wall” around the region as coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout the country, stated Gov. Phil Murphy. “As an American matter, this is going in the wrong direction,” he said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to build a wall, a virtual wall, around our state and our region.” The state currently lists 34 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, on its quarantine travel advisory.

Three Assemblywomen plan to introduce legislation to require school districts to keep their buildings closed and offer only remote instruction for the new school year. The bill goes against the plan introduced by the state Department of Education calling for all public school districts to offer at least some in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year. Only special education and related services would be delivered in person, according to the proposed bill. News12 New Jersey

The Bayonne Board of Education approved a plan to remain “all-remote” learning and keep its schools closed when the 2020-2021 school year begins. Anticipating the state might deny their request, an alternative plan was submitted to reopen school buildings and divide students into three groups attending in-person classes for two days at a time on a rotating basis. The Record

Jersey City is surveying its 3,000 teachers to determine what percentage plan to return to work for either in-person instruction or remote learning. Of the 1,649 teacher who have responded, 13% indicates they would seek leave due to personal or family health concerns, while 39% will seek accommodations to work remotely because they are at high risk for contracting COVID-19. The Jersey Journal

Sussex County Community College staff members will return to the campus to prepare for the fall semester as an estimated 20% to 30% of classes will have some sort of face-to-face component when the semester begins Sept. 8. The school projects a loss of about 7% of the student body three weeks into the fall semester. New Jersey Herald

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has worked through more than half of the backlog created by agency closures. Since reopening, the agency has processed more than 350,000 transactions. The Daily Record

State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) wants unspent CARES Act funding directed to businesses in need of financial assistance due to the impact of COVID-19. Bucco criticized Gov. Phil Murphy for not spending or being selective in distributing the state’s funds, as he called for a greater focus on the restaurant industry, along with small businesses in Morris County.

The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund is providing $4.5 million in direct-cash assistance to illegal immigrants who have lost work because of the coronavirus and been excluded from other pandemic relief efforts. The fund, founded by the state’s first lady Tammy Murphy, is working with more than a dozen organizations to give families of three or more $1,000 in the form of a preloaded Visa debit card. Families of two or individuals can get $500, according to the fund. The Wall Street Journal

Gov. Phil Murphy expects to make a decision on what New Jersey’s November elections will look like by mid-August. “The in-person side of the equation is the side that needed more robust attention and a longer runway, so the urgency, ironically—I didn’t think I’d be saying this—to get a decision by the middle of August is more for the in-person side, to make sure we’ve got that,” Murphy said. New Jersey Globe

The petition filed by Kanye West to appear as a presidential candidate in New Jersey is being contested. An elections attorney found hundreds of signatures he alleges are suspect, including signatures with apparently identical handwriting, names of people who are not registered voters, and those who do not live in New Jersey.

New Jersey can continue to limit what local cops tell immigration officers, a federal judge ruled. The state currently restricts what police can tell Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), although it doesn’t prohibit cooperation completely. Cops may not ask about a suspect’s immigration status and jails may not hold onto certain nonviolent offenders simply because ICE wants to arrest them, according to a directive from the state attorney general’s office.

And finally…bergenPAC will hold a drive-in concert series at Garden State Plaza. The Record

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