North Jersey News Roundup for Sept. 3, 2020

New Jersey’s Department of Education has approved 545 school districts to go ahead with their plan for the 2020/21 school year, with 231 currently under review and 35 plans have not yet been approved. Of the districts that have submitted plans, 434 will use a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning, 242 districts will be all-remote and 68 districts all offer in-person instruction.

For the second year in a row, New Jersey took the top spot in a ranking of the nation’s public schools, with high marks for student achievement and how much the state spends to fund its education system. New Jersey earned a B-plus with a score of 87.3 from Education Week, with top marks for the amount of money it spends per pupil and how its students perform in the classroom and after graduation.

The College of New Jersey reported nine students tested positive for the coronavirus and contact tracers identified over 50 students that had close contact with them. The college opted for remote classes this fall and the cases identified are for students living in private homes and residences off-campus in Ewing.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed states to prepare for a coronavirus vaccine to be ready to distribute by Nov. 1. The federal agency in a letter wrote “in the near future” states will receive permit applications from McKesson Corp., which has contracted with CDC to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals. News12 New Jersey

North Jersey lawmakers on the state and federal levels are seeking to make sure meal programs are available to children returning to school this year. Rep. Josh Gottheimer wrote to school superintendents in the 5th Congressional District requesting information about their plans to distribute meals safely to school breakfast and lunch eligible children learning in-person and remotely, while Assembly recently passed a Valerie Vainieri Huttle-sponsored resolution urging the the President and members of Congress to enact the CARE for Kids Act of 2019.

Joe Biden emerged from the national political conventions with large majorities of likely voters preferring him over President Donald Trump to deal with the coronavirus, health care, racial inequality and any crisis, according to polls released Sept. 2. A Quinnipiac Poll gave Biden a 10-point lead over Trump in the first post-convention poll of Americans likely to vote this fall and a CNN poll of registered voters put Biden ahead by eight points.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., lamented the killing of two people in Kenosha, WI, calling it “an act of deranged terrorism” perpetrated by a “right wing domestic terrorist.” Pascrell wasn’t alone in his condemnation, as Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke about President Donald Trump’s law-and-order stance hurting America at a campaign event in Pittsburgh Aug. 31.

A widening state investigation into a Morristown law firm offers a peek into a North Jersey pay-to-play scheme that operated for nearly a decade and won its alleged orchestrators millions of taxpayer dollars. Friends and family members of a partner at O’Donnell McCord donated over $200,000 on behalf of the firm to politicians in towns all over North Jersey, including Bloomfield, Mount Arlington, Jersey City, East Hanover, Morristown and West Caldwell. New Jersey Herald

Hoboken filed a lawsuit against energy companies for their contributions to rising sea levels, extreme heat, and increasingly destructive storms the city has faced due to climate change. The city filed against Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Conoco Philips, and the American Petroleum Institute seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the defendants for a decades-long campaign of misinformation related to climate change and its impact on Hoboken. Hudson Reporter

Paterson will likely avoid unpaid furlough days for city employees due to “encouraging” property tax collection rates in August. The city’s business administrator said chances for averting the furloughs are between 75% and 90% but will not be finalized until after the city gets its revenue numbers from pending sewer payments, November property tax bills and an upcoming sale of liens on properties that owe taxes. The Record

New Milford has decided to cancel all Fall recreation sports, despite state guidelines that allows it to take place. The borough has seen a spike in coronavirus cases, reporting more than 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last month. News12 New Jersey

And finally…A Fort Lee middle schooler is a finalist in Doodle for Google design competition. The Record

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