North Jersey News Roundup for Sept. 7, 2020

As the doors begin to open at schools in North Jersey, state officials went through the events that would cause a school to close due to the coronavirus. A significant community outbreak that impacts multiple staff, students and families served by the school would result in a closure of the school for 14 days. Additionally if there are two or more cases within a two-week period that occur across multiple classrooms, and a clear connection between those cases cannot be easily identified, it’s recommended to close the school for two weeks.

Attempts to secure substitute teachers has been made tougher by COVID-19. The state’s Department of Education confirmed that finding substitutes is a problem for many districts as the Ramapo Indian Hills regional district, at an emergency meeting held over Labor Day weekend, called for a pay hike to $200 for substitutes. The Record

OPINION: It’s time for teachers and other staff members in North Jersey to get back to the classroom. The state has shown that schools are at a low risk when it comes to holding in-person learning in the two North regions. We are not asking any more from these essential workers key to our society than nurses, doctors and grocery workers.

New Jersey is urging residents to speak out if they see people violating coronavirus restrictions with a new online form that allows people to report something that violates executive orders. Examples of violations would be not following social distancing requirements or people holding large indoor events. Residents can report violations anonymously, but officials say that may make it harder to investigate. News12 New Jersey

As indoor dining resumed, Gov. Phil Murphy warned that his executive orders must be followed as written. “Let this be a warning to everybody: The capacity limits and the public health protocols we’ve put in place for indoor dining are not kind suggestions,” said Murphy at a press briefing Sept. 4. “We will not be afraid to come down hard and make an example of those who don’t think the rules apply to them.”

A bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law last week allows election officials in the Garden State to begin counting mail-in ballots 10 days before the Nov. 3 election. Previously, the count couldn’t start until Election Day. Supporters of the bill say the goal is to address concerns that county election officials will be overwhelmed by a surge of mail-in ballots and have trouble counting them in time so they can be certified by Dec. 14, when the Electoral College meets to officially choose a new U.S. president.

A federal appeals court denied a Sussex County gun club’s attempt to have the state’s ban on large-capacity magazines declared unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for a second time upheld a 2018 New Jersey law that banned magazines with 10 rounds or more of ammunition. The appellate panel agreed with the District Court ruling that the ban was a “reasonable” gun regulation enacted in response to mass shootings, and did not violate the citizen’s right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. New Jersey Herald

The U.S. Census Bureau must stop following a plan that would have it winding down operations in order to finish the 2020 census at the end of September, according to a federal judge’s order. The temporary restraining order was requested by a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups that had sued the Census Bureau, demanding it restore its previous plan for finishing the census at the end of October. The coalition argued the earlier deadline would cause the Census Bureau to overlook minority communities in the census, leading to an inaccurate count. News12 New Jersey

And finally…Bergen County Zoo and the Liberty Science Center reopened for first time in months. News12 New Jersey

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