North Jersey News Roundup for Sept. 16, 2020

The Problem Solvers Caucus offered their own proposals in an effort to restart negotiations on new stimulus legislation. The caucus, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, offered framework that provides stimulus checks of $1,200 per taxpayer, extra unemployment payments of at least $450 a week and aid to state and local governments earmarked for coping with the coronavirus.

New Jersey’s labor commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said its up to the federal government to fix the problems that have plagued the unemployment system since March. “Throughout this pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor … has repeatedly reminded states of the potential consequences of relaxing anti-fraud measures. They were opposed to many of the outside-the-box solutions we had been exploring to make things easier for claimants, such as temporarily suspending or amending the troublesome weekly certification process. In fact, this requirement alone caused an average of 5,000 claimants each day to pend their claim until a manual claim was complete,” he said.

Woodcliff Lake Middle School has moved to all-remote education for 14 days after a teacher received a positive test for coronavirus. The teacher was tested on Sept. 8, and was out sick on Sept. 9 and 10. Parents of students were notified through a text message that the school would be going remote on Sept. 11. The Record

Two Lodi teachers tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to work in district schools. In the eight days since school opened, a high school teacher and middle school teacher have tested positive and 15 teachers and staff members were asked to quarantine. The district required teachers to instruct from their own classrooms to students at home. The Record

Dover High School reinstated in-person extracurricular activities, including athletics, band and color guard for the Fall. The move was made after students wrote a “pledge of conduct” for extracurricular activities that commits the students to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines, NJSIAA and school district health standards. A positive test of any athlete will result in a mandatory 14-day quarantine for the entire team. The Daily Record

Leonia reversed its decision and will allow Fall sports in 2020. The school competes in football, soccer, girls tennis and cross-country, as well as volleyball, which has been moved to a special Spring season. The Record

The Jersey City School district has enough Chromebook laptops to outfit students without computer access, but a breakdown in communication between parents and schools is leaving some kids offline. The district had 5,500 laptops on hand as of Sept. 10, but nearly 800 students have still not signed into the digital classrooms since classes started that day. The Jersey Journal

Six states have been removed from New Jersey’s travel advisory list that now consists of 30 states and territories. California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, and Ohio were removed from the list, while Puerto Rico was added.

A task force formed to address the problem of bullying in schools recently unveiled a report offering recommendations to improve policies in New Jersey and nationwide. In the report, Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s North Jersey Anti-Bullying Task Force delivers five recommendations for schools, teachers, administrators and legislators on how to strengthen laws and protect students, including redefining New Jersey’s definition of bullying and improving investigations into bullying incidents.

Gov. Phil Murphy expects to meet the deadline on the state budget to avoid a government shutdown. “The spirit of the conversations have been really good with both chambers, with leadership, with teams,” said Murphy. “I fully expect we’ll have a budget by Sept. 30. We’d be very disappointed—and I think we all would be—if it were to go beyond that.”

Woodcliff Lake settled a lawsuit to allow the expansion of an Orthodox Jewish congregation’s place of worship and pay the center $1.5 million. The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the lawsuit against the borough in 2018, claiming the borough illegally denied the Valley Chabad congregation’s effort to expand with a larger house of worship over the course of nine years. The lawsuit alleged that the borough violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law that protects religious institutions from discriminatory land use regulations. The Record

The Sussex County Board of Elections revised its July 7 Primary results after finding over 1,500 uncounted ballots. According to an email from Board Administrator Marge Lake McCabe, workers on Sept. 10 discovered a number of mail-in ballots located in a secure area at the board’s office had not been counted. After investigating the matter, it was determined that 1,666 ballots had been placed in a bin that was mislabeled. The ballots were counted and did not change the outcome of any election.

A group of elected officials from more than a dozen New Jersey and Pennsylvania municipalities will bring their opposition to a rockfall project on their borders. The coalition is against New Jersey Department of Transportation’s $64 million project expected to last five years that cuts into the side of Mount Tammany within the Delaware Water Gap in an effort to “mitigate” rockfalls onto Interstate 80 which runs between the base of the mountain and the Delaware River. New Jersey Herald

And finallySmoke from the wildfires devastating California and Oregon has made its way across the U.S., causing hazy skies in New Jersey that will last for days. The Record

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