OCHD Forms COVID School Task Force
The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) has formed a committee to advise on best practices for schools as they plan to operate this coming fall under the ongoing COVID pandemic.
“The school task force is examining all the unique scenarios that the pandemic has presented and is working to provide the best case scenarios to educate while keeping the students, teachers, administrators and all school employees safe, while also protecting the community,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.
The task force, which has already held several meetings, is known as the Ocean County Public Health/Education COVID-19 Summer Advisory Committee and will be made up of both public health and school officials. One of several subcommittees focuses on the role of school nurses in addressing the unique concerns of the times.
“The school nurses will have a very important job, so we take their concerns very seriously,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “They will be called upon to make decisions regarding identification of symptoms, isolation protocols, contacts and quarantine and potentially recommend school closings.”
Other topics that will be addressed by the task force include proper cleaning and disinfection protocols for classrooms, bathrooms, common areas and school buses, emergency operation plans (EOPs), lunchroom guidelines and after school activities and athletic programs procedures, social distancing, face coverings and maintaining hand and respiratory hygiene measures.
“Schools, working in concert with the OCHD, have a key role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 to ensure students have a safe and healthy learning environment,” said Patty High, OCHD Assistant Public Health Coordinator. “Schools must be prepared for any COVID-19 outbreaks in their communities and for individual exposures to occur in their facilities while ensuring continuity of education.”
Polls Show Tight Race for 3rd Congressional District
A recent poll conducted by a Republican election group showed that Congressman Andy Kim shows a small lead over GOP challenger David Richter.
The closeness of the race is unsurprising, as Rep. Kim won the seat in 2018 by only a few thousand votes. The area has traditionally leaned Republican and a Democrat has not been re-elected to the 3rd district’s congressional seat since the mid-19th century.
The poll showed that Rep. Kim was favored by 45 percent of voters and Mr. Richter by 42 percent. However, the GOP nominee lags massively in fundraising. According to a report by the New Jersey Globe, Rep. Kim’s campaign has more than $3.5 million and the Richter campaign is down to around $123,000.
Grant Program for Leasing Relief Available to Lakewood Businesses
Lakewood businesses will be eligible for a new grant program to help defray rental costs for businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic.
The Small Business Lease – Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBL-EAGP) makes $10,000 grants available in 64 municipalities to pay leasing fees.
The program was announced last week by Governor Phil Murphy at an event in Long Branch.
“We are committed to helping small businesses across our state survive this unprecedented crisis,” said Governor Murphy. “A stronger and fairer New Jersey starts from the bottom up. The Small Business Lease – Emergency Assistance Grant Program will infuse much needed funding into local economies by assisting both small businesses and the landlords that they rent from.”
The SBL-EAGP will be managed by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA). It is the first component of a broader Main Street Commercial Corridors Relief Package. The SBL-EAGP will be funded at $6 million from monies from the federal government through the CARES Act, Congress’ initial Coronavirus relief package. Eligible for grants are tenants leasing commercial space or storefronts. It will target businesses with 5,000 square feet or less of leased space and applications will open on August 10. They will be granted on a first come, first serve basis.
“COVID-19 has created multiple, compounding challenges for small business owners. Ensuring they are able to survive the current crisis and rebuild their businesses requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the many difficulties they are facing,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “We are proud to support the NJRA and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver’s insightful approach to helping business owners to stabilize their operations and navigate a path toward recovery. The SBL-EAGP program will relieve a major pain point for commercial tenants and landlords in impacted cities across the state.”