March 16, 2020

The world around us has certainly changed quickly. A few weeks ago, the term “social distancing” was not in my vocabulary. I would never have imagined that over the course of a few hours last week, Disney World would close, the NCAA “March Madness” tournament would be canceled and major league sports teams would suspend their seasons.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us.  Public health officials have recommended that measures be taken aimed at stopping or slowing the spread of the contagious virus. Therefore, the Randolph schools have closed and will deliver instruction remotely through March 27. While the schools are closed, all extracurricular, athletic and community school events have been canceled or postponed. All Randolph township non-essential programs, activities and events have also been canceled or postponed through March 27, at which time the situation will be reassessed. In addition, County College of Morris began Spring Break early to allow for a thorough deep cleaning and sanitizing process of the campus. Some residents have had to cancel personal travel or business trips. Many of our children who are away at college are being sent home to complete the semester via online instruction. While shopping at local supermarkets, we are faced with empty shelves. Life has definitely changed.   

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As I write this, over 3100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported in the United States, and more than 60 individuals with the infection have died. In New Jersey, there have been a total of 98 cases reported with 4 of those in Morris County. At this time, we thankfully have no confirmed cases of the virus in Randolph. However, I want to assure you that the Township is taking the necessary steps to prepare for what may come.   

Our dedicated professionals in the Randolph Township Department of Health continue to work closely with the NJ Department of Health and Center for Disease Control on monitoring and responding to the health emergency.

Our first responder agencies (Police, Fire, and Rescue Squad) have the necessary resources, protection and information they need in order to safely respond to calls during the health emergency.

The municipal organization has contingency plans in place, so we can maintain critical services and business continuity in the event that virus-related absences impact staffing.

All Township municipal offices and facilities continue to operate under normal business hours and services continue uninterrupted. However, it is recommended that if your contact with the municipal offices can be done online or via phone call, to please avoid visiting the building.

I encourage all residents to go to reputable sources for information about the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that we all have correct and accurate information and do not rely on rumors and misinformation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the nation’s premier source of information regarding COVID-19.  Their website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html is very comprehensive and has valuable information. I have visited it several times and have found it to be quite helpful.

In our own state, the NJ Department of Health COVID-19 website, https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml, provides similar information with more updates regarding the situation in NJ.

The NJ Department of Health has also established a COVID-19 Information Public Call Center which can be reached at 1-800-222-1222. Trained healthcare professionals are standing by to answer your questions. In the last week they have received over 4000 calls. 

As Americans, we have faced many challenges. These crises often unite us as a people and as a community. Many Randolph residents have told me that they are struggling with anxiety and fear. Some are uncertain about their jobs and future income as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts their industry or place of work. Others who are working full-time are stressed as they try to provide care for their children who are no longer attending school. Many older residents or those with underlying medical conditions that put them at a higher risk for serious illness are anxious about their potential for infection.

Please reach out to your neighbors and friends. Talk to them. Offer to help. Ask them for help. We thankfully live in a world with technology that allows us to stay connected even while “social distancing”. Let’s all take care of each other during these extraordinary times.