SPARTA, NJ – The impact of the COVID-19 continues to be revealed at all levels.  In Sparta cancelations and closures continue.  Here are the latest:

Sparta Recreation Department has announced in an effort to “keep participants safe” they have be coordinating with local county health official to develop procedures regarding their programs and facilities.  They advise the following:

  • General Recreation Programs and Senior Programs will be temporarily postponed from Monday, March 16 “until further notice and until the current health concerns improve.” The township will rework schedules once public health officials have determined it is safe.  At that time programs will resume.
  • The Bunny Brunch is canceled because of concerns regarding the coronavirus.  Payments will be credited to Community Pass accounts to be used for any future recreation program.  Reimbursements can be obtained by contacting the recreation office.

Sparta Schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27.  All afterschool and athletic activities have been canceled or postponed.

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Sparta High School will be open for students to pick up personal items, supplies and athletic equipment on Monday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

  • All classes have Google Classrooms including physical education and electives, which will be monitored by teachers.
  • Guidance counselors will be available via email. 
  • Prom tickets are available via Eventbrite. "Prior to making any deposit to the venue that cannot be refunded in case of cancellation, the District will determine if refunding students is possible in case the Prom needs to be canceled at a future date," according to Principal Ronnie Spring's letter sent to students on Saturday. 

Sparta Middle School will be open for students to pick up supplies, resources and personal belongings  on Monday, March 16 from 9 until 10:30 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. Additionally, the middle school has posted a letter to parents in preparation for the closure.

Helen Morgan school will be open for students to retrieve instruments or “any remaining hard copy materials from teachers” on Monday from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

Mohawk Avenue School will be open on Monday, March 16 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for students to pick up hard copies of information and assignments and independent reading books.  The information and assignments are also available on the school’s website. 

Alpine Elementary School will be open on Monday, March 16 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for families to pick up hard copies of resources and assignments, for people who cannot print them. The guidance counselor Heather Yanoff will continue to be available to students needing emotional support.

The Sparta Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. The agenda includes a vote on the preliminary district budget.

The Sparta Historical Society was notified by the New Jersey Council of Humanities they have to postpone both women history programs:

  • March 19- Jackie Kennedy including the tea
  • March 26 – Carrie Chapman Catt
  • Rescheduled dates will be announced when available.

Municipal Courts

According to an announcement from New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Hon. Glenn Grant on March 14, Municipal Courts will been suspended beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27 in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Anyone who is scheduled to appear before a Municipal Court to contest a traffic or parking ticket or minor local ordinance violation should wait for notice of a new court date.

Some of the courts' business will continue including calendars where a defendant has been detained, probable cause determination, applications for temporary restraining orders, Extreme Risk Protective Orders and search warrants as well as matters that implicate public safety.  Those people required to appear in court between March 16 and March 27 will be specifically notified of their requirement to appear, according to the announcement. 

During those two weeks, Municipal Courts will remain open with fillings and payments continued to be accepted, except where the municipality has closed the court building.  People scheduled to appear should check njcourts.gov for updated information. The online payment system at NJMCDirecto.com will continue to accept payment to Municipal Courts.

County

Sussex County Superintendent Roundtable President Andrea Romano said in a statement released on Saturday, March 14, most Sussex County school would be closed as of Monday, following the governor’s press conference on Friday.

She said “Although we are all cognizant that closing school will have a great impact on our families and communities, we are confident that the plans for operation and instruction are well-thought-out.”

Each district will have their own plans and communicate with their own staff and students, she said. 

“As a group, we came to a consensus and will utilize online meeting platforms with New Jersey Department of Education and New Jersey Department of Health to make decisions about reopening our schools,” Romano said in the letter.

Sussex County Community College announced they will be moving to a majority of online courses beginning the week of March 23.  The temporary move to online will be assessed weekly, with the first status update expected on March 25. 

  • Faculty members will be contacting their students for specifics about their individual courses.
  • Tutoring and advising will continue for students who need those services. 
  • Computer labs will be available for students to do their coursework.
  • Cancelation of events will be posted on the school’s website.
  • Men’s lacrosse is canceled for March, 15, 29 and April 1.
  • With regard to cleaning, they are working “around the clock” to clean and sanitize classrooms and common areas.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade in Newton has been canceled. 

SCUMA E-Waste collection event, scheduled for March 28 has been canceled.  The next E-Waste Recycling event is scheduled for Saturday, May 16

Newton Theatre has canceled all performances through April 3.  Some dates have been rescheduled. According to the theater's website all tickets for the original show dates will be honored for the rescheduled events. 

State

New Jersey’s Governor Murphy said in a telephone press conference, he expects to announce on Monday he will order all New Jersey schools to close.  “An extended statewide school shutdown is imminent,” he said.

This is an extension of the statement Murphy made on Friday during a press conference that a statewide shut down was “not a matter of if but a matter of when,” he said it was “inevitable.”

As of Friday, New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and Murphy said there are:

  • 1.4 million students in New Jersey public schools
  • 200,000 have “food security issues”
  • 259,00 have no internet connected devices
  • more than 600 school district in New Jersey, just over 300 had submitted emergency

AMC Movie Theaters have announced they will restrict ticket sales to half of the capacity of the theaters.

Editor's Note: Please submit information regarding the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and organizations to jdericks@tapinto.net