SPARTA, NJ  – Concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus continue to grow as does the list of cancellations and closures in the area. 

  • Newton Medical Center’s Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall scheduled for March 13 has been canceled.
  • The Sussex County Community College Foundation has canceled the 100 Women Project luncheon scheduled for March 16.
  • Pope John’s Bobby Petrocelli presentation on drunk driving scheduled for March 24 has been canceled.

Last week the New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollett advised school superintendents they should prepare for moving to distance learning, in the event the department of health called for them to close to help stop the spread of the illness.

Sparta Superintendent Michael Rossi said he was having the professional development day scheduled for the early dismissal day on Friday be dedicated to creating a plan for students and staff to work from home.

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He said he was meeting with the “leadership team” on Wednesday to set up remote learning plans for kindergarten through fifth grade. 

He sent a letter to the district’s families on March 3 with generic preventative measures and an explanation of “increased and enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures.” No additional information has been shared with the community as of Tuesday night.  

Throughout the state, colleges are extending their spring breaks taking that time to create a plan for distance learning, in some cases closing for the rest of the semester.  Those colleges include:

  • Rutgers University,
  • Princeton University,
  • Monmouth University,
  • Stevens Institute of Technology,
  • Rowan University,
  • Drew University,
  • Fairleigh Dickinson university and
  • Seton Hall University.

Other schools have extended spring break but will close only for a few weeks, at which time they will reevaluate their situation.

  • The College of New Jersey – closed March 23 for two weeks.
  • Stockton College – online classes from March 25 through April 5,
  • Montclair State University – online classes from March 23 with exceptions for laboratory and studio courses.  All services and facilities will remain open.

In an effort to ramp up New Jersey’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, coronavirus, Governor Phil Murphy declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency, effective immediately, on Monday.

The declaration, Murphy said in a statement, allows state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.

According to the New Jersey Department of Health 45 people have been tested for coronavirus in New Jersey, as of Monday, with 35 of those coming back as negative, and 10 being presumed positive. An additional 24 New Jersey residents are currently under investigation as potentially being infected with the virus that has spread across the globe. On Sunday TAPinto Paterson reported that a man in his seventies had been admitted to St. Joseph’s Regional Hospital for treatment. 

“The State of New Jersey is committed to deploying every available resource, across all levels of government, to help respond to the spread of COVID-19 and keep our residents informed,” Murphy said. “My Administration will continue to work closely with our federal partners to ensure that local health agencies on the front lines of the state’s response are equipped with the resources needed to further prepare our healthcare system for a broader spread of COVID-19.”

Under the declaration State Director of Emergency Management and Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Colonel Patrick Callahan will, in conjunction with New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, oversee the implementation of the State Emergency Operations plan and generally direct the State’s emergency response to the virus.

The declaration also triggers other executive powers and safeguards, such as prohibiting excessive price increases pursuant to New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and the ability to waive certain procurement procedures to expedite the delivery of goods and services necessary for coronavirus preparedness and response effort. State agencies, specifically the Departments of Banking and Insurance, Health, Human Services, and the Civil Service Commission are also empowered  to take all appropriate steps to address the public health hazard of COVID-19.

Editors Note: Please share your cancellations with