State and local officials are encouraging all New Jersey residents to download the new COVID Alert NJ application, which enables your phone to keep track of your close contacts and notify you should one of them be diagnosed with COVID-19.

The free and secure application is designed to enhance the contact tracing efforts already in place. It also provides users with up-to-date information on New Jersey reopening news, key COVID-19 metrics, and a user-friendly symptom tracking tool.

The app works in conjunction with similar tools developed in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York, and need only be downloaded in one state to track contacts from any of the four.

The application can be downloaded from the iPhone’s App Store or through Google Play for Android phones. Users must opt in to receive “exposure notifications.”

As users move about, their phones’ bluetooth will detect whenever they spend more than 10 minutes within six feet of another user of the app.

When that threshold for close contact is reached, the two phones exchange a secure random code. Users’ names and locations are never disclosed.

Should a user subsequently test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer will reach out and inquire if the user would like to notify their “close contacts,” at which point data from your app — the random codes of any close contacts — will be uploaded.

Codes of close contacts are matched daily with codes associated with positive COVID cases, at which point alerts are sent to those with possible exposure containing guidance and next steps.

For additional information or to download the app, visit covid19.nj.gov.

To the Editor: On Race & Elitism

I read the Wednesday, September 30, issue of Town Topics in which many residents and faculty members expressed heated concern over the Department of Education’s charge of systemic racism at Princeton University.

There has been considerable attention paid to this issue at meetings I have attended at the public library and in classes I have attended at the university. These meetings have improved awareness among the Princeton public. However, I think the narrowness of the DOE’s charge of racism is matched by the university’s pushback on the subject: Targeting racism alone is isolating it from a wider range of stigmas that exist at the university and in the town as well.

While living in Vietnam for a decade I discovered a culture infused with Confucian respect for authority, elders, education, politeness and appropriate manners and Buddhist compassion, forgiveness, and love. Returning in 2011 to America, I experienced “reverse culture shock” in my own country, and too many people sadly undereducated and uninformed. Naturally, President Trump found his admirers among them.

Living in Princeton for the past nine years now has opened my eyes to a widespread “elitism” stemming from the university and its self-proclaimed superiority. The danger is that elitism spreads from an assumption like that in a trickle down effect on faculty, students, and Princetonians in general, although it has not touched everyone, especially those students who spend only a short time at the university and in the town.

Elitism is a wide umbrella in Princeton, encompassing social and economic stigmas as well, not only racism. It touches those with little wealth and particularly many who live in affordable housing in Princeton. Elitism in Princeton often dismisses those who attended less than Ivy League schools and those who did (how many times have I heard audiences boo — even in humor — speakers who did not receive a degree from Princeton, despite their degrees from other comparable Ivy League schools like the University of Pennsylvania).

Princeton has many individual volunteers and charities in the town serving the less economically advantaged , which is commendable, but social out-casting is strikingly prevalent. I recall asking a very prominent editor of a local newspaper here why upon choosing to live in Princeton (albeit on the other side of the tracks in affordable housing), I felt invisible, despite wearing acceptable apparel, earning three graduate degrees from another Ivy League university, and having traveled the world as a free-lance writer and researcher of indigenous healing practices for a book I was writing.

Her answer was effectively, “…it’s not just wealth, certainly not how well you dress, it’s about being famous.”

Racism should be incorporated among these other stigmas that stain the name of an extraordinary university. An elitist university suggests one which offers a very high quality education; however, it has nothing to do with personal character or the other values which Einstein articulated beautifully in words carved into a bust of him on campus as those which guided his life: truth, beauty, and kindness.

I would include another term the brilliant scientist did not include but practiced as a resident here: tolerance of all people, regardless of wealth, education, or occupational status. He was beloved here for that trait as well.

Libby Zinman Schwartz

Elm Road, Princeton

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