We hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy as some semblance of normalcy begins to return to business and leisure activities. Here at U.S. 1 one of the biggest adjustments we’ve had to make was to our delivery model, which has always relied on hand-delivery to offices, restaurants, and shops throughout the greater Princeton area.

Recently distribution has been limited to newsboxes in outdoor areas, but if your business is now open we’d like to come to you. To resume delivery of U.S. 1 to your office contact Megan Durelli: mdurelli@communitynews.org or 609-396-1511 ext. 105.

College Offers a World of Ideas, Wherever You Are

If you’re a student wrestling with the decision of whether to start or continue your college education, we’re here to tell you that — in person or otherwise — college can still offer the self-discovery and networking that are so vital to the college experience.

We’re four new faculty members at Rider University who are keenly aware that not all students are in the position to invest in their education at this time. Each of us worked full- or part-time as college students, and we understand the difficulties of juggling multiple priorities simultaneously. We also know, however, that we did not face the challenges that you are encountering during the pandemic.

The thought of potentially starting or continuing college in a moment of distance learning may be hard to swallow. However, as educators with years of in-person and online coursework under our belts, we strongly believe that powerful communities are made through learning itself. Creating these networks is possible no matter the form that learning takes.

For each of us, college was where we were first encouraged to think critically about our places in the world in an open and trusted community of peers and professors. Though our memories of dorm rooms and cafeterias never fail to bring smiles to our faces, this world of ideas is what has left the most lasting impact on us, well into adulthood. It is, after all, the reason we chose to teach in higher education.

While we’re all in different fields — be it criminal justice, languages and literature, or the sciences — transformative conversations about how “big ideas” affect students’ daily lives are still happening in each of our classes. Though, of course, it’s strange to imagine our homes as our “classrooms.”

As professors, we are using the summer to prepare effective, engaging and dynamic classes for our students in the fall. We’re proud to be part of a university that is working hard to give our students a top-tier education, regardless of format.

The trips and internships will be waiting for you, but even now, networking and engagement efforts are still happening, as many professors are using this moment to get often-too-busy professionals to drop into their Zoom classrooms.

We look forward to maintaining supportive relationships with our students. That’s why we chose to work at Rider; because we value its mission to build close relationships between faculty and students, as well as to create personal learning environments that allow for student voices to be heard.

Like other big moments in history, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to innovate in the face of changing social and professional realities. With the guidance of your professors and the collective energy of your peers, you’ll learn the skills to thrive in whatever our post-pandemic “new normal” looks like.

If it’s possible for you, don’t wait to start building the sense of community that a college education can offer — the bonds you cultivate now will help spark the kind of energy we need to create a better future.

Pauline Blaimont

Lecturer, Department of Biology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Health Sciences

Cynthia Martínez

Assistant Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Kerrie Sendall

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Health Sciences

Sarah Trocchio

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology

Rider University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Contact Tracing Can Save Lives and Boost Economy

We need effective contact tracing with privacy protections to open NJ’s economy and save lives.

In NJ, more than 12,000 people in the last three months have died from COVID-19 — more than we lost during all of WWII. During this same time period as Governor Murphy issued his stay-at-home order that shut down all but essential businesses, more than one million people in NJ claimed unemployment and the budget deficit over the next year is now predicted to be close to $10 billion.

During this past week, my committee, the Assembly Science Innovation and Technology Committee, together with the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee chaired by Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter held a hearing on one of the key tools needed to reopen NJ’s economy safely: contact tracing.

Contact tracing has been a weapon in the battle to prevent the spread of communicable diseases for decades. According to the World Health Organization, the eradication of smallpox, for example, was achieved in 1979 not by universal immunization, but by exhaustive contact tracing. Diseases for which contact tracing is commonly performed include tuberculosis, vaccine-preventable infections like measles, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), blood-borne infections, some serious bacterial infections, and novel infections (e.g. SARS-CoV, H1N1, and COVID-19).

Technology plays a crucial role in contact tracing, and as our world has been more technologically advanced, our personal data have become more vulnerable. While NJ has no plans to develop a contact tracing app that we would download on our phones to track our movements, it does intend to use a central database to store contact tracing data in “the cloud.” This information, collected through telephone calls to those suspected of being in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, will include your name, ask about how you are feeling, ask about others with whom you may have had close contact, and ask that you quarantine yourself. You will NEVER be asked for money, your social security number, bank information, immigration status, or other personally protected information.

Contract tracing will only work if people willingly participate in the process. And one of the key ways to get that participation is through guarantees of individual privacy, which is why I introduced A4170 that has bipartisan support in the General Assembly. The bill is not about the value of contact tracing or whether it should occur. Rather, the bill focuses on how it should be implemented with an appropriate protection of privacy. This bill provides that public health entities (such as the NJ Department of Health, county and local boards of health) collecting information on an individual for the purposes of contact tracing related to the COVID-19 pandemic, may only use the data for the purposes of completing contact tracing. Furthermore, these public health entities must delete the personal information once contact tracing is complete.

The more we protect a person’s privacy, the more willing they will be to participate honestly in contact tracing. People have to feel comfortable in responding to contact tracers.

This measure also requires that the Commissioner of Health publish website guidelines regarding how collected data may be used and how its security and confidentiality must be ensured. A mechanism where the public can submit comments over a 30-day period must be provided before any NJ Health Department guidance can be finalized.

As NJ continues to reopen and we spend more time with friends, family, and others, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread of this horrible virus that has killed so many. Ensuring that contact tracing is done with the involvement of local community members in a sensitive and caring way yet with strong privacy protections in place is essential.

Andrew Zwicker

The writer is a state assemblyman representing New Jersey 16th legislative district as a Democrat. His district includes parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties.

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