Township Update – April 13th

This Coronavirus Emergency update contains important information on a variety of issues impacting Nether Providence residents. Given the length of this update, we’ve broken it into sections, including:

  • COVID-19 Cases in Nether Providence
  • Township Update: Virtual Meetings and Yard Waste Pickup Suspended
  • Mail-In Voting and Census Reminders
  • Opportunities to Volunteer
  • Grocery Delivery for Seniors, School Meals, and Food Banks
  • Low Cost Internet ($9.95 /Month) for Eligible Residents

COVID-19 Cases in Nether Providence

Township Case Totals

As of Monday, April 13, 64 Nether Providence residents have tested positive. Given that testing remains limited, the real number of infections in Nether Providence likely is higher. We are sad to report that one Township resident has died from COVID-19. We ask you to keep that person’s family in your thoughts.

Currently, our numbers are high compared to other Delaware County municipalities. There are a few reasons for that. First, as with everywhere else in the region and the world, many of Nether Providence’s COVID-19 cases involve people who are in vulnerable health and who living within congregate care or group living facilities. Roughly two thirds of our positive cases follow that pattern.

Second, spikes and lulls in reported cases is an unavoidable byproduct as cases are collected and analyzed. The health systems and private labs tend to send county health departments updates in batches. The counties then pull apart those reports and assign cases to home communities.

If you are interested in tracking numbers in the region, don’t overreact to changes from one day to the other. Rather, look at changes over periods of one week or more. The Chester County Department of Health’s website has maps and numbers detailing the presence of COVID-19 in Chester and Delaware Counties. Visit that site here or by pasting the following address into your browser (https://www.chesco.org/4376/Coronavirus-COVID-19).

Nether Providence Public Works Department

We are sad to report that 4 of our 9 Public Works employees are presumptive positive for COVID-19. All 4 are self-isolating. Not all have symptoms, and none yet have suffered the more severe effects of the disease. For four weeks, the Public Works department has been operating under significantly modified work routines and schedules to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19. We are taking more steps, as noted in a later section of this update, to reduce the remaining employees’ workload and protect their health.

Guys, we’re thinking of you and your families. Thanks for all that you do for the Township.

State and CDC Masking Policy

A reminder that the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, in coordination with the CDC, has adopted a universal masking policy for everyone leaving their homes. The goal of this policy is not that the mask will prevent the wearer from contracting the illness. However, if you have the illness, wearing a mask can reduce your ability to spread it to others. Given the current limitations on testing, it is likely that there are many people with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and do not know they are infected. A universal masking policy decreases the likelihood that those of us with COVID-19, but who don’t know it, will spread the virus to others while performing critical tasks like picking up groceries or medicine, or performing other necessary responsibilities.

Please note that masking is in addition to, NOT instead of, other social distancing measures like maintaining 6 feet of separation, frequent hand washing, limiting hand contact with your face. For further clarification please see the CDC’s website at this link or paste this address into your browser (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html).

Township Update: Virtual Board Meetings and Yard Waste Pickup Suspended

Board of Commissioners Meetings Held Via Video Conference and Broadcast on YouTube

The board suspended all in-person meetings on March 12. And with that, we stopped broadcasting Board of Commissioners’ public meetings on local access TV. We do not have the capability to broadcast to cable when meeting via video conference.

You still can watch and participate in our meetings. The Township broadcasts all board meetings on YouTube at a link that will be posted on the Township website before each meeting. As with in-person meetings, residents are allotted some time for public comment at the beginning of each meeting. Residents can call into the meeting by dialing 312-626-6799.  We will share a unique logon for the conference line at the beginning of every meeting. When calling, please make sure that you mute your computer to avoid feedback issues. After making your public comment, please mute your phone or disconnect the call.

The Township Board of Commissioners holds public meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month. The board operates on a reduced schedule (once a month) from June through August. All meetings begin at 7:30 PM.

Yard Waste Pickup Suspended

The Township is suspending all yard waste pickups, effective today. Unfortunately, that impacts pickups that residents already scheduled in April, including Tuesday, April 14. Given our now limited staff and in the interest of increased physical distancing, we curtailed Public Works services to essential tasks. Those include sewer blockage calls, emergency road repair, emergency equipment repair, and park trash. To the extent we have enough active employees to do so, Public Works will continue work that can be done by individual employees without coming into contact with residents or each other, e.g. mowing the grass at our public parks.

A reminder that we already suspended all yard waste drop off by residents at the public works facility. For now, please pile your yard waste together in your yard or driveway, not at the curb. We’ll resume yard waste pickup and drop off days when we have the employees to do so and it is safe to do so.

Please note that the Township will continue mulch deliveries to residents’ homes (no pickup at the Public Works garage). That work is accomplished by a single employee. Please call Township Administration at 610-566-4516 to order a delivery. The cost to residents is $105 for a truckload of mulch and $65 for a half truckload.

Mail-In Voting and Census Reminders

Mail-in Ballots for Pennsylvania Primary

Pennsylvania delayed its presidential primary election to June 2 in the hopes that it will be safer to gather and vote at that time. The state also is allowing every registered voter to submit a ballot by mail without the unavailability rules required for absentee ballots. Don’t let concerns over Coronavirus or your commitment to social distancing strip you of your vote. We encourage everyone to register for a mail-in ballot. Don’t wait, fill out your application to receive a mail-in ballot at this link or cut and paste the address into your browser (https://www.votespa.com/About-Elections/Pages/Upcoming-Elections.aspx). Key dates below:

May 18: Last day to register

May 26: Last day to request mail-in ballot

June 2: Primary Election Day and last day for county to receive mail-in ballots

2020 Census Reminder

The 2020 Census is here. Counting every one of our residents (including non-citizens) is critically important. The count impacts everything from how many representatives Pennsylvania will have in Congress, to the amount of federal funding we receive for our schools, police, fire, and countless other public services. Please, stand up and be counted! You should have received a letter from the US Census Bureau. If you haven’t already done so, fill out the form and return it. It takes less than 10 minutes of your time. Alternatively, complete the census form electronically, or print a paper form, on the Census website at this link. For more info, go to the Census website.

Volunteer opportunities

Mask Making

The Pennsylvania Department of Public health in coordination with the CDC has adopted a universal masking policy for everyone leaving their homes. Several residents have asked if they can make masks for area hospitals. While homemade masks are not recommended for clinical work, they are now recommended for public use. We encourage anyone interested in making masks to do so and distribute homemade masks to family, friends and neighbors. You can find plans for making masks at this link. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6860-printable-face-mask-tutorial/ded6e67bb78f2599a7ff/optimized/full.pdf#page=1

Delaware Citizen Corps and the Glen Mills School Field Hospital

You may have read about our regional efforts to increase our hospital surge capacity. The Delaware Citizen Corps is organizing regional efforts to increase our hospital surge capacity. One of those initiatives involves creating a field hospital at the former Glen Mills School. Many of our neighbors, including our own Commissioner, Max Cooper, have volunteered to assist with those efforts. The Citizen Corps is looking for volunteers with both medical and non-medical backgrounds. All skill sets are needed. If you would like to learn more and volunteer, please click this link or enter the address in your browser – https://www.delcocitizencorps.com/

Help Those Who Help Us

Please read these helpful tips on protecting the refuse, recycling and postal workers who we depend on:

  • All loose garbage that can be, should be in tied or sealed bags before you put it into your garbage bin. Loose trash more easily falls to the ground while workers dump your bin into the truck. And the men and women working on the truck then touch more personal refuse, including objects harboring contaminated bodily fluids.
    • Reminder that recycling cannot be in closed bags. The recycling processing center will not accept bagged recyclables and will put your bag into the trash
  • Don’t overfill your trash can. Heavy bins require two workers to lift. That brings those workers into close contact while straining and breathing heavily. That work increases the risk that they will get sick.
  • Wipe down the handles of your trash and recycling bins with disinfectant after you take the full bins to the curb. Ideally, a cleaning product is the last thing to touch the handles before you walk away. Clean the handle again before you retrieve the empty bins.
  • Wipe down the latch of your mailbox when putting mail in or taking mail out of your mailbox.

Grocery Delivery Service for Seniors, School Meals, and Food Banks

Food Delivery for Delaware County Seniors

The County of Delaware Services for the Aging (COSA) and Community Transit are partnering to offer seniors an alternative to in-person grocery shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Community Transit drivers will collect grocery lists and payment from seniors, then shop and deliver groceries to your home. Seniors can stay safely in their homes. COSA will pay drivers to shop and deliver items. Seniors using this service still must pay for the groceries. This is not a means tested service. Any Delaware County senior citizen is eligible. Contact Community Transit by email at GroceryDropOff@CTDelco.org or call (215) 900-2519.

WSSD Breakfast and Lunch Program – Updated Pickup Location and Times

The Wallingford-Swarthmore School District is in its third week of its Coronavirus emergency meal program. The district is distributing pre-packaged meals to all kids within the district three times a week. Kids don’t need to be students in our public schools. You can pick up 14 meals a week for anyone under 18. Please help the school district prepare the approximate right number of grab-and-go meals by pre-registering at this link (https://forms.gle/7kC43UuKgx7M6qss8). Pre-registering, however, is not necessary to pick up grab-and-go bags.

The district is distributing meals at Strath Haven High School (use the Brookhaven entrance) from 10 am to noon, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You pick up multiple days’ meals. Just drive into the loop off of the high school’s Brookhaven entrance, tell the staff the number of children you are picking up food for and pop the trunk of your car. You stay inside your car. The district’s staff will place all meals in your trunk.

Thank you, Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, for your hard work and providing this wonderful service!

The Foundry Food Bank

Foundry Church is accepting donations and distributing food and necessities on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8 pm and Fridays from 3 to 6 pm. Foundry is at 25 Cedar Rd, Wallingford.

Media Food Bank

Media Food Bank is accepting donations and distributing to those in need Thursdays from 7 to 8 pm (call the Food Bank for its expanded hours).  Media Food Bank is at the First United Methodist Church of Media, 350 W State St, Media. You can reach them by phone at 484-442-0033 or on Facebook.

To make donating easier in this time of social distancing, Nether Providence resident, Kevin Henry will deliver your donations to the Media Food Bank for you. Feel free to drop off food, gift cards, and toiletry donations in the large plastic bin on Kevin’s front porch. Kevin lives at 302 Melanies Way, Wallingford. Also, Kevin may be able to pick up donations at your house if you cannot get to him. Call or text Kevin at 610-213-3133.

Low Cost Internet ($9.95 /Month) for Eligible Residents

Comcast’s Internet Essentials program provides high-speed internet with a WiFi router to low income households for just $9.95 a month. You likely are eligible if you already qualify for the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and others. Comcast generally requires that participants not have any outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than one year old. Comcast has waived that rule for people who apply and are approved by May 13.

An application and additional details can be found here or by pasting this address into your browser https://www.internetessentials.com/apply

The Township will continue to update residents on any changes to services and other important information. Please feel free to reach out to the Township or your Commissioner if you need additional information or help.

Be well. Good health to you and your families.