Jen Theodore via Unsplash

The LifeLong Montclair programs that kept older residents engaged and connected have been a bright spot during the pandemic. Whether at classes from the Montclair Institute of LifeLong Learning (the MILL) or the activities at the Edgemont Field House, we have learned new skills, joined fitness classes, and made new friends. We applaud the commitment of the township and the community partners for continuing to offer such high-level classes.

With the onset of the colder weather, many classes and programs will continue to be offered remotely. However, there are clubs for seniors who want to play cards, work at crafts, or exercise, which will take place at Edgemont Park House. The township has stated that it will not require proof of vaccination for any participant though older residents are, as a group, most vulnerable to the virus. Instead, the workaround to avoid adopting a sensible policy will be shifted to the participant — each senior can ask one another about their vaccination status.

This is not a sound practice during a time of public health concerns. We strongly urge the township to adopt the same kind of practices that many houses of worship, businesses and restaurants in our community have for entry — that all participants must show that they are fully vaccinated. Montclair’s older residents should not have to forego enrichment activities and social engagement because of a misguided privacy policy.

Susan Craig and Louella Dudley
Co-chairs, Montclair Senior Citizens Advisory Committee

Editor’s note: Township Communications Director Katya Wowk, asked to clarify the policy described by the writers of this letter, said the township requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test for municipal employees, but “cannot ask visitors [to township facilities] to show vaccination cards or proof of a negative test.” The township does, however, require visitors to wear face masks and follow social distancing protocols.


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