Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Current as of March 13, 2020

The world health community continues to closely monitor the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, named “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19). Governor Murphy, Mayor Baraka and other local municipal leaders are working to manage the crisis.  Governor Murphy has declared a state of emergency. Businesses as well as state and local governments are working to minimize the spread of the virus. La Casa de Don Pedro is doing the same.

We understand the value of the critical services La Casa provides to thousands of families and individuals each day. Parents rely on our preschools and afterschool programs so they can go to work and count on our care, education and meals each day. Adults count on our education classes so they can advance professionally. Families need our emergency services to help pay their energy bills, and depend on our counseling and housing support to stabilize any crises they are facing.

Therefore, as long as the City and State support it, La Casa is committed to staying open to offer these critical services with measures in place as per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local health and other government officials to ensure, to the best of our ability, the safety of our community. We will continue to communicate to our staff and our constituents the most current information, while seeking to ensure our procedures are appropriate and comprehensive.

Here are a number of actions La Casa is taking to minimize the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19.

  • La Casa de Don Pedro is implementing social distancing in all of our programs and services whenever and wherever possible.
  • All previously scheduled meetings and workshops are being assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they are essential and if the location offers sufficient space to encourage distancing of 6 feet between each individual. Non-essential workshops and meetings are being postponed.
  • All senior citizens and people with pre-existing conditions are strongly discouraged from participating in our programs or receiving face-to-face services at this time.
  • Prior to any one-on-one client meetings, clients are being screened to respond to the following questions:
    • Have you or anyone you have had contact with recently traveled to an area with known local spread of COVID-19?
    • Have you come into close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who has a laboratory confirmed COVID – 19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?
    • Do you have a fever (greater than 100.4 F or 38.0 C) OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as coughing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing?

If a client responds YES to any of these questions, their appointment will be postponed until further notice.

In addition,

  • Employees who can work remotely will be encouraged to do so and video conferencing and telephone meetings will be used extensively.
  • All La Casa centers, classrooms, and facilities have implemented enhanced environmental cleaning measures including additional cleaning and disinfecting of all frequently touched countertops, desks, tables, chairs, and doorknobs using anti-bacterial solvents.  Orders have been placed for additional cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer.
  • Staff have been provided with educational materials in proper hand-washing instruction and sanitizing practices.
  • Staff are advised not to travel outside of New Jersey or within areas with active Coronavirus COVID-19 cases or that are subject to community isolation or quarantine for personal or professional reasons. 
  • All La Casa staff who show any symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, etc.) are not to come to work.
  • La Casa es su Casa, La Casa’s annual cocktails and hors d’oeuvres reception scheduled for April 7th has been cancelled and is now being reformatted into a “virtual” celebration to be showcased online. For questions about this event please contact us at
  • La Casa will continue briefing all staff on the nature and symptoms of COVID-19 and best practices to avoid getting or spreading the disease.   

Below are further program-specific information detailing how we are handling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This information will be updated as new details emerge.

Early Childhood Education (preschool, Early Head Start, Head Start, Prenatal Program)

Preschool, Head Start, Early Head Start, and wrap around services remain in operation. La Casa follows Newark Public Schools’ guidance.  As long as NPS are open for students so are La Casa’s preschools, Early Head Start, and Head Start.

Any child showing any signs of COVID-19 must not come to school.  If he or she shows signs in school, a parent will be contacted to pick up the child.

All non-essential meetings and workshops are being postponed or cancelled.  Contact your preschool center for further information.

Youth, Family & Health Services (After school enrichment, family counseling, Family Success Centers, HIV/AIDS Services, Emergency Housing, Healthy Living Initiative)

All afterschool programs remain in session.  So long as Newark Public Schools remain in operation and children attend school, afterschool programs will be open.  If a child shows any symptoms of COVID-19, please keep him/her home.  If a child attending our program exhibits these signs, a parent will be contacted to pick up the child.

All workshops and family activities will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine if the facility offers sufficient space for social distancing.  Please contact 973-483-2703 for further information with your questions.

Adult Education Programs (Adult Basic Education, Job Placement Services, ESL, LEAD Charter School, Citizenship Classes, Immigration Services)

All classes remain in session until further notice.  If you show any symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home. 

Please be sure your emergency contact information is up to date.  Should you have any questions please contact us at 973-481-4713.

Home Energy Assistance, Weatherization (Energy Conservation) and Lead Remediation

We encourage all Low Income Home Energy Assistance applicants to complete the application from their home, email the application and documents, and either mail the completed application or deliver it to our drop box at 317 Roseville Avenue, and avoid person to person appointments. This is most critical to individuals with pre-existing health conditions or persons over age 60.

However, families who need assistance can still go directly at our 317 Roseville Center, especially given the fact that Emergency Assistance opens on March 18th

At our intake center we are working to implement safety measures to keep our clients and staff safe. All clients who come to our center will be screened to respond to the COVID-19 screening questions at the top of this page and will have access to hand sanitizer.

Updates from PSEG & DCA: As of March 13 PSEG is temporarily suspending all shutoff notices. [insert link] Furthermore, Clients are now permitted to fax or email their applications and back up documents without having to visit an agency. It must not necessarily be the digital signature with the authentication code however the Dept. of Community Affairs is asking for secured and dedicated email addresses because applicants will also be sending personal identifying information with their application.

Community & Economic Development (Housing Counseling, Community Engagement)

All community meetings are suspended until further notice.  We will continue to provide one-on-one housing counseling sessions, after each client is screened for the questions outlined above. For housing counseling assistance, please call and/or email Dante Lara at 973-485-0701 ext. 4619 or Dorothy Rivers t 973-485-0701 ext.4644 for information or to set up an appointment.

Telephone meetings and electronic document submission are highly encouraged and all clients with compromised immune systems or over age sixty are strongly discouraged from coming to our center.

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How can I best ensure my safety and that of others at La Casa de Don Pedro?

To further minimize risks for everyone, we ask that you please be mindful of the following:

  • Wash and/or sanitize your hands regularly. Wash for at least 20 seconds like this.
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette (e.g. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in a waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands).
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Do not come to La Casa de Don Pedro for school, a program, or an activity if you are not feeling well and/or are exhibiting symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Furthermore, we urge that all adult students, parents and caregivers of our children in our early childhood education and after school enrichment programs make sure that their or their children’s emergency contact information is up to date. It is also important for everyone to know the signs and practice prevention tips as those provided by the NJ Department of Health.

For more information on updates and travel, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. or call 1 (800) 222-1222 or visit

New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) 24/7 Hotline: 800 200-222-1222.

It is also important for everyone to know the signs and practice prevention tips as those provided by the NJ Department of Health.

For more information on updates and travel, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) 24/7 Hotline: 800 200-222-1222.