In 36 years of hosting “Jewish Moments in the Morning” (JM in the AM) I’ve had a general policy of not providing guests with questions in advance of our conversations. This policy safeguards the spontaneity, curiosity and enthusiasm of on-air discussions. In response to Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement regarding the closure of summer camps, I have extended an invitation to have him join me on the air, to no avail. As a result, in order to establish the respectful and straight forward intent of my invitation, I am providing Governor Cuomo with my questions in advance, in good faith and in hopes of him accepting my offer:
1. Throughout the pandemic, you have left many decisions and enforcement to local governments. Why did you decide to make this one on your own?
2. Were a significant number of camp directors consulted to hear the results of their months long planning as to what would have been done had an outbreak been detected in camp?
3. In 1950, when the US was faced with the polio epidemic, a summer camp in New Hampshire was instructed to close their facilities after a positive case was detected. Why would that policy not work now in New York?
4. Why are day camps less threatening — where children are shuttling back and forth daily between camp and home, posing a real threat of spreading the virus — than a contained sleep away camp environment?
5. Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker attended overnight camp when he was young and fondly reflected on those days during a recent press conference. How does he not appreciate the importance of overnight summer camps in the emotional and mental development of a child?
6. COVID-19 has already forced the closing of New York State for more than 3 months, forcing children to be stuck at home with limited to no opportunities for socialization, interaction with peers, and outdoor activities. Was that a consideration in your decision?
7. What would you say to those who are outraged by the apparent double standard: how the Jewish community is not allowed to gather or even isolate ourselves upstate, but others are allowed to gather and stay in the streets with no masks, no social distancing and with no ramifications?
8. Knowing how many livelihoods are affected — how both parents cannot return to work without proper supervision for their children as well as the thousands who depend on summer camps for their own employment — why would you not wait another couple of weeks before making a decision to see if overnight programs could open for August?
9. I understand, as you have previously mentioned, that you would not send your own child to camp. That is your choice as a parent. However, is that how public policy is decided? Aren’t we responsible parents who can make our own decisions?
10. New Yorkers were asked to flatten the curve, not reduce cases to zero. Don’t you trust the same New Yorkers who bent the curve even after flattening it to be responsible and behave appropriately in camp?
Mr. Governor, I guarantee you that these are the questions. There will be no questions about basketball, who Mother Cuomo loves more, or over-sized nose swabs. My tens of thousands of listeners are eagerly anticipating our on-air conversation, as am I.
Nachum Segal is host of JM in the AM (MON-FRI, 6-9am ET, NSN Network) and is President of NSN. Information at nachumsegal.com & the NSN App.
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