May 27, 2020

Suggesting Future Goals, Priorities For Mayor, Council to Consider

To the Editor:

As reported In the last issue of Town Topics, the town Council and Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser are considering goals and priorities for the rest of this year and into the future [“Council Takes Another Look at its Goals and Priorities, May 20]. Realistically, there will be another pandemic. Perhaps not in the same form as the current one, but some challenge that will threaten our health, safety, and welfare.

I have two suggestions for the mayor and the town Council to consider. First, all those who live and pay taxes in Princeton should receive a face mask, at no charge. I am sure it was awkward and difficult for many to know where and how to buy face masks. I have read that many countries gave face masks, at no charge, to all citizens. Princeton should do the same. 

Another suggestion. Listening to NPR radio and WNYC, many listeners called in expressing isolation, fear, and a sense of abandonment. I am sure that there are residents of Princeton who are in the same predicament of being alone in these challenging times. In Princeton there are several high schools, public and private. The Princeton high schools should ask third year and fourth year students to volunteer to participate in “ phone squads.” The students who volunteer should be given a list of 10 or 15 names of Princeton senior citizens. The phone squad volunteers should call those seniors at least twice a week. How comforting it would be for a senior who is alone to hear a young voice asking, “Are you all right?” “Is there anything you need?” “Do you need any medication from your pharmacy?” “Would you like to just talk for a few moments?”

For a young person making these calls would be great learning experience for them. To teach them empathy. To teach them the need to reach out and help someone who is in need but does not know how or who to ask. To help the student learn to communicate. 

I hope the town Council will consider my suggestion. And in the Mailbox in the last issue of Town Topics, Alice Small expressed her disappointment that young people in our “enlightened community” are not wearing masks in town. The coronavirus is still very much with us. It is highly contagious and can be deadly. I agree with Alice Small and I am just as appalled as she is. Beware. 

Howard W. Silbersher
Governors Lane