UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR) — Located in the DeSales building in Utica, Academics First is an early childhood day care center. They first opened their doors in July and knew that they’d have to make some adjustments come the new school year.
“Once we heard that the school districts were going to go to remote, we knew immediately that we would have to be available for those parents.” – Rev Kathy Hughes, Owner/Founder of Academics First
They used their school age room and turned it into a remote learning classroom for kids up to 12 years old. Currently, there are about a dozen students enrolled in the remote room.
“Right now in Academics First we have Utica City School District, we have New Hartford, we have Whitesboro and we have children from several of our area school including our local charter school.” – Dietra Harvey, United Way of the Mohawk Valley
The daycare center has several safety measures in place for COVID-19. Everyone who enters the building must wear a mask, have their temperature screened, answer COVID-related questions. So far, no children or staff have tested positive.
“We encourage people to sanitize their hands. . . The children are brought into the center, they meet with our receptionist who has a task of getting them you know to their classroom. Parents and teachers don’t get a chance to see each other as often as would be under normal circumstances. ” – Dietra Harvey, United Way of the Mohawk Valley
Like many businesses, they’ve had their share of obstacles throughout the pandemic.
“Some of the key challenges is getting staff that is qualified and that has a desire to be with children.” – Rev Kathy Hughes, Owner/Founder of Academics First
So much so, that they don’t have enough staff to be open 24 hours a day yet. Right now they’re open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information on enrollment or how to apply, please visit their website AcademicsFirstUtica.org.