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Whitesboro man offers potential in-home learning solution

Now that New Hartford Central Schools released its proposal for bringing kids back in the fall, parents are looking for options on where to place kids during their remote learning days.

Posted: Jul 25, 2020 6:28 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2020 6:36 PM

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. ---- Now that New Hartford Central Schools released its proposal for bringing kids back in the fall, parents are looking for options on where to place kids during their remote learning days. 

New Hartford's proposed plan would have students work remotely from home 3 days a week and in school 2 days a week to limit possible exposure.

"It can be kind of hard and distracting to think about that on just what might looming in the future but I feel confident that our district has a good plan in place and they're trying their best," said Meg Gardner.

Nick Passalacqua owns a vacant building on Hopper Street in Utica. He normally rents the property out to businesses but has decided to float an idea that may be the answer parents are looking for. A study center for kids that can't stay home alone. This would allow them to go into the center to remotely go to school without burdening parents with finding other arrangements.

"Parents need to work and with school-aged children that aren't self-sufficient and able to stay home alone, they're presented with a dilemma," said Passalacqua.

Passalacqua said he would convert the 17 rooms within the property into socially distanced learning centers with desks and computers for kids to remotely attend school throughout the day. Right now, the rooms are empty. Passalacqua said he would need to buy supplies, such as computers, and hire staff to supervise kids during the day.

Because of these extra costs, Passalacqua said there would be a charge for families depending on capacity. But he said he would need to consult with county and state health officials before setting up. 

"Do I think it could happen, absolutely. I think its a good business model to help families in the community. I think there's an absolute need for it. The bigger question is that is it reasonably logistically feasible to pull it off within 30 days. The last thing we want to do is give these families hope and an option that they could potentially rely on. Then have the state come in and say you need this license or you need that license and we're shutting you down and we're shutting you down." said Passalacqua.

The program would be open to any family across the area. Passalacqua wants to stress that for now this is just an idea, but hopes if approved could provide relief for parents across the area.

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