Program & School Updates

AF Educational Programs

Updated 06/13/2020

To Parents of Students in Abilities First Preschool and School Programs:

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recently released an interim advisory memo to begin clarifying the Governor’s Executive Order allowing special education programs to open. To aid families in processing these challenging issues and to facilitate discussion, we think it is important to read the interim advisory issued by the New York State Department of Health for the restart of special education services for the summer. It included guidance on how to access services and for safe operations.

First, we have verified that the Executive Order does apply to our special education programs. We have also learned that the apparent intent of the order was to allow programs, like Abilities First, to provide in-person special education services on a select case-by-case basis, with determination led by the school district. It appears that it was not intended to prompt programs like ours to return to full operation.

The NYSDOH advisory memo suggests that in order to access in-person special education services, Abilities First must receive a request from the student’s school district. Then, Abilities First, school districts and parents can determine if the request can be met given current resources and protective plans.

We continue to wait for the New York State Education Department to release their own requirements for reopening.

At this point in time, we have heard from several parents, often with very different points of view. Some parents feel that it is not yet safe or appropriate to send students back to schools while others feel that it is critical for their child to resume in-person schooling.

Abilities First serves over 300 students in special education preschools and schools. In order to better understand where all of our families stand on these matters, we are preparing a survey for you. We will be sending this survey out soon and appreciate all families completing it. This will help us plan for the reopening process.

We send our continued thoughts for your safety and good health.


For assistance and additional information, please contact your school’s Principal, listed below, by site:

AF Preschool at Myers Corners and Universal Pre-K (UPK)

AF Preschool at Cornwall

AF School at LaGrange (Firemens Way), AF Integrated Schools at Red Hook and Violent Avenue

AF School at New Windsor – Straus Family Pavilion

Some staff are working remotely at this time. If email is not accessible for you, please call the main number and leave a message at 845.485.9803. We will get back to you.

Please also check back for any possible changes and updates. For additional information, please email

Adult Day Programs

Updated 05/20/2020

Although our Adult Day Habilitation facilities remain closed by order of New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), we have restarted day services, delivered either remotely or in person in people’s homes.

Participants in those programs who live in certified OPWDD residences continue to receive services in their homes. For participants in day programs that do not live in a certified residence, we are working to provide support to individuals and families in any way we can.

OPWDD is waiting on approval at the Federal level on a proposal that would allow us to provide ongoing day services to people that were attending our Adult Day Habilitation program. These would be remote services and supports such as phone calls, video conferences, and we could even potentially run errands for people who are quarantined. As soon as we have more information about this, we will communicate directly with the parties that are impacted.

Community Habilitation

Updated 05/20/2020

At this time, we continue to deliver Community Habilitation in-person and are providing support to many people living in the community via phone calls and video.

Employment Services

Updated 05/20/2020

Supportive Employment is offering coaching services face-to-face for those individuals employed that are considered essential staff. We are also utilizing remote support for people in job development.

Residential Program

Updated 06/19/2020

On June 15th, Governor Cuomo announced that group homes would be allowed to receive visitors starting today, June 19th, as long as visitors follow State guidelines as outlined by NYS OPWDD.

Just yesterday, guidelines were released from OPWDD to agencies, such as Abilities First. We are processing those guidelines and evaluating our ability to accommodate in-house visits.

At this time, we will be accommodating outdoor visits until we are prepared to safely and effectively support an in-house visit. These varied levels of visitation ensure the necessary processes and personal protective equipment are in place to support the safety and protection of staff, residents and visitors.

At all times, we welcome your inquiries to or 845.485.9803.

Early Intervention Services

Updated 03/30/2020

Early Intervention Services is supporting families that are approved for telehealth/teletherapy.

AF Staff

Updated 04/01/2020

In his most recent Executive Order, the Governor requires all workers to remain home or work remotely except for “essential services”. Internally, we are informing our staff that are considered essential. Whenever possible, members of our team are working remotely as we continue to execute plans for addressing the impact of the pandemic on our community and programs.

The Human Resources Department at Abilities First has compiled some links that may be useful to our employees and their families during this challenging time.  Employee can view these links on SharePoint, including information on health and services provided for those enrolled in benefits, temporary assistance, governmental changes surrounding mortgages and debt, local resources, as well as activities for kids (and adults!).  HR will continue to update this page, so if you know of something to add, please let HR know!

How to Help: A Needs/Wish List

Our community has asked, “How can we help those served by Abilities First and the staff during the COVID-19 crisis?” Below is a needs/wish list from our programs. Some of these items are critical necessities. Others provide education, physical activity, skill-building and entertainment, while helping pass the time.

Donations can be picked up or dropped off at various AF sites in the Hudson Valley region. Appropriate measures to avoid contact will be taken in order to protect the health of our individuals, staff, and donors.

Please email or leave a message at 845.485.9803 with your name, phone number, item(s) you’d like to donate, and your geographic region.

Should you be unable to donate an item, monetary donations at every level will support the pressing needs of the services being provided.

We understand these are difficult times, and if you cannot donate directly, we welcome your ideas for activities and good wishes that will be sent to the staff. Email us at

Updated 05/26/2020

Critical Needs for Individuals & Staff

5,600 Isolation Gowns
Surgical Gowns
250 Isolation/Surgical Masks (with loops or ties)
N95 & KN95 Medical Grade Masks
2,000 Shoe Covers
Head Covers
Disposable Gloves (All sizes, Nitrile and Vinyl)
50 Plastic Face Shields
Clear Goggles
General/Homemade Masks
70 General/Homemade Pediatric Masks
25 Coveralls/Tyvek Suits – All sizes (L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL)
30 HazMat Suits / MOPP Suits
400 Large Heavy Duty Trash Bags
60 Size Large Long-style Lab Coats
60 Size XL Long-style Lab Coats
60 Size 3XL Long-style Lab Coats
5 Thermometer (temporal)
1,000 Thermometer Covers
6 Ear Thermometers and Sheaths
125 Toilet Paper
375 Paper Towels
340 Baby Wipes
160 Adult Diapers
100 Disinfecting Wipes or Spray
Hand Sanitizer
330 Pocket Hand Sanitizers
8 Gallons of Bleach
Hand Soap
40 Sterile Pads
50 Tissues
Hospital Beds with Railings or Cots
Seat Cushions and Bed Pads


Non-perishable Food
Food Deliveries
Grocery Deliveries
Plastic Cutlery

Support & Activities

Exercise Equipment (treadmill, stationary bicycle, etc.)
Laptops (preferably with cameras to allow for continued virtual therapy, family visits, etc.)
Laptop Cameras
iPads or Similar Tablets
Amazon Echo Dots
Cell Phones
1 Roll of Postage Stamps ($.55)
2 Reams of Printer Paper
100 Mailing Envelopes
4 Printer Ink (HP63 2 Black, 2 Color)
Coloring Books, Markers, Crayons, Colored Pencils
Picture Frames
Word Searches
Online Entertainment (exercise, meditation, activity ideas, cooking ideas)
Planting Seeds
DVD Players & DVDs (educational, exercise, movies, TV shows)
Stereos & CDs
iPods or Similar MP3 Devices
Roku, Amazon Firestick or Other Streaming Devices
Board Games
Bingo Sets
Sidewalk Chalk
Outdoor Activities
Baking Supplies
Gardening Supplies


COVID-19 Facts; Relief for Individuals, Families, Workers; Educational, Stress-Reducing & More Activities

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for activity resources benefitting children, adults and families.

And please send some of your own ideas and activities that you are doing with your families in order to continue learning, building skills, keeping active and maintain stress while social distancing! Email us below or share on social media.


for Helping to Enrich the Lives of Children & Adults in Our Communities

during the COVID-19 pandemic & always