HIT: Though some students will surely have missed the memo, school officials across Kern County seem to have done a creditable job of getting the word out about the new state-mandated whooping cough vaccine. Most school districts expect to see better than 50 percent compliance when the school gates open this morning, and the 30-day grace period for previously enrolled students will help take care of the stragglers.
Just the same, we can expect something of a madhouse this week as school officials try to sort through the paperwork associated with the new vaccination requirement. All students entering grades seven through 12 will need proof of a Tdap shot, a booster that includes tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough. If your child hasn’t been immunized for whooping cough in the past three years, or you don’t have the paperwork proving so, get ready to roll up his or her sleeve.
MISS: How long can you hold breath?
Try not to breathe between 7 and 9 a.m. and again between 2 and 4 p.m. today, when parents are dropping off and picking up their children at school. Ozone levels tend to rise during the start of the school year, when many parents choose to provide door-to-door service, idling outside the school while their kids scramble in or out of the car amid back-to-school traffic.
Many possible solutions to this annual (and often ongoing) problem include staggered school starting times and the so-called “walking school bus” in which parents take turns walking with groups of each other’s children to school. But with many parents opting for the chauffeur approach, perhaps it’s best for the rest of us to lock ourselves indoors at the appointed times.
HIT: Crime reports at your fingertips
It’ll be considerably easier for the public to track crime trends now that the Bakersfield Police Department has partnered with CrimeMapping.com. Residents can map out and view reports on crime activity by searching neighborhoods or addresses. The information is refreshed every 24 hours in the early morning hours. The site, which is the first phase of a new program the department will be using called CrimeView, will allow police to track crime, document patterns and study trends. View it on the BPD’s website at bakersfieldpd.us, or visit www.crimemapping.com.
MISS: Who needs a driver’s license?
Some people never learn, as last week’s revoked-license sting at the Kern County Courthouse revealed. Maybe you’re familiar with the drill: After the judge suspends or revokes a defendant’s driver licence, a law enforcement officer follows the person into the parking lot. Invariably at least one defendant gets into a car and tries to drive away. Past stings have netted several scofflaws, but maybe things are getting better: All but one had other transportation lined up last Tuesday. One violator was charged with a misdemeanor.
HIT: Getting kids there and back safely
All hail Julia Hughes, who not only has been putting up with 30 years’ worth of little monsters every morning on her bus, but has done so without a single fender bender — while covering 1 million miles. She is the first school bus driver since the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office began its Transportation Services Department in 1981 to accomplish all of those things. The California Highway Patrol honored her and other bus drivers for their safe records last week.