The sounds of early alarm clocks and school bells ringing are just within a few days' time, whether teachers, parents and kids like it or not.

Several elementary and high school districts are kicking off the 2019-2020 school year Wednesday, and some parents are scrambling to get last-minute school supplies and forms completed before the first day. Don't fret, there's still time to get to-do list items crossed off and earn an A-plus for back-to-school preparation. 

First day

The first day of school is Wednesday for these districts:

  • Kern High School District
  • Bakersfield City School District
  • Norris School District
  • Panama-Buena Vista Union School District
  • Rosedale Union School District
  • Fruitvale School District
  • Greenfield Union School District
  • Fairfax School District
  • Standard School District

Start times depend on individual school sites.

School supplies

Though most districts and schools provide shopping lists, there are a few essential items that students will use all year long:

  • Notebooks
  • Folders and binders
  • Pencils and pens
  • Crayons and colored pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Glue sticks
  • Backpack


Dulce Mejia, a school social worker, recommends parents not wait until the first day of school to get all their children's required vaccines for the school year.

Students admitted at transitional kindergarten/kindergarten-12 need:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP, DTP, Tdap or Td) — five doses (Four doses OK if one was given on or after fourth birthday. Three doses OK if one was given on or after seventh birthday. For seventh through 12th graders, at least one dose of pertussis-containing vaccine is required on or after seventh birthday)
  • Polio (OPV or IPV) — four doses (Three doses OK if one was given on or after fourth birthday)
  • Hepatitis B — three doses (Not required for seventh grade entry)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) — two doses (Both given on or after first birthday)
  • Varicella (chickenpox) — two doses

These immunization requirements apply to new admissions and transfers for all grades, including transitional kindergarten.

Students starting seventh grade need:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) — one dose (Whooping cough booster usually given at 11-years-old and up)
  • Varicella (chickenpox) — two doses (Usually given at ages 12 months and 4 to 6 years)

In addition, the TK/K-12 immunization requirements apply to seventh graders who:

  • Previously had a valid personal beliefs exemption filed before 2016 upon entry between TK/K and sixth grade
  • Are new admissions


Whether a student is starting school for the first time or they are a transfer, completing forms before the first day of school saves time and stress.

Some of the forms required for students enrolling in BCSD include a birth verification request, student residency questionnaire and address verification affidavit. All forms are available at

In order to receive an enrollment packet for the Norris School District, parents or guardians must provide evidence they reside within district boundaries. Acceptable documents can be found at

Other enrollment requirements and forms can be found on district websites.

Back-to-school drives and events

To get back into the school spirit, several events and back-to-school drives are taking place leading up to Wednesday and beyond:

  • Back-to-School Drive sponsored by Bakersfield East Rotary Club from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday at 801 Niles St.
  • Bang, Bags and Britches Back-to-School Drive from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday at 4201 Stine Road
  • The Bakersfield Safe Streets Partnership and Project Back-to-School Bash at 4 p.m. Sunday at 1201 40th St.
  • Fairfax School District Kinder Orientation at 3 p.m. Monday
  • Standard School District transitional kindergarten/kindergarten orientation at 2 p.m. Tuesday
  • The Fruitvale School District is holding new student tours and orientation for various grades and schools Tuesday:
    • Columbia Elementary School: 8 a.m. for new student tours and transitional kindergarten/kindergarten orientation

    • Endeavour Elementary School: 10 a.m. for transitional kindergarten/kindergarten orientation and 1 p.m. for new student orientation

    • Quailwood Elementary School: 11:30 a.m. for new student tours and noon for kindergarten orientation

    • Discovery Elementary School: 12:30 p.m. for transitional kindergarten/kindergarten orientation

  • BCSD Back to School Night on Aug. 29 at Caroline Payne Harris Elementary School

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