Kern County students dropped from distance learning courses after failing to receive mandatory immunizations

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Nikki Douglas’s son had just started his first month of 7th grade at Standard Middle when one day, his account was deactivated.

“My son was crying because he couldn’t get into his classes,” said Douglas. “He was very upset.”

Like several other middle schoolers across the state, her son had yet to receive the proper vaccinations to start the school year. Michelle Corson, Public Relations Officer for the Kern County Public Health Services Department, says these back-to-school immunizations are mandatory for kids to attend classes online.

“The State of California has been clear that the law remains the same, and childhood vaccinations are mandatory for children to attend school, even in a remote learning environment,” said Corson.

Despite the repeated warning from Public Health, hundreds of kids in the Standard School District and others across the county failed to meet the deadline.

“More-than 200 of our students did not have immunization at the start of school,” said Paul Meyers, Standard School District’s Superintendent.

The career educator says school nurses spent the summer contacting parents and even held clinics for students on their school site and a mobile one for kids without transportation to help minimize the difficulties these families are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after a non-officially sanctioned 30-day grace period, the District still had to remove access to more than a dozen students.

“Despite all of our efforts, we still had 27 kids who we had to disenroll come Monday,” said Meyers.

A problem that Corson says is going all over the state.

“One in six children are being impacted by not getting vaccinated here in California, so there is a concern at the state level and certainly at the local level,” said Corson.

However, she says that this is not a punishment and hopes to see all of those families get their shots soon so they can get back on track this school year.

“It just remains vitally important that we follow that law and more importantly that we protect the health of our children and our families,” said Corson.

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