Fresno Unified hosts immunization clinics and expands preschools

August 12, 2013 2:45:00 PM PDT
Thousands of Valley students will head back-to-school next week and the state's fourth largest school district is trying to make it easier on parents. Fresno Unified School District is expanding opportunities for students and increasing access to required immunizations.

Marisela Villasenor is getting a head start on enrolling her son for school at Fresno Unified.

"He's the first kid and I'm kind of nervous," Villasenor said. "I was kind of like do I take him this year or next year? I wasn't sure, but yeah he needs to start school."

Now that she has decided, she's taking advantage of two programs offered by the district - to prepare her son for the upcoming year.

On Monday, she stopped by the District's mobile health clinic at Wilson Elementary to get him the immunizations he needs to start school.

"It's different for different ages, but for kindergarten its five immunizations they need, so that's their Polio, DPT, Hepatitis B, Varicella and MMR," said Health Services Director Diane Torna. "Seventh grade students also need their T-Dap or Pertussis booster shot."

Over the next two weeks, Torna said the mobile health unit will visit all four corners of the district to make it easier for parents to meet the requirements.

"We love our kids and we want them to start on time. First day of school is very exciting and we want kids there," Torna said.

The district is also urging parents to take advantage of 1,500 additional spaces for preschool made possible by the passage of Proposition 30.

"We're actually opening 18 additional classrooms, some on sites we already have a Pre-K, but we've traditionally always had a long waiting list, and some at sites we've never had it before," said Early Learning Manager Deanna Mathies.

Those slots are going fast as parents lined up at district headquarters to sign up their children. An opportunity Villasenor said she didn't want to pass up.

"I want him to be somebody in life. I want him to go to school and learn and be somebody," she said.

On Tuesday, August 13, all Fresno Unified schools will host "late night registration", keeping buildings open and staffed until 7 p.m. This will ease the burden on parents who often aren't able to leave work in time to take care of this important step in enrolling a child in a school. Staff will be available to process registration materials and answer any questions that parents may have.

The Fresno Unified Department of Health Services will also operate a special, extended hour's immunization clinic on Tuesday, August 13. All students entering Kindergarten are required to have been vaccinated against Polio, DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus), MMR (mumps, measles and rubella), Hepatitis B, and Varicella (chickenpox). All students entering 7th grade have to show proof of vaccination against Pertussis (Whooping Cough/Tdap). All vaccines can be administered at the immunization clinic. The Tdap vaccination is free for all Fresno Unified students. The other vaccinations are free for Medi-Cal users, the uninsured and those who qualify on the basis of income. For information on eligibility requirements please call 457-3294.


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