Berrien County Health Department to host back to school events

BERRIEN COUNTY — To help families get their children ready to head back to the classroom this fall, the Berrien County Health Department will host the “Back to School Bash” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Monday, Aug. 23 at the health department’s Niles office, 1205 Front St., and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30 at the Benton Harbor office, 2149 E. Napier Ave.

After an unprecedented school year in 2020-2021, the health department stressed the importance of readying kids for a healthy school year. At the events, the health department will provide free hearing and vision screenings and immunizations required for school entry, including the strongly recommended COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 years and older. The event will also feature healthy snacks, activities and giveaways for kids of all ages, as well as information about WIC, parenting education classes, health insurance assistance, and many other programs and services that can benefit families in Berrien County.

Representatives from local law enforcement will be at the events to continue building positive relationships between police departments and the community, allowing children the opportunity to see inside police cars and a fire truck. Other community agencies, such as the Berrien County Great Start Collaborative and the Lions Club Project KidSight will also attend. All attendees are strongly recommended to wear a face mask while participating in any of the indoor activities.

“As kids head back to school in-person this year, it’s so important that they are healthy and ready to learn,” said Courtney Davis, acting health officer, Berrien County Health Department. “We know that the back-to-school season can be a busy and stressful time for everyone, so we are happy to help families prepare for that transition.”

Department representatives wanted to remind parents that Michigan state law requires that children receive certain immunizations against infectious diseases like measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, and hepatitis B, before entering school. Additionally, children entering preschool and Kindergarten are required to have their hearing and vision screened.

Parents can find more information about these school requirements and the Back to School Bash events at bchdmi.org or by calling (269) 926-7121.

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