The Bakersfield City School District is expanding the health services they offer students by offering testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
BCSD held a board meeting Tuesday night to vote on the decision and it was approved. The three wellness centers at BCSD offer medical, mental health and and dental services to its families, and will now offer STD testing.
Kern County Public Health considers STD rates in the county to be a public health crisis, and the district wants to do its part.
Kern County has high STD rates, including the second highest rates of Chlamydia in the state.
"We want to make sure that as a good partner with our community, we are providing whatever services we can to our families and to our students in order to lower that rate," Timothy Fulenwider with BCSD said.
In 2016, there were 74 cases of STDs in children under the age of 14 in Kern County, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Of those cases, 37 were Chlamydia and 11 gonorrhea. There were 26 children with congenital syphilis.
Tuesday night, the Board voted to approve a contract with Kern County Public Health to help process the STD tests.
The screenings can be done in house, then sent over to the Kern County Health Department for analysis, Fulenwider said.
Parents who are concerned about their child's sexual activity can bring their student in for testing and students themselves can seek out the service as well, Fulenwider said.
"We would help them navigate what they are going through in order to get them the care that they need," Fulenwider said. "It's on a case by case basis with students."
Throughout Kern County, the highest number of cases reported were from the 20-24 age group for Chlamydia and gonorrhea, according to CDPH data. The 25-29 age group had the highest numbers for early syphilis.