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What You Need To Know Today: Efforts To Cool Down Schools, LA's Updated COVID Vaccines, The Many Bills On The Governor's Desk

A group of pre-teen Black boys play basketball in a schoolyard court in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
Less than a quarter of campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District meet the recommended amount of green space, but there are some changes happening now. Children playing basketball in the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA.
( Joel Muniz
Unsplash )
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Friday, September 2.

Today in How to LA: What LA schools are doing to cool off playgrounds in a time of extreme heat, updated COVID-19 vaccines are coming to L.A., a guide to Southern California wildlife.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency this week due to the heat, so I’ve been writing about the effect of triple-digit temperatures on vulnerable populations. Today, let’s focus on kids.

I’m going to throw a number at you: 145 degrees. That was the recorded temperature of the asphalt at a school in the San Fernando Valley on a recent 93-degree day, according to the Los Angeles Times. We all want our kids to play outside, but the current climate emergency makes it nearly impossible for kids to enjoy the outdoors at school. Less than a quarter of campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District meet the recommended amount of green space, but there are some changes happening now.

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Earlier this year, the district dedicated about $58 million towards outdoor education initiatives and green space, like trees and gardens, which research has shown cools down local areas and improves the air quality. The state legislature is getting behind the greener schools initiative, too. My colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez reports that a school in Watts is one of about two dozen LAUSD campuses that are currently ripping up blacktop and greening schoolyards with plants and trees, thanks to help from the TreePeople.

Later this month, L.A. school board members will vote on a goal to ensure 30% of every campus is green space.

It's important to keep in mind that children are more susceptible to heat illnesses than adults because their bodies have a hard time regulating temperature. Please make sure that the little ones stay safe in the heat. That means making sure that they are drinking lots of water, dressing lightly and getting into the pool (with adult supervision at all times). Here are some more tips for you.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below - just keep reading.

The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding!

  • Updated coronavirus vaccines are coming to Los Angeles as early as next week. Here’s the details
  • If you think it's going to be hot, ask a food truck worker. On a sweltering day in Los Angeles, temperatures inside a truck can run 15 degrees hotter than the outside temp, especially if people inside are cooking up a storm. 
  • The city of Mission Viejo could soon be without a functioning government after three city councilmembers were ordered to vacate their seats. Here’s the story of what happened - and why it matters
  • After a busy legislative session, California lawmakers have sent several bills to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, including the controversial CARE Court bill. This would allow family members or county caseworkers to refer people living with serious mental illness to be placed in a court-ordered care program
  • California is one of several states that does not mandate kindergarten, but this could change if a new bill passed by lawmakers is signed by the governor.  (EdSource
  • Another bill headed to the governor would amend the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and eliminate the use of urine tests to determine whether an employee has used marijuana or another cannabis product. (LA Taco
  • There’s a lot to understand about the federal government’s student loan forgiveness plan. Does one have to submit an application? Is there a maximum? Here are answers to these frequent questions and more.
  • Are you ready to have fun this Labor Day weekend? From hotel pool parties, to the Santa Ana art walk to Ramy Youssef at Largo at the Coronet, we’ve got a great list of events.

Wait! One More Thing...Angeleno Wildlife

A whimsical illustration of several animals found in SoCal, including a bear, parrots, seal, coyote, bison, puma and squirrel.
Our urban landscape is teeming with wildlife, including some that might surprise you.
(Illustration by Dan Carino
for LAist)

It’s time to take out our binoculars and go outside (with our nice, cold icy water bottle of course)! I don’t know about you, but I’m headed to the beach this weekend to cool off. You know what I want to see in the wild? A dolphin! Did you know that they can swim while they sleep? I want to see that in action. I wish I could do that.

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While I will likely never be able to swim while sleeping, I know that living here provides me with a ton of opportunities to see dolphins and other sea creatures in my lifetime. I might even catch a gray whale migration off the coast. We are so lucky to be surrounded by nature and wildlife everywhere in Southern California. For more on this, check out Ryan Fonseca’s field guide to all the iconic wildlife in our area. Just letting you know, though, if you do go out, can you promise me you’ll be kind to the animals and keep a good distance?

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