The Erie county department of health has on its web site a description of head lice and a simple, general statement that a child may return to school following treatment. It is up to each school district to determine its own head lice policy. Some districts maintain “no nit” policies, which prohibit students from returning to school until all eggs have been removed. The American Association of Pediatrics along with the CDC issued policy recommendations suggesting that students be allowed to return to school with nits as head lice was causing students to miss a lot of school. These organizations state that by the time a case is diagnosed, the child has had ample opportunity to transmit lice to others so not much is gained by keeping him or her away from school. There are still some districts that maintain “no nit” policies in accordance with recommendations by the National Pediculosis Association, an advocacy group in Newton, MA. Below are school districts in and around Buffalo and their respective school lice policies:
Buffalo Public Schools
The Buffalo Public School District allows students to return to school after treatment Follows is an excerpt from a letter sent home by schools to parents:
“To Parents: If your child comes home with head lice, don’t panic. Millions of school children contract head lice each year. Children play in close contact with each other. A simple exchange of hats, clothing, brushes, combs, and other personal articles can result in transmission of head lice from one child to another. Lice can be easily and effectively treated.”
Williamsville School District
This district has a policy that follows recommendations of the American Association of Pediatrics and allows students to remain in school after treatment. Below is cited on the web site:
“Head lice are VERY common in children ages 3 to 12 years and are found more commonly in girls than boys. Having head lice doesn’t equal poor hygiene practices.
Head lice have existed for many centuries and do NOT spread disease, although they are a major nuisance. .Live lice can only live one to two days when not on an individual’s head. Live lice CRAWL, they cannot jump or fly. .A nit is simply a louse’s egg; the egg must hatch, which takes about 10 days, in order to produce a live louse. Nits found more than ¼ inch down the hair shaft are usually considered non-viable (they will not hatch). Direct head to head contact with an infested individual is the most common way to get head lice. Less likely is contracting head lice through sharing personal items such as combs, brushes, headphones, and hats. Lice can be transmitted easily between family members, close play mates, during sleep overs, and at camps. Seeking prompt and proper treatment is essential in eliminating an active case of head lice.
Head lice are not as contagious as you may think…a child typically has head lice for 4 to 6 weeks before it is identified (this is the length of time it takes for a person to develop a sensitivity to the saliva of a head louse; this sensitivity is what causes the head itching and scratching). After 4 to 6 weeks of an individual being infested with head lice, one would expect that the entire classroom would have head lice and this is rarely the case. It is much easier to contract a common cold than it is to get head lice.
Amherst School Policy
Amherst schools maintain a “no nit” policy.
“A child should not attend the after school or camp programs if any of the following exist…
• Head Lice: Until the morning after the first treatment and all nits have been removed.”
North Tonowanda Schools
The district, like Amherst schools, retains a “no nit” policy. If child is found to have lice, he or she must be sent home and not return until all nits are removed.LiceDoctors Private Service, 7 Days a Week