The following information was sent out in The School Nurse Bulletin to all Connecticut school nurses in September 2010: “Head lice infestation is associated with limited morbidity, but causes a high level of anxiety among parents of school-aged children. Since the 2002 clinical report on head lice was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), patterns of resistance to products available over-the-counter and by prescription have changed, and additional mechanical means of removing head lice have been explored. This revised clinical report clarifies current diagnosis and treatment protocols and provides guidance for the management of children with head lice in the school setting.
Summary of Key Points: No healthy child should be excluded from or allowed to miss school time because of head lice. No -nit policies for return to school should be abandoned.”
Some CT Schools Loosening Criteria
Several CT schools have loosened their criteria regarding admission to school but have not gone as far as to adopt a “no-nit policy”. Some schools have a somewhat ambiguous policy, relying heavily on the nurse’s discretion. For example Greenwich, Connecticut has the following policy: “Greenwich Public Schools, in agreement with the Harvard School of Public Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses, recognizes that the management of head lice should not disrupt the educational process, especially since no disease process is associated with head lice.
Further best practice suggests that regular head lice screening in schools does little to reduce the incidence of head lice. Rather it is more important that parents regularly inspect their child for head lice, perhaps at the same time they inspect their child for the presence of deer ticks, a far more serious threat to their child’s health.
Further, as we all know, all health information regarding students is absolutely confidential, and the student’s privacy must be respected. Therefore, any child who exhibits any symptoms of head lice should be referred to the school nurse who will work with the student’s parents to care for the child and avoid further cases.”
Some Schools Maintain Strict No Nit Policies
Despite the recommendation by the AAP, many schools in Connecticut retain their no-nit policies. Norwalk, Ridgefield,Stamford and Westport Connecticut, among others, list the following policy on their web site:
“Children with head lice will be excluded from school until the hair has been treated and ALL of the eggs (nits) have been removed.”
Each school district has its own head lice policy. Your school district may have to completely different policy from the district next door. To understand your district head lice policy you should call your school nurse or check out the district website.
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Branford Public Schools
Branford Public Schools do not have a “no nit” policy and follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Lice are a common infestation of the head in young children. Most commonly, the lice cause itching. The policy of the Branford Pubilc Schools is to minimize school absence due to head lice infestation. An excellent source of information the diagnosis, and treatment of head lice can found at the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Read more: www.branford.k12.ct.us
This district retains it “no nit” policy and children will nor be allowed back into schools until ” lice and nits (eggs) have been removed from their head.Rechecks will be done by Health Room staff before child allowed to return to school.For more information about elimination of head lice, contact Health Room staff.”
Read more: www.bbhd.org
New Haven Unified School District
New Haven Schools retain a “no nit” policy.
“School employees shall report all suspected cases of head lice to the principal or designee as soon as possible. The principal or designee shall examine the student and any siblings of affected students or members of the same household. If nits or lice are found, the student shall be excluded and parents/guardians informed about recommended treatment procedures, ways to check the hair, and sources of further information.
The principal shall send home the notification required by law for excluded students. (Education Code 48213)
If there are more than two students affected in any one classroom, all students in the class shall be examined and information about head lice shall be sent home to all parents/guardians in the class.” Excluded students may return to school when they bring a note from the parent/guardian indicating the treatment used and when reexamination by the principal or designee shows that all pests and nits have been removed.
Read more: www.nhusd.k12.ca.us
Hartford Public Schools
Hartford schools no longer have a “no nit” policy as long as students have been treated for lice.
- “If live lice or nits appearing in close proximity to scalp or on clothing are observed the student is to be considered to have pediculosis. In this situation the Principal will exclude the student, and the nurse will instruct the parent or guardian on treatment procedures and precautions against spreading. The school nurse aide or Principal will notify parents immediately.
- The nurse will do head checks on all students in the classroom and on any students who are siblings of infected student. Examination consists of sectioning and parting of hair using wooden applicator sticks. If students have siblings in other schools, the nurse will notify the school nurse of that school. The siblings will be screened immediately.
- Identified students may return to school immediately following treatment which includes the application of head louse shampoo. The parent will be required to sign a statement attesting to the administration of an appropriate treatment, and the student will be rescreened by the nurse. (Editorial nite from LiceDoctors that our treatment has Ben used and accepted by this district”.
- Identified students are to be rescreened seven to ten days after readmittance to school.
- To ensure confidentiality, the names of the students who have pediculosis will be shared with no other parents and with only those staff members which the Principal deems to have a reason to know. No parents other than the parent of a student in question will be present when a student is being individually rechecked by the nurse or health aide.
- If a student’s pediculosis problem does not appear to be eliminated by the standard medical treatment, the school medical advisor may intervene and request the school Principal to exclude the student from school until all lice or nits have been removed from the student’s head.”
Read more: www.crec.org
Wethersfield Public Schools
Effective December 19, 2011, Wethersfield schools adopted a more lenient head lice policy. “The new policy adopted by the school board reflects a growing national trend to view head lice infestations as a common, noncontagious condition and not grounds to automatically send the afflicted child home. Only children infested with live lice will be sent home for treatment. Those found with only with lice eggs, called nits, don’t need to be sent home because nits are not transmitted person-to-person.
School board Chairman John Cascio said Wednesday the new lice policy is only a slight revision of the existing one and was made to conform with changes in state health department regulations concerning treatment of lice outbreaks in schools.
The policy stresses that head lice are most common among children ages 3 and 12, do not pose a health hazard, “nor are a sign of poor hygiene.”
Read more: articles.courant.com
West Hartford Schools
This district does not have a “no nit” policy. On the web site, nurse, Barbara McGuiness writes, “Should you find that your child does have head lice there are several over-the-counter shampoo-in treatments. It is advisable to contact your pediatrician if you have any questions regarding which product to use. Shampoo treatments should not be used as a preventative measure on other family members who show no signs of infestation. These products do contain pesticides and should be used only as directed.
I would ask that you discuss with your children: not to wear other students’ hats, caps, headbands, barrettes, or scrunchies. Also please remind your children that combs and brushes should not be shared. Our town policy is that any student suspected of having head lice will be sent home for treatment. Likewise it would be greatly appreciated if parents would notify the nurse if they have treated their child for this problem so that we can control the spread of head lice in a classroom.”
Read more: morley.whps.org
Vernon Public Schools
The policy is as follows: “Notify the parent. A student with LIVE lice will be sent home. Educate the parents on the requirements of shampooing and nit removal, using verbal and written instructions.
A general letter will be sent home with the classroom students to inform all parents of the occurrence. Recheck the student before returning to class after treatment.”
Read more: vernonpublicschools.org
Students in East Windsor schools must be nit free before returning to school.
Read more: www.eastwindsork12.orgLearn About Our In Home Service