Lee County Schools, in which Fort Myers is located, retains a “no nit” policy. Under this policy, students are not allowed to return to school until all nits or lice are removed from the student’s hair. The policy advocates that the checks be done “discreetly so that a student and/or parent is not embarrassed or otherwise victimized.” Lee County’s policy also states that the entire class should be checked when a student has nits or lice. This is a more aggressive lice policy than is found in many other districts.
The policy is stated on the district web site as, “Head lice are usually transmitted by direct contact with infested person’s hair, but may be transferred with shared combs, hats or hair accessories. It is the policy of the School District of Lee County to control the spread of pediculosis among school age children with minimal interruption of the learning process. Screening for pediculosis is necessary only when infestation of live lice or nits are identified on an individual student or at the request of the school principal.
- When there is suspicion of infestation on an individual student, he/she should be sent to the Clinic for inspection.
- If live lice or nits are found, the child’s parents should be notified. The child is not to return to school until the hair is treated and all nits are removed.
- A screening of the entire class should be done by the clinic assistant.
- Upon returning to school, the student should be go directly to the clinic to be reinspected. He/she will not be allowed to return to the classroom until all live lice and nits have been removed from the hair.
- Children should not be over treated with pediculicides. An initial treatment with a pediculicide followed by mechanical removal of all nits is the most effective treatment.”
Learn more at health.leeschools.net
While several schools across the country are moving toward allowing children with nits to remain in school, Lee County has stood firm on this policy. The district has the support of the National Pediculosis Association (NPA), which is opposed to relaxing bans on lice and points to more lenient policies as a cause for spreading lice.
The NPA says lice treatment shampoos are pesticides that are not safe for children and not 100 percent effective. The group instead urges parents to screen regularly and use a special comb to manually remove lice and nits from a child’s hair.
Learn more at www.headlice.org
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics updated guidelines in 2010 to adopt a “do not exclude” infested students recommendation for schools dealing with head lice. The National Association of School Nurses changed its policy to be in line with this more lenient stance in 2010. The school nurse association recommended that children found with live head lice should remain in class but be discouraged from close direct head contact with others. The school nurse should contact the parents and dispense educational materials to them.Learn More About Our Lice Treatment Service