Many schools across the country are permitting students with nits to stay school per recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses. While some educators and parents, who were upset that students were missing too much school, are pleased, others are not. The detractors of “no nit” policies include the National Pediculosis Association in Massachusetts, who argues this change in lice policies will contribute to more infestations. .
“The switch came after a 2002 pediatrics academy study said students with nits shouldn’t be kept out of class. The real problem, according to the medical experts, is the lice, not their eggs.
“Nits don’t spread. They don’t jump from one person to another,” said Amy Garcia, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses.”So to withhold a child from school due to nits really interrupts the educational process.
Once nits hatch, they generally take seven to 10 days to become full-grown adults that can lay eggs and begin the cycle all over again. About 60 percent of schools now allow children with nits to stay in class, Garcia said.
The pediatrics academy also says kids who are found to have crawling head lice should be allowed to stay in school for the rest of the day but discouraged from close head contact with others.”
More information: www.theledger.com/article/20090218/NEWS/902180397
Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery This private school has a “no nit” policy as follows: Alabama State law requires that children be excluded from school for the following reasons:
“Children with head lice will be excluded from school until the hair has been treated and ALL of the eggs (nits) have been removed.”
More information: alabama.webschoolpro.com
Elmore County Public Schools
Students will be sent home from school to be treated for lice. They will be allowed to return when they have been treated no have no live lice.
“It is the policy of the Elmore County Public Schools that whenever a student is identified by school personnel to have active head lice infestation, the parent/guardian will be notified and asked to pick the child up at school, allowing sufficient time for verbal and written instruction regarding the treatment of head lice.
The student may be readmitted to school as soon as appropriate treatment has been given (proof of appropriate treatment is required) and no evidence of live lice is found.”
More information: millbrook.ecm.schoolinsites.com
Students in Auburn who have lice will be sent home for treatment and will be readmitted when nits have been removed.
“Students with head lice are an especially common problem for all school-aged children. If, during the screening process or individual inspection, an infestation of head lice is confirmed, the following procedure will be followed: (** care will be taken not to embarrass the child)
- The student will be removed from the classroom. Parent/ guardian will be contacted and required to check-out the student and provide the appropriate treatment.
- After parent/guardian has administered the first treatment and the nits have been manually removed, the child may return to school. A school official will conduct an examination.”
More information: www.auburnschools.org
This district has the most lenient head lice policy in the area. The schools no longer have a “no nit” policy.
“1.It is the position of the Tallapoosa County School Health Services Department that the management of pediculosis (head lice) should not disrupt the educational process. The presence of nits (eggs) does not always indicate active infestation and no evidence is found that the presence of nits correlates with any disease process. The “No Nit” policy, which was suggested in 1997 as a guideline by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), is now being discouraged. The ADPH does not require that a student with nits be denied attendance in school, and this is supported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses.
At this time, the Tallapoosa County Board of Education recommends a policy that focuses on the exclusion of active infestations only. Active infestations can be defined as the presence of live lice and the location of nits within ¼“of the scalp. Nits that are found beyond ¼“of the scalp have more than likely hatched or may no longer be viable.
The school nurse is the most knowledgeable professional in the school setting and ideally suited to provide education and guidance regarding “best practices” for head lice/nit management. The goal of any actions by the school nurse is to contain infestation, provide appropriate health information for treatment and prevention, prevent overexposure to potentially hazardous chemicals, and minimize school absences. The following protocol is suggested as “best practice” for managing head lice in the school setting:
- If a student is suspected of having head lice, the school nurse will be notified and will verify by visual examination with a positive or negative finding.
- The principal will be notified and the parent will be contacted (verbal communication is preferred) of positive findings and proper instructions will be provided.
- The school nurse will make a determination as to whether a child can return to class based on visual inspection. The decision for the student to be sent home will be made on a case-by-case basis by the school nurse.
- Most students with live lice may remain in school until the end of the school day. o Immediate removal of the student is usually unnecessary. If the student has lice, they probably have been infested for weeks and prompt removal of the student could lead to embarrassment and ridicule. However, cases of severe infestation may require prompt removal by the school nurse.
- The student will be readmitted to school after treatment and examination by the school nurse.
- If it is apparent that proper treatment has not been followed, the child can be sent back home for continued treatment. The school nurse will repeat treatment instructions to the parent.
- It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to follow procedure and return their child to
- If it is apparent that a family is diligently working to correct the problem, the nurse will allow the student to return to class with close monitoring.
More information: www.tallapoosak12.orgLearn About Our Lice Treatment Service in Montgomery