Palm Beach County schools retain a “no nit” policy, meaning children with nits (lice eggs) may nit return to school until all eggs have been removed for the hair.
Policy 5.325 dated October 14, 2014, is stated as follows,
“Pediculosis (Head Lice) Prevention and Control
- Purpose.– The School Board recognizes that management of pediculosis (infestation of head lice, pediculus humanus capitis) depends on prompt case identification, effective treatment, and education regarding prevention of the spread of these ectoparasites.
- Background and Symptoms. The Board recognizes that:a. Pediculosis is caused by small parasitic insects found on the heads of people and can be easily spread by someone who already has lice. Pediculosis is extremely common; an estimated six to twelve million people in the United States are infested each year.b. There are three forms of head lice: nits (eggs), nymphs (immature lice) and adults. Nits are firmly attached to hair, are hard to see, are often confused with dandruff, and hatch in about one week. Nymphs feed on human blood and mature into adults within one week. Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed and can live on a human for about 30 days. If a louse falls off a person, it dies within two days.
c. Head lice crawl but do not hop or fly. Head lice do not spread diseases and their presence does not constitute an emergency.
d. Symptoms of head lice infestation may include a feeling of something moving in the hair; or itching caused by an allergic reaction to the bites; irritability; and sores on the head caused by scratching that can become infected.
- Prevention and Information.– In collaboration with the School Health Program, the principal will permit informational letters and educational materials regarding head lice to be distributed to specific classes as well as to the general student and parent population as necessary.
- Screening.– The heads of individuals suspected of having head lice will be screened by the principal’s designees with assistance from the School Health Program. Because mass screening programs have not had a significant effect on the incidence of head lice in the school setting over time and have not proven to be cost effective, the entire class should not be screened unless multiple individuals are affected.
- Response to Identified Infestationsa. The principal is responsible for ensuring that contact with the student’s parent/guardian has been attempted and for excluding from school any student who is found to have lice or nits, as soon as is practically possible or at the end of the school day. All reasonable efforts will be made to prevent close contact of affected students with others until dismissal.b. The principal will permit the re-admission of any students after they are determined to be free of lice or nits by the school nurse or assigned designee.
c. Persistent problems will be referred, by the school nurse or principal’s designee, to appropriate agencies for assistance.”
There has been some consideration given to changing the policy. LiceDoctors suggests that you check with your school nurse to be sure you have the most up-to-date policy.