San Antonio, Texas and Surrounding Area
“My daughter has missed 3 days of school. She can’t afford to miss any more, but the nurse won’t let her back. I treated her with that chemical shampoo and combed for hours but the nurse keeps finding a few more nits every day. What is the policy for getting children into school when they have had head lice? Why can’t I get rid of those eggs?”
Dee R. in San Antonio
Dee’s situation regarding head lice help in San Antonio is very common and the answer is two-pronged. Regarding question #1, the answer is that in San Antonio and neighboring areas, as well as in all of Texas, the head lice policies vary from school district to school district. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) maintains on their web site that, “…(DSHS) does not recommend a “no nit” policy. We do recognize, however, that school districts may adopt one as a local option.”
Basically, the policy leaves the decision of whether to allow children to return to school with nits up to each school district. Children with live lice cannot return to school. The DSHS goes on to say, however, that “the law is the minimum; the school or district can create stricter guidelines by developing written policies that…protect school nurses, teachers and other school staff and…create peace of mind for administrators and parents…”
Active Cases of Head Lice May Prevent Return To School
In other words, most schools will prohibit children with active cases of head lice (live bugs) to return to school as those children are contagious. The majority of districts around San Antonio will allow children into school with nits.
To answer the question of why this parent, as well as many, many others are not successful in eliminating nits from the hair: there are a few reasons. First of all, nits camouflage in the hair and are very difficult to find. Second, when nits are first laid, they are very tiny and are even easier to miss than full grown nits. Third, many parents rely on the over-the-counter or prescription lice treatments, which often do not work. Bugs have developed a resistance to the chemicals and nits have a very hard layer which chemicals do not pierce. In other words, head lice cases are best left up to a professional.
San Antonio Independent School District
Schools in San Antonio allow children to return to school after treatment. Students are not allowed back in with live lice but if they have been treated they will be permitted to return even if there are some nits left in the hair.
Alamo Heights School District
Alamo Heights schools allow students to return with nits after treatment.
“When can my child go to school? Your child can return to school after a treatment and you have attempted to remove all nits. Be sure to tell the school and parents of playmates about the lice so they can check the other children.
What else should I know about lice? Anyone can get head lice. Lice like both short hair and long hair. Pets do not get lice or spread it.”
More information: www.ahisd.net
Boerne Schools Lice
Students with live bugs are not allowed in school in Boerne and the school does have a “no nit” policy. This is one of the most conservative lice policies in the area.
Pediculosis (Head Lice)
“A student with head lice or nits will be sent home for appropriate medicated shampoo treatment and removal of live organisms and nits. The student may return to school when he/she is free of live organisms and nits. The student must report to the school nurse to be examined and cleared before returning to class. Chronic cases and instances of non-treatment may result in a referral to the Texas Department of Health.
More information: www.boerne-isd.net
New Braunfels Schools
In New Braunfels students will not be permitted to return to school with live lice, but students will be admitted with nits after treatment.
“The most common symptom of head lice is itching and head scratching, particularly at night. Red bite marks or sores may also be noticed on the scalp. If you suspect that your child has head lice, he or she should be examined by the nurse at your child’s campus or by your health care provider. Safe and effective products to treat head lice are available both over the counter and by doctor’s prescription. It is important to follow the directions carefully. In addition, use a fine-tooth comb or special nit comb to help remove the eggs (nits) from the hair. You can also check your child’s scalp weekly when the hair is wet to see if there are any new head lice…My goal as the nurse is to provide you with the information you need to safeguard your child’s health, and ensure that his or her education is not disrupted, but remains the most positive experience possible. I hope you find this information useful, and I send best wishes to your child for a rewarding school year.”
More information: www.nbisd.org
Seguin Public Schools
Consistent with other school lice policies in and around San Antonio, Seguin allows students back to school after treatment even if nits remain. This district is on the more lenient side in that even students with a few live bugs will be allowed to remain for the day until they go home to be treated.
“Students are checked periodically for head lice and nits. When it is determined that
more than a few live lice are present, the student is immediately sent home with a letter and instructions for care.
A letter signed by the parent and verifying treatment must accompany the student upon his/her return to school; Only a few lice are present, the nurse or health aide may, with the permission of the principal, comb out the few live lice and send the student back to class. At the end of the day, the student is sent home with a letter and instructions for care. If a student with only a few live lice has had persistent lice problems, s/he is sent home with a letter and instructions for care.
Only nits are present, the student will remain in school for the day. At the end of the day, the student is sent home with a letter and instructions for care.
An absence is excused on the day a student is sent home due to lice. An absence is unexcused on each day a student does not return following the day s/he is sent home due to lice. (State Board of Health Regulations for Communicable Diseases)”
More information: www.seguin.k12.tx.us
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