School Lice Policies Spokane and Surrounding Areas
www.spokesman.com November 26, 2013
“The American Academy of Pediatrics changed its recommendations for the treatment of children with head lice in 2010, calling for an end to “no-nit” policies that required students to stay home until every last louse egg had been removed from their hair. The National Association of School Nurses revised its position in 2011, saying children with live lice should remain in class and their parents contacted to discuss treatment at the end of the day.
Spokane-area school districts have adjusted their policies, too, moving away from no-nit policies while still requiring that students are treated for lice before they come back to school and striving to educate parents about eradicating the bugs.
‘It happens to everybody’, said Christi Malsam, school nurse supervisor for the West Valley School District. ‘There’s no prevention, no matter how rich you are or how clean you are.’…
Patti Buck, a nurse with the Mead School District, said her district’s policy draws on data showing that ‘it’s not worth keeping a child out of school, that it’s not a necessity. Lice doesn’t cause illness – it’s not contagious or anything like that.'”
Spokane Public Schools
The Spokane School District has dropped its “no nit” school lice policy. When a student is found to have nits, the parent will be called and given the option to pick up the child or leave him or her in school until the end of the school day. It is then expected that the student will receive treatment at home and may then return to school the next day. The following letter is sent home with the child…
“[Child’s name] is found to have head lice eggs (nits) close to the scalp today and needs to be treated by you before returning to school. Please read the attached pamphlet for examination and treatment suggestions…
The process of removing nits and live lice may take up to 2 weeks with daily combing regardless of the treatment method you choose. You may want to work on the hair for short periods of time each day for the comfort of your child.
Children who have had a treatment option started and are in the process of egg removal, should return to school. It is not necessary for a child to miss more than a day of school due to head lice treatment.
If further help is needed, please contact your family physician or the Spokane Regional Health District information hot line (323-2847), for treatment recommendations.
NOTE: Research has shown that only a small number of children who have nits on their scalp are also infested with living lice. Accordingly, in the U.S.A. alone, 4-8 million children are treated unnecessarily for head lice annually. In addition, 12-24 million school days are lost annually. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Harvard School of Public Health support children not missing school unnecessarily for head lice.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS COMMUNITY CONCERN AND FOR HELPING US TO MINIMIZE THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT CHILDREN MISS SCHOOL.”
Coeur d’Alene School District, Idaho
This district has a “no nit” policy and refuses to admit students who have nits until all nits are gone.
“Head lice are a common condition in the school-aged child. It is highly contagious and easily spread from direct or indirect contact with infested persons and/or infested personal items.
The school principal or designee will screen students for head lice. If nits (egg cases) are present, the student will be excluded from school until the student is ‘nit free’.”
Post Falls, Idaho schools
This district also maintains a “no nit” policy; students must be free of lice and nits to return to school.
“Head lice (Pediculosis) are a highly communicable pest that are easily transferred from one person to the next, either by direct contact or through personal articles such as combs, hats and clothing.
Post Falls School District maintains a ‘nit-free’ head lice policy. Adults and children will be excluded from school if lice or nits (egg cases) are present. When lice or nits are detected, the student will be isolated, and parents or designees will be notified to pick up their child(ren) from school.
Before readmission to school, the student must be transported to school by a parent or designee to be checked by a designated school employee to assure that the child(ren) is nit-free.”
If you live in the Spokane area and you find that your child has head lice, call LiceDoctors at 509-570-1433. We will treat your family in the complete privacy of your home at a time that is convenient for you. Since districts revise their head lice policies from time to time, check with your school nurse to ensure that you have the most updated lice policy.Learn About Our Lice Treatment Service in Spokane