In Ohio, it is up to each individual school district to set its school lice policy. The state health department recommends the following:
“Ideally, a parent or guardian should pick the child up from school. This practice allows the school nurse to show the parent evidence of the child’s infestation and, at the same time, provide the parent with educational material concerning the epidemiology, treatment, and follow-up procedures for the infestation.
A list of instructions should be given to the parent, including information on nits, lists of acceptable treatments, and where those products may be obtained. The parent should be made aware that other family members might be infested and need treatment. Also at this time, if the parent is unwilling or unable to identify nits or lice, he/she should be advised where this service is provided (local health department, clinic, physician’s office). The parents must be informed of the schools readmission policy both verbally and in writing as part of the instruction letter. These documents should be prepared by knowledgeable health care professionals, becoming a permanent part of the school district’s head lice policy (See “Sample Letter to Parents”).
If the parent is unable to visit the school, a phone call to the parent explaining the above information would suffice. A letter of instruction should then be sent home with the child. This situation is complicated by single parent families and shared custody situations where the child might stay with separated or divorced mothers and fathers, who might have new partners and families.”
“…When a nit-free policy is adopted, the school should have someone available to check the child’s head at the start of the next school day. The school policy should identify this person by name and/or title. Trained parent or teacher volunteers are extremely helpful, especially if the school nurse covers more than one school or is employed by the local health department and not available every day. The policy must also establish procedures addressing the possibility that children will return to school untreated or with nits present.
Whenever a child is found to be infested with head lice, all contacts and/or classmates who sit within touching distance should be promptly examined. If more children are found infested in that classroom, all the students in the classroom should be examined. Unless the school is very small, this case-finding rarely requires examination of the entire school. It is important to interview the child and his/her parents to identify close contacts both in and outside the school. Often children who continually become reinfested have unidentified contacts in the community or home that have not been examined and treated. The local health department might be able to assist the school in contacting, identifying, and examining those contacts not associated with the school. Communication to other schools, preschools, or child care centers where siblings or close associates attend is very important.
The infested child and each contact, regardless of whether or not the contact is found to be infested, should be examined again in not less than two weeks or ten working days. This should continue until no evidence of infestation is found in two successive examinations.”
More information: www.odh.ohio.gov
Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3701-3-13 (Q) states:
“Pediculosis: a person with body lice shall be excluded from school or child care center until twenty-four hours after application of an effective pediculicide. A person with head lice shall be excluded from school or child care center until after the first treatment with an appropriate pediculicide.
Revising Head Lice Policies in Schools
The nursing profession is moving toward evidenced-based practices. Updated guidance from CDC, AAP and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) should be incorporated into school policies. School nurses in each school district should collaborate with their local health departments and school administration to create and enforce consistent policy guidelines throughout the district. Policies should include the etiology of pediculosis, the mode of transmission, a description of the lice screening process, information about how the parents will be notified of an infestation, and the recommended treatment protocol. Management schemes in the form of flow sheets developed by the Harvard School of Public Health will assist school nurses and school administrators in developing a draft school policy on the management of head lice. The draft policy should be presented to the superintendent and school board, revised and disseminated. Community resources should be identified to help families manage the costs of remediation of infestation. Parents, teachers and administrators should be educated on the policy before implementation. After the policy is implemented, it should be reassessed at regular intervals.”
More information: www.odh.ohio.gov
Sylvania school nurse, Ms, Jeanette explains that the Sylvania school district follows protocol anytime lice is discovered on the head of a student, which includes sending a letter home to parents.
“We try to keep the kids in school, if they’ve been treated, if we see that mom and dad have combed, made an effort, if that child comes to school with some knits in their hair or the eggs, the other nurses and I most of the time will take them into a health room and spend some time,” said Jeanette.
More information: www.toledonewsnow.com
Troy School District
This district does not have a “no nit” policy so students may return school with nits as long as they have been treated.
“Identified students are sent home the day of identification, with instruction concerning appropriate treatment of individual(s) and environmental care. Parents/Guardians are instructed that school policy requires that students return to school only if free and clear of lice. If the student returns to school without complete removal of lice, they will be sent home until they are lice free. Students should be able to return to school within 1 day (including weekends) after being sent home. Parents /Guardians have the responsibility to continually remove nits, even though the student may return to school with nits. Those who remain out for extended periods of time due to ineffective treatment will be turned over to the Principal who has the authority to notify the School Attendance Officer which may result in a court referral.”
More information: www.troy.k12.oh.us
Bowling Green Schools
8451 – PEDICULOSIS (HEAD LICE)
This district as with the Sylvania schools, does not have a “no nit” policy.
“Head lice is a universal problem and is particularly prevalent among elementary school-age children. Control of lice infestation is best handled by adequate treatment of the infested person and his/her immediate household and other close personal contacts.
Communication from the school to parents directly and through parent and classroom education to the students will help increase the awareness for both parents and child. Parents need to continually observe their child for this potential problem and treat adequately and appropriately as necessary.
If a child in the District is found to have lice, the child’s parent will be contacted to have the child treated and to pick him/her up immediately. After treatment and upon returning to school, the child will be examined by the school health staff or principal. The District practices a policy of “no live lice”.
The Superintendent shall prepare administrative guidelines to provide for the implementation of this policy.”
More information: www.neola.com
Ottawa Hills School District
This district has adopted recommendations from the CDC which allow students with live bugs to stay in school until the end of the day, then go home to be treated, and then return the next day even if there are nits still in the hair.
“The Ottawa Hills School District has revised the policy on head lice in accordance with changes from the Centers for Disease Control, superintendent Kevin Miller said.
He assured residents, “We don’t have trouble with head lice here. It’s almost a moot point.”
Lice are spread by person-to-person contact; diagnosis is made by “finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or hair of a person,” according to the CDC.
Mr. Miller said the district’s policy change reflects the CDC wording.”
More information: www.toledoblade.com
Please note, schools occasionally revise their policies so it is wise to call the school nurse to learn about any updates in your school head lice policy. If you discover that your child has head lice, call LiceDoctors in the Toledo area at 567-694-6140.Learn About Our Lice Treatment Service in Dayton