The Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky School Board Association now support recommendations by the American Pediatric Association, the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Association of School Nurses that schools discontinue “no-nits” policies, taking the position that students should not miss days of school due to possible cases of head lice or because of identified nits (eggs).
The rationale behind this shift away from recommending “no nit” policies for schools is that these organizations state that “nits are very unlikely to hatch and become crawling lice, nits are cemented to hair shafts and are unlikely to be transferred to another person, and the burden of absenteeism to the students and communities isn’t doesn’t outweigh the risks of head lice.” Despite these recommendations, it is still up to individual school boards to make policy regarding admission to school with head lice or nits.
Jefferson County Schools
In Jefferson County schools, the policy is stated that, “students found to have head lice will be excluded from school.” Children with nits only may stay at school. When head lice are found in a child the school contacts parents or guardians to pick up the student and gives the caregiver a packet of information regarding lice treatments. In order to be readmitted the child must be checked by the school nurse in front of the parent or guardian. Students with nits only will be admitted to school; children with live lice will not be admitted. The web site advises that a “five-day recheck will be done to en-sure that lice have not returned. If only nits are found, an additional recheck will be done in another five days. If live bugs are found, the student will once again be excluded from school.
Upon the initial discovery of a student with lice, a letter will go home with that child’s class to notify parents. No names will be published.”
Bullitt County School District
In the Bullitt County School District, the policy is consistent with the policy in Jefferson County; students with live bugs will be sent home, while students with nits may stay in class. The stated policy is as follows: “upon discovery of live head lice on any child within a classroom, the student’s parents will be notified and the child will not be allowed back in school until he/she has been treated for lice. Once treated, parents will need to transport their child to school. The returning student will be given a thorough head check by school personnel before returning to class. If head lice are present, the child will be sent back home. Students with a second infestation of live head lice shall not be allowed to return to school until he/she is determined to be free of lice by a health care professional.”
The trend away from “no nit” policies is being met with resistance from the National Pediculosis Association in Newton, MA as well as from some parents who believe that allowing children with nits to remain in school will heighten the risk of children getting lice. For more specific information on your local school’s head lice policy, contact your school.Learn About Our Lice Treatment Service