Schools in the Burbank and Glendale areas hold to a no-lice policy rather than the previously enforced no-nit policy. This means children who have begun treatment will not be excluded from the classroom solely on the basis of nits (eggs) in their hair; instead they are allowed to return to school as long as no live lice are found.
The Board of Education believes that the district's head lice management program should emphasize the correct diagnosis and treatment of head lice in order to minimize disruption of the education process and to reduce the number of student absences resulting from infestation. In consultation with the school nurse, the Superintendent or designee may establish a routine screening program to help prevent the spread of head lice.
School employees shall report all suspected cases of head lice to the school nurse or designee as soon as possible. The nurse or designee shall examine the student and other students who are siblings of the affected student or members of the same household.
If a student is found with active, adult head lice, he/she shall be excluded from attendance. The parent/guardian of an excluded student shall receive information about recommended treatment procedures and sources of further information. The student shall be allowed to return to school the next day and shall be checked by the nurse or designee before returning to class. Once he/she is determined to be free of lice, the student shall be rechecked weekly for up to six weeks.
The Superintendent or designee shall send home the notification required by law for excluded students.
The principal and school nurse shall work with the parents/guardians of any student who has been deemed to be a chronic head lice case in order to help minimize the student's absences from school.
When two or more students in any class have been identified as having a head lice infestation, all students in the class shall be examined. In consultation with the school nurse, the principal may also send information about head lice home to all parents/guardians of the students in that class.
Staff shall maintain the privacy of students identified as having head lice and excluded from attendance.
Source: Burbank USD Board Policy
How should the school or SARB deal with absences due to lice infections? Although stressful to deal with, head lice do not transmit disease to humans. Head lice policies in schools traditionally have emphasized that a pupil infested with head lice should be excluded from school and not able to return to school until no nits (lice eggs) were found in their hair (a “no-nit” policy). However, there is no evidence that a no-nit policy prevents or shortens lengths of outbreaks (Pollack et al., 2000, Williams et al., 2001). The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all oppose classic no-nit policies. In light of current research, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends a no-lice policy.
The above information is provided in 2012 guidelines for schools from the CDPH in developing policies and procedures for the care of head lice cases. The Department recommends an active educational campaign for parents on the accurate diagnosis and correct treatment of head lice cases to prevent lice transmission in schools and reduce lost school days due to head lice.
The CDPH website http://www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/discond/Pages/Headlice.aspx provides information on the essential components of a no-lice policy, and on the description, detection, environmental control, and treatment of head lice, as well as a list of references and a link to the parent brochure “A Parent’s Guide to Head Lice”.
In most cases, pupils with head lice are treated in a timely manner by their caregivers and are able to return to school in 1 to 2 days. Therefore, a school district may develop a policy limiting excused absences for head lice to 3 days. However, head lice infestations in some pupils can develop into a chronic state, lasting for weeks or months. A chronic case is a pupil found infested with live lice during three separate months during a school year or for six consecutive weeks. Head lice infestations do not always start in school. According to the CDPH, pupils are less likely to contract head lice at school than they are in the home environment, where they may share beds or have close contact with siblings and playmates.
Caregivers frequently report great stress and express anger in trying to adequately treat their pupil’s chronic lice, and all family members may suffer embarrassment. Ideally, a School Attendance Review Team member or other trained school employee could intervene with the family of a student experiencing repeated lice episodes by providing education, assistance, and support to prevent a chronic 58 condition. When reported to SARB for excessive absences due to head lice, the SARB can help pupils and their families find possible solutions.
Source: Glendale USD Handbook
Getting a notification that your child has head lice is never welcome news, but it shouldn‘t cause undue stress or hardship. LiceDoctors is available from early morning until late at night to treat your family so that you can send your kids back to school with confidence that they will be admitted. Call today at 310-923-9787 for same day service in your area.