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Des Moines School Lice Policy

Des Moines School Lice Policy
Updated on 
March 27, 2017

According to Iowa Public Schools, the Iowa Dept. of Public Health states that one of the "best preventatives for lice outbreaks is early detection by alert parents. Parents should assume that lice are present where children are, and therefore should screen their own children on a weekly basis. If your child does come into contact with head lice, please notify the school nurse." More information: boone.k12.ia.us

Des Moines Public Schools

Des Moines Public Schools also follow the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health and does not continue to have a "no nit" policy in place. "The Des Moines Public Schools have adopted treatment guidelines for managing head lice developed by the Iowa Department of Education Public Health. Our district is sensitive to the hardship that managing head lice in families presents and weighs the risk of spreading head lice in schools (which with simple precautions is relatively low) against the sure detriment to student learning that results from school exclusion. To keep the incidence of head lice from being transmitted, parents are asked to check all family members for head lice regularly and to treat those found to have live lice or new eggs. Children found to have head lice should be treated before returning to school. Parents are asked to notify the school nurse so that the incidence of lice in the school can be monitored and action taken if a rise in incidence is noted. If you have questions about the district’s Head Lice guidelines or need assistance in the treatment of lice, please contact your School Nurse."

Waukee Schools

Students in the Waukee area are allowed to remain in school on the day they are diagnosed with lice. They are sent home and need to be treated and will be allowed to return to school following initial treatment. This protocol abides by the most recent suggestions of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses. These leading medical associations state that children who still have nits, but have been treated, be allowed to return to school. The district accepts the rationale that the risks associated with missed days of school and social stigma outweigh the risks of catching lice from a classmate post-diagnosis. Families of other students in the Waukee schools are not notified when a case is uncovered at school.

West Des Moines Schools

Students gathered around the teacher - LiceDoctors

Schools in West Des Moines no longer have a "no nit" policy and allow students to remain in school for the day and then be sent home to be treated. After lice removal treatment, they may return to school. Below is the policy: "The incidence of head lice (pediculosis) has been increasing over the last few years. The Iowa Department of Public Health has identified this as a community-based problem. The resistance of lice to many of the current over-the-counter medications has added to this problem. Individual class notification of head lice is no longer necessary because parents should assume there is head lice at school at all times. Weekly checking for head lice as part of your child’s routine hygiene care, must become the parent’s responsibility. Due to the large ratio of students per school nurse, parents are able to do a much more thorough and effective job of examining their child’s head. Our school nurse or her assistant will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding identification and treatment of head lice. While head lice are an extreme nuisance, it is very important for parents to understand that head lice do not pose any health hazards."

Polk City Schools

Consistent with the above-mentioned schools, schools in Polk City have dropped "no nit" policies and allow children to return to school after being treated. See below: "The regulations set by the Iowa Department of Public Health are the guidelines used to determine exclusion and re-admittance of students with communicable diseases. Head lice is a concern seen each year. Please observe your child’s head for lice. If your child does contract head lice, please notify the school nurse, who can help you with treatment protocol. Parents should assume that lice are present where children are, and should screen their own children on a weekly basis. If head lice are detected, an information packet for treatment will be sent home and parents will be notified. One of the best preventatives for lice outbreaks is early detection by alert parents and staff members."

Ames Iowa

Schools in Ames also maintain "no nit" policies and stress prevention and education. "With school in session, we are once again faced with dealing with the issue of head lice. The Department of Health recommends that parents screen their children for lice weekly during the school year. This approach recognizes that parents can screen their children more thoroughly and frequently than in the school setting. This quicker recognition of lice provides the opportunity for prompt treatment, resulting in minimal or no absence from school. Though school screenings are well intended, they are generally ineffective. Parent should assume that lice are present in the schools all year."  LiceDoctors is pleased to see that schools in the Des Moines area emphasize education and vigilance regarding checking for head lice. Keep up with your school nurse to be sure that there are no changes in your child's school lice policy. If you find lice in your child, call 515-650-2678 in Des Moines and all surrounding areas and we will help you today.

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