Updated on December 4, 2017
Many districts in Northwest Arkansas adhere to the most recent lice policy recommendations from the CDC. Guidelines follow:
“Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.
Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that "no-nit" policies should be discontinued. "No-nit" policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:
• Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as 'casings'.
• Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
• The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
• Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.
The informational materials on this web site are in the public domain and can be printed for further copying and distribution.” (Source CDC.gov website)
Head Lice Procedures
“In 2007, international guidelines established for effective control of head lice infestations reinforced that policies that require a student to be free of nits to attend school are based on misinformation rather than objective science and should be discontinued.
Based on the scientific evidence regarding pediculosis in the school setting, the following procedures and guidelines will be implemented in Bentonville Public Schools. The previous no-nit procedure will be discontinued, and scientific evidence will guide the school nurse (Registered Nurse) in the appropriate evidence-based practices that reduce stigma associated with head lice, and work to increase classroom time by reducing unnecessary absenteeism related to head lice, while managing the occurrences of pediculosis in the school setting.
- If a student is suspected of lice infestation, a referral will be made to the school nurse for a private examination of that student.
- The student’s identify will always remain confidential.
- Students will not be identified to other students or staff members, except those directly involved in that student’s care.
- It is not necessary to send home letters to an entire classroom for a case of head lice in a classroom.
PROCEDURE FOR STUDENT EXAMINATION
- The school nurse will assemble to following equipment in a well-lit, private screening area:
- Disposable applicators
- Non-sterile gloves
- The student’s head will be tilted forward with and the examination will begin at the nape of the neck forward as the hair is separated.
- Areas around the ears and crown will be examined.
- Live lice move quickly to avoid light; nits adhere to the hair shaft.
- Look for signs of secondary infection or lesions related to scratching.
- If signs of lice infestation are present, presence of LIVE LICE (nymph or adult louse), the parent/guardian will be contacted to pick up student related to live human host parasites that might be transmittable in the school environment.
- If no live lice are detected, but nits (eggs) are noted attached firmly within 1/4 inch of the base of the hair shaft, an infestation might be suspected and the parent notified by letter. The child should not be excluded from school with only the presence of nits.
- The BPS Head Lice Letter will be given to the parent/guardian of the student found to have evidence of active lice infestation.
- Information will be provided to the parent by the school nurse, for appropriate treatment of student as well as household members, with instructions for intervention in the home.
- The school nurse may screen siblings or close contacts of a student with live lice.
- The parent will be required to return with the student after treatment is accomplished, preferably
- within 24 hours. Student may bring a signed notice from a healthcare professional stating child is free of live bugs in lieu of parent escort. Although store-bought or doctor prescribed lice-killing treatments are strongly recommended for use, they are not mandatory. Parent will inform school nurse of treatment used.
- The school nurse will re-examine the student for the presence of live lice after treatment. Once determined the student no longer has live lice, the student will be readmitted to class.
- Students will NOT be excluded for the presence of nits (eggs) only.
- The school nurse will direct the decision for further screenings.
- Evidence of an outbreak in a classroom might include three or more students with no close contact except at school, within a consecutive 2-week period.
- Mass or classroom screenings or mass head lice notification letters are strongly discouraged!
- The school nurse, along with their administrator will decide to mass screen or send mass notification on a case by case basis.
- The building administrator and/or health services coordinator will be advised of the medical findings by the school nurse and the medical recommendations for follow-up.
- If a student has repetitive infestations of head lice, the school nurse will consult the BPS SocialServices Department for assessment of further needs within the home.” (Source Edline.net)
Van Buren Schools
This school district does not follow the aforementioned recommendations; unlike schools in Bentonville, Van Buren schools retain a “No Nit” Policy.
“Head Lice: Our district policy expects that all students will be lice free to attend school. You will be notified by phone or in writing if lice are found. Your child may return to school as soon as he/she is free of lice.” (Source Van Buren school district)
“Schools are to notify parents by letter or phone if your child has a case of head lice. If you receive a letter, check your child's head right away. Keep checking every two days until no head lice or nets are found for 10 days in a row. If head lice is found on your child's head keep the child at home until properly treated. Remember headlight has nothing to do with cleanliness of the house or parenting skills. Begin treatment as soon as possible. Check everyone in the household and treat anyone that has had lice or nets. Continue to check every one for three weeks to avoid getting head lice again.” (Source Fayetville Public Schools)
This school district sends the below letter out to parents:
On February 20, 1996, the Rogers School Board approved a “No Nit” Guideline concerning headlice. The guideline is as follows:
“NO NIT GUIDELINE”
Before a child who has been observed as having headlice can be readmitted to school, he or she must have been treated with an approved shampoo and all nits removed. The student must be readmitted through the building principal, school nurse, or designee. (A proof of treatment is required. The proof may be the shampoo packaging, a note from the parent, or a note from a physician.)
Formerly, a student observed as having headlice was readmitted to school when the student presented proof of treatment. The removal of all nits was not previously required. With the approval of the new guideline, the district hopes to halt the spread of headlice.
Thank-you for your cooperation in this matter. If you have any questions, please contact the school nurse at __________________________.
If you find head lice in your child and want to be sure that he or she is admitted to school the next day, give LiceDoctors a call in the Fayetteville area at 800-224-2537. We offer a full guarantee that our treatment will safely and effectively eradicate your head lice.