Whereas many school districts across the country are moving away from “no nit” school lice policies, which prohibit children with lice eggs from entering school, some schools in the Panhandle region of Florida retain “no nit” policies. The National Pediculosis Association in Cambridge, MA advocates that schools retain their “no nit” policies, while other key medical associations like the American Association of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control believe that this policy is not necessary. They argue that by the time a child is diagnosed, he or she has had ample time to spread the lice and that nits are not contagious. The “no nit” simply forces kids to miss too much school, according to these organizations. Other schools in the Panhandle region have modified their lice policies in accordance with the latter recommendations.
According to the Escambia schools’ website, “Students with a live louse and/or nits one-quarter (1⁄4) inch from the scalp will be temporarily excluded from school for parents/guardians to perform head lice treatment. Treatment should be completed at home, and the student must return to the school clinic for clearance before returning to the classroom. If needed, one (1) day of absence will be excused to complete treatment.
This plan is enforced to keep students in school and free of head lice. Students will be temporarily excluded from school for parents/guardians to perform head lice treatment. When treatment is completed, students must return to the school clinic for clearance before returning to the classroom. If needed, one (1) day of absence will be excused to complete treatment.”
Pensacola School District
Pensacola schools have the same policy as the Escambia schools. “Any child with live head lice or units less than 1⁄4 inch from the scalp will be excluded from school until the child has been treated and there are no longer signs of active lice (live lice or nits less than 1⁄4 inch from scalp). Prior to being readmitted to school, the Parent or Guardian must bring the child to school to verify treatment and the child will be re-checked by designated school personnel (with parent present).
Santa Rosa County
Santa Rosa schools, on the other hand, still maintain a “no nit” policy as stated,
“School Board Policies 4.5036 and 5.5033, for head lice infestation:
A student who has been sent home with head lice and/or nits should return to school, free of head lice and/or nits, within 3 (three) calendar days; absences from school during the three calendar days will be excused. For each occurrence of head lice and/or nits, absences beyond 3 (three) calendar days will be unexcused.
- Teacher or school personnel will identify student showing head lice/nit symptoms (continuous itching, presence of nits or lice).
- School personnel will refer student with head lice/nit symptoms to School Health Technician.
- School Health Technician will examine the student to determine if head lice/nits are present.
- If head lice/nits are present student will be removed from class. Parent/guardian of student will be notified and will be responsible to pick student up from school and begin treatment for removal of head lice/nits.
- If head lice/nits are not present student may return to class.
- Following a positive check, the student may not return to class or school
until they have been cleared by the onsite School Health Technician or
School Health Nurse.
- Students testing positive are not permitted to ride bus until cleared.
*Do not send out forms or documentation regarding head lice/nits unless you have documented approval from your school administration or designee! Refer to Communicable Disease School Manual for Lice Fact Sheet to be distributed in the School Health Clinic.
Like Santa Rosa County, Leon County schools also maintain a “no nit” policy.
“Whenever a student is found to be infested with head lice or is found to have nits, the parents shall be notified. The parents will be provided with directions for treatment of head lice and of District procedures related to head lice. The student will be sent home for treatment and not readmitted until the parent completes Form 8450A F3 and it is confirmed that the child is free of any head lice and nits after examination in a private setting by school personnel and/or school health room personnel hired by the local health department. After clearance by school personnel or school health room personnel hired by the local health department, the student will be allowed to return to class.
The necessary treatment is contained in Form 8450A F1 which is to be sent to the parent along with the cover letter (Form 8450A F2).
The other students in the infested student’s classroom and the student’s sibling(s) should be examined in a private setting for evidence of either the lice or lice eggs (nits) only if symptoms of a head lice infection are identified or if one-third (1/3) of the students in the classroom have been previously identified with active cases. The examinations should be done by each student’s parents; the school nurse or school health room staff, if available; the school staff designated by the principal to provide school health room services; and/or the school principal or designee.
In the event that one-third (1/3) of the students in a classroom are identified with active cases of head lice, then the Principal shall send home Form 8450A F1 and Form 8450A F4 to notify parents of the situation.
There are a few other conditions for which students must be sent home: head lice, persistent diarrhea, rashes of unknown, etc. Leon County Schools has a NO NIT policy. If your child has head lice, he/she must be treated and all nits must be removed before your child may return to school. You must bring your child to the Clinic to be checked before he/she can return to class (please do not send them on the bus).”
Holmes County Schools
Holmes County Schools also have a “no nit” policy in effect. All students “positive for nits or head lice the student shall be sent home”.