Updated on April 14, 2017
Schools Bergen County
Some schools in Bergen County and Hudson County allow students to return to school with nits after they have been treated, while others have “no nit” policies. Key medical organizations have recommended that students be allowed to return with lice eggs because they were missing too much school for a condition that these organizations consider to be a nuisance but not a health hazard.
The following schools allow students with nits (lice eggs) to return to school after treatment.
Ridgewood Public Schools Head Lice Policy
Ridgewood schools changed their lice policy a few years ago and now allow students into school with nits. The following policy is in place:
- “Mass screenings are not done
- Students must be treated if lice or nits found
- May return once treated
- Head check upon return to school
- We do NOT have a “no nit policy”
- Policy based on American Academy of Pediatrics
- Remember: Checking for lice is a parent responsibility!
What does the AAP Say About Head Lice?
- “Screening for nits alone is not an accurate way of predicting which children will become infested, and screening for live lice has not been proven to have a significant effect on the incidence of head lice in a school community over time.”
- “Several descriptive studies suggest that education of parents in diagnosing and managing head lice may be helpful. Because of the lack of evidence of efficacy, classroom or school-wide screening should be strongly discouraged.”
- “Parents should be encouraged to check their children’s heads for lice if the child is symptomatic; school screenings do not take the place of these more careful checks. It may be helpful for the school nurse or other trained persons to check a student’s head if he or she is demonstrating symptoms.”
- “No healthy child should be excluded from or allowed to miss school time because of head lice. ‘No nit’ policies for return to school should be discouraged.”
More resources: ridgewood.wes.schoolfusion.us
Fair Lawn Public Schools
Fair Lawn school districts also permit students with nits and/or lice to attend class.
“Parents should inspect your child weekly throughout the school year for the presence of head lice would be greatly appreciated. If you suspect your child is infested with head lice please notify the school.”
More resources: fairlawn.schoolwires.net
Glen Rock Public Schools
In Glen Rock schools, if nits remain after treatment, students are permitted to return to school, according to the district web site. The school district procedure states that “screening for nits alone is not an accurate method of predicting which children will become infested, and screening for live lice has not been proven to have a significant effect on the incidence of head lice in a school community over time.
Children found with live head lice should be referred to parents for treatment. Data does not support school exclusion for nits…
The district’s lice procedure was derived from recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) that “the treatment of pediculosis should not disrupt the education process.”
More resources: health-services.glenrocknj.org
Mahwah schools do no have a “no nit” policy in place. “According to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and under the directive of Everett Schlam, Mahwah School District Physician, the following will stand as the recommended procedure in the case of pediculosis (head lice):
Head lice are a common problem among school age children but are not a health hazard or a sign of uncleanliness and are not responsible for the spread of any disease. For this reason, the Mahwah School District, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics, no longer recommends immediate exclusion from school for head lice and “no-nit” policies. No healthy child will be excluded or allowed to miss school time because of head lice.
Head Lice do not jump or fly, and can only crawl short distances. The usual mode of transmission is through direct head to head contact. Transmission via clothing, hats, furniture and other objects can occur but the likelihood is low because head lice can only live off the host for one to two days. By the time head lice are detectable, they most likely have been living on the host for at least a month therefore immediate exclusion at the time of detection does nothing to control an outbreak, is not medically warranted, and deprives students of valuable education time.
Based on scientific research and the best evidence-based management and treatment options, the school nurse will conduct screenings as needed, of students suspected of lice infestation. Students found to have an infestation will be allowed to remain in school until the end of the school day. The school nurse will notify and give parents information regarding treatment options and encourage them to contact their pediatrician for further guidance. The nurse is also a resource of information regarding the care of items that the student may have come in contact with at home. Additional students may be screened at the discretion of the school nurse. Siblings of student will also be checked, and other schools notified as needed.
The infested child will be allowed to return to school after the first treatment. The child must be inspected by the school nurse prior to re-entry to assure that the treatment has been successfully completed. The child will then be re-checked by the school nurse in 10 to 14 days to assure re-infestation has not occurred.
Should multiple cases of pediculosis be noted in any grade level, the nurse will consult with the school principal and letters will be sent home to parents at their discretion.
If you suspect your child has head lice, please notify the school nurse. In addition, the entire family should be inspected for head lice as well. For information on how to treat your child’s head lice infestation consult your family physician, a local pharmacist, or visit the web site http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head/treatment.html#”
More resources: www.mahwah.k12.nj.us
The following schools have “no nit” policies and do not allow students with nits to return to school until all clear:
Teaneck Public Schools
“From time to time a student will come to school with head lice. Head lice are highly contagious! If your child has head lice, he/she cannot be permitted to attend classes until checked by the School Nurse. We have a “no nit” policy! Please call the nurse if you have any questions.”
Paramus School District
Like Teaneck schools, Paramus schools have a “no nit” policy in place.
“Because education is the key to controlling head lice, an information package shall be developed for annual distribution to parents and teachers.
The information package shall:
- Include basic information about head lice.
- Include basic information about the identification of head lice.
- Include information on treatments for head lice.
- Alert parents to the fact that pediculicides may no longer be 100% effective.
- Warn parents against overusing pediculicides.
- Clearly outline school policy – No Nit Policy.
- List which treatments to avoid.
- Stress the importance of regular head louse checks by the parent.
- Spell out school pick-up and return policies for an infested child.
The school may maintain other informational resources on head lice, which may include books, videos, articles and a display of lice removal products.
The Role of the School Nurse
The school nurse shall:
A. Be responsible for the assembly and maintenance of a packet detailing information on the identification and treatment of pediculosis (head lice). The school nurse shall review the information packet annually and update it as necessary. The information packet shall be distributed at the start of each school year to every parent and teacher. Extra copies shall be available in the nurse’s office upon request.
B. Be responsible for training the school staff on the identification of head lice infestation and reporting protocol for classroom outbreaks.
C. Provide informational programs to the students as necessary and/or required. Students may be taught the symptoms of head lice, what head lice and their nits look, how head lice spread and what they themselves can do to minimize their chances of getting head lice.
D. Be responsible for the examination of suspected cases of head lice. If the school nurse confirms a case of head lice, the school nurse shall then thoroughly check every child in the classroom, and any siblings in the school. If a sibling attends a different school, that school nurse should be alerted.
E. Check everyone in the class when a student is identified as having head lice, including the teacher, weekly over the next four weeks. Parents of all exposed students shall be notified of the outbreak and given information on identifying signs of an infestation and instructions for checking their child daily for a month.
F. Be responsible for the notification of the parents/guardians of students identified as having head lice and making the appropriate pickup arrangements.
G. Act as a liaison to the parents/guardians by providing information and coordinating the readmission of the student following successful treatment.
H. Coordinate and supervise the classroom response to all head lice outbreaks affecting the school community.
During an Outbreak
- The school nurse shall check the heads of everyone in the class.
- The school nurse shall check everyone who has been exposed, weekly for four weeks.
- The school nurse and classroom teacher shall monitor infested students and theirs siblings in attendance at the school carefully for four weeks.
- The school nurse shall advise and act as a resource for parents needing assistance with an infestation.
- The school nurse shall ensure parents have an up-to-date information packet.
- The classroom teaches shall distribute head lice alert notices including additional classroom instructions and requirements.
- The classroom teacher may recommend that anyone with long hair come to school with their hair in braids.
- The classroom teacher shall ensure that coats and hats are hung in separate cubbies or in bags.
- All staff shall restrict the sharing of brushes, headgear, pillows, bedding or costumes.
- Appropriate classroom and/or supports staff shall visually inspect and clean athletic headgear, protective head or eye gear, costumes, life vests and/or any school owned and shared personal items between uses.”
More resources: www.paramus.k12.nj.us
Westwood schools send students home if they have active ahead lice infestations.
“Student’s identified with Head Lice are excluded immediately and the parent/guardian is advised to contact the family. The student’s head will be inspected upon readmission by the school nurse and as needed thereafter.”
More resources: wwrsd.org/Page/6434
Hudson County School Lice Policies
Hoboken Public Schools
Hoboken schools allow students with nits to return to school ie they do not have to be “nit free” to return to school, although the district will send home kids who have a lot of nits. Following is the district lice policy:
“Lice and Nit Policy and Information Regarding Prevention and Removal
The presence of lice is a common occurrence in schools. It is important that schools and families reinforce prevention and appropriate ways to handle situations when they arise and remain calm. Lice do not pose a health hazard and are not a sign of poor hygiene. If parents respond with hysteria, children will follow suit. If a stigma is perpetuated, families will less likely inform us that their child has lice or nits which does not allow for us to take all precautionary steps to eliminate each case with urgency…
Prevention is essential. We take precautionary measures at school and hope that you will do so at home in addition to reinforcing what we teach at school regarding lice and nit prevention…
Lice Prevention at School
- We reinforce that students should not share hats, hair brushes, etc. and that they should keep their backpacks, coats and hats in their lockers rather than piling them up.
- Our custodian vacuums the building and washes the classrooms daily.
- Our nurse does a prevention workshop annually with each K-4 class.
- When a case is found in a class, we notify the families in the class that a case was found so families can be extra vigilant around checking their child’s head at home.
- When a case is found in a class, the school nurse checks the students in the class to
ensure that no other case exists.
- The school nurse may conduct periodic checks on the hair of students as an additional precautionary measure…
For the child to be readmitted to school, the child must first check in with the school nurse. There the nurse will check for nits. If there are live nits or enough nits that it is too time- consuming to check each, the child will be sent back home for the parents to continue the manual removal.”
More resources: www.hobokencs.org
Kearny School District
Like Hoboken, nurses will allow students in with a few nits. Children with a lot of nits will not be permitted into school. Following is the district policy:
“5310.1 HEAD LICE (PEDICULOSIS)
Pediculosis (head lice) is a communicable condition that can affect pupil populations. The goal of the Kearny Board of Education health department is to control the spread of head lice in the schools.
Pediculosis is an infestation of the hair or hairy parts of the body. Lice deposit larvae or nits on the scalp at the base of the hair follicles which cling to the strands of the hair. The distance from the scalp usually indicates the length of infestation based on the hair growth. Eggs hatch in seven days and the resultant lice are capable of reproducing in two weeks. Itching may be the first sign noted.
Pediculosis is transmitted by direct contact or fomites coming in contact with an infected person. It is communicable until lice and eggs are destroyed.
Procedure When Head Lice are Observed
When the school nurse finds lice or nits in a child’s hair, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) is notified by the nurse. The nurse explains what must be done to get rid of this nuisance disease. All children in the class as well as family contacts in any other classes in the school district are to be checked as soon as possible. After consultation with the Superintendent and Building Principal, a decision will be finalized on informing the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the children in the classroom.
Upon initial discovery of lice infestation (live or nits)
- Parent/Guardian will be notified to pick up pupil.
- The pupil will be excluded from school with instructions for proper treatment.
- Child’s classmates will be examined for presence of lice as soon as possible.
- The pupil may return to school following treatment and will report to nurse with proof of treatment (box top/label from special shampoo).
- The school nurse will check head to see if no (or few) nits are present, in order for child to be allowed to remain in school.
- If a significant amount of nits are still present, child will be excluded again for further treatment/combing.
- Instructions will be given for follow-up shampoo in ten days.
In extreme cases and when needed on pupil outbreaks, the school physician will be consulted.”
More resources: www.kearnyschools.com