Updated on April 14, 2017
Each district in Essex County is responsible for devising its own school lice policy. Some districts retain "no nit" policies in which students with eggs in their hair may not return to school until all of the nits are removed. Many other districts, in keeping with recommendations from key medical associations, have modified their school head lice policies and now allow students with nits to enter school. Following is a listing of school districts and their respective head lice policies:
South Orange-Maplewood School District
Schools in South Orange-Maplewood have dropped their "no nit" lice policies. Students with live lice will not be allowed in school but children can come back to school with nits once the child has been treated. The South Orange-Maplewood School District derives its lice policy from advice from key medical groups including the American Pediatric Society and the National Association of School Nurses. According to Judy LoBianco, Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Nursing Services South Orange-Maplewood School District, "The nurse, of course, will check the student before they are sent to their classroom, but if live lice is in the head, they get sent back home. It is a very, very uncomfortable, awful thing to go through as a parent and our district nurses do their best to give parents the very best information, resources, advice and support that they can." More resources: patch.com
Millburn Public School District
Millburn School District has also eliminated its "no nit" policy and now allows students with nits to come to school. Students with live lice are restricted from school.
Montclair Public School District
Montclair Public Schools have also done away with their "no nit" policy. According to Dr. Barbara Weller, principal at Charles H. Bullock Elementary School in Montclair, "kids with lice are sent home for treatment. The nurse checks them upon return." More resources: patch.com
Livingston Public Schools
As with the aforementioned districts, Livingston schools permit kids with nits but not with live bugs. Following is the district's policy as stated on the web site, "Head lice do not transmit disease to humans. Traditionally, head lice guidelines in schools utilized a “no-nit policy”, whereby children infested with head lice were excluded from school until their hair was found to be free from nits. 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 (2002), The National Association of School Nurses (2011), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are all opponents of classical no-nit policies. If your child is found to have head lice, the school nurse must be notified. The nurse will then provide parents/caregivers with educational material on head lice and discuss the importance of proper treatment... Classroom or school-wide notification is NOT recommended after head lice have been detected in a single student. If more than one child from the same class is found to have head lice, the entire classroom will be checked. If the classroom screening results in even more cases, the entire grade level will be checked. Whenever the classroom or grade level is checked for head lice, an informative letter will be sent home to the families in the affected classrooms. A common mistake is to assume that the presence of nits is proof of active infestation. Nits are tiny, whitish, sesame seed-shaped specks stuck to the hair shaft. Unless manually removed or trimmed, nits will remain glued to the hair shaft for weeks or even months after an infestation has been successfully treated. This is the reason why “no-nit” policies are a thing of the past." More resources: www.livingston.org
Caldwell-West Caldwell Public Schools
This district also adheres to the recommendations of the key medical groups mentioned before. There is not a "no nit" policy in place. Following is the district head lice policy: "The following protocol for dealing with Pediculosis Capitis (head lice) in our schools is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- When a probable case of head lice is reported, the person must be checked by the school nurse. The siblings and close contacts must also be checked. All those found to have live lice will be excluded from school.
- When a case of lice is detected, the parent/guardian must be notified and advised to check with the family doctor to obtain necessary treatment.
- After treatment, the student(s) must report to the school nurse for evaluation.
- All students with positively identified cases of pediculosis must be re-checked by the school nurse after 10-14 days.
Please note: Large-scale notifications of entire classes are generally not made. Only students known to have had close contact with positively identified cases of pediculosis are notified by the school.mClassroom or school-wide screenings are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Their analysis of pediculosis (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/2/392.full) concludes with the following statement: 'Because of the lack of evidence of efficacy, routine classroom or school-wide screening should be discouraged.'" More resources: www.cwcboe.org National Association of School Nurses statement on pediculosis: www.nasn.org CDC (www.cdc.gov) American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org).
Verona Public School District
The Verona public schools still have a "no nit" policy. "In Verona, the public schools will send home any child found to have active lice and not allow him back into class until he can show proof of being nit-free. It is then up to the individual school principals to decide whether the child’s entire class or grade needs to be checked, and what further measures to implement." More resources: www.myveronanj.com
West Orange Public School District
Like the Verona schools, schools in West Orange maintain a "no nit" policy. "PEDICULOSIS (Head Lice) Head lice is a condition that can occur at any time to anyone. It is most important to treat the problem of head lice quickly because delays will only spread the infestation throughout your family and to others. If anyone in your family has head lice or comes in contact with someone who does, notify the school nurse immediately. Your child will be excluded from school until all the head lice and nits (eggs) are removed from the head. The school nurse will inspect excluded students prior to their re-entry into school. If your child has had head lice, check their hair every day for at least two weeks. A periodic check of all family members is also recommended. Encourage your child not to share combs, brushes, or hats with others." Please note that to be sure you're familiar with your district's most up-to-date policy regarding head lice, LiceDoctors recommends that you call your local school nurse.