Many schools in the Fort Worth area have dropped their “no nit” policies as per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School. According to these organizations evidence supports that exclusion from school for nits alone is not necessary. Because nits are not contagious and because students are usually in school for a few weeks before being diagnosed, these organizations recommend that students with nits be allowed to remain in school. The goal is to reduce the number of missed school days due to head lice and nits. Following are the lice policies in school districts in and around Fort Worth.
Fort Worth schools allow students to return to school after treatment. The district does not have a "no nit" policy. The district web site suggestions are general as follows: "Treatment is recommended -Teach importance of not sharing combs, brushes, hats, and coats -Check household contacts for evidence of infestation". More information: www.dshs.state.tx.us
Arlington Public Schools
In Arlington schools, children must be treated and then checked by the school nurse in order to be admitted to school. "Pediculosis or lice infestation is a continuing problem in institutions where large numbers of children are in close contact. The type most seen in public schools is head lice. Itching of the scalp, especially at the base of the skull and over the ears is the most easily recognized symptom. However, the nits (eggs) may be attached without the knowledge of the victim. The nit is tiny and attached to the hair shaft. Lice are insects and are treatable with a wide variety of chemical and non- chemical products. Please check with your pharmacist or physician for advice. Nits will not rinse off after treatment and must be ‘nit-picked’ to remove. It is possible for lice to live in upholstery and bedding for a while but the human host is necessary to their survival. Re-infestations can occur very easily. After treatment, all clothing and bedding should be washed in hot soapy water. Combs and brushes may be soaked in hot water for 10 minutes. Vacuuming is the safest and best way to control lice on mattresses, rugs, furniture and stuffed animals. Regular checking is the best prevention. When you find a case of lice, notify school and your friends. Your child will be re-admitted to class after checking with your nurse." More information: www.aisd.net
As with the aforementioned districts, the Azle district requires students to be lice-free and checked by the nurse to be readmitted to school. "LICE: A student infected may not return to school until they have been treated and are free of lice. Examination by the nurse is required before re-entering school." More information: www.azleisd.net
Keller School District
Keller schools also allow students to return to schools following treatment provided that there are no live lice. "Communicable Diseases/Conditions To protect other students from contagious illnesses, students infected with certain diseases are not allowed to come to school while contagious. Parents of a student with a communicable or contagious disease should phone the campus nurse or principal so that other students who might have been exposed to the disease can be alerted. The more common of these diseases include, but are not limited to the following: Head lice, although not an illness or a disease, is very common among children and is spread very easily through head-to-head contact during play, sports, or nap time and when children share things like brushes, combs, hats, and headphones. If careful observation indicates that a student has head lice, the school nurse will contact the student’s parent to determine whether the child will need to be picked up from school and to discuss a plan for treatment with an FDA-approved medicated shampoo or cream rinse that may be purchased from any drug or grocery store. After the student has undergone one treatment, the parent should check in with the school nurse to discuss the treatment used. The nurse can also offer additional recommendations, including subsequent treatments and how best to get rid of lice and prevent their return." More information: www.kellerisd.net
Denton Public Schools Lice Policy
While Denton schools do not have an absolute “no nit” policy, students with active lice or nits close to the scalp will be excluded from school. The policy is explained as, “Exclusion Protocol: By Texas law, students who have evidence of active pediculosis (the presence of live adult or nymph lice, and/or nits that are visibly noted to be closer than ¼ inch to the scalp) will be excluded from school that day so that treatment may begin as quickly as possible. Students may remain in the classroom until parents can pick the child up; the classroom teacher can monitor close contact (head to head) with other children until that time. If a student is unable to be picked up until the end of the day, the nurse will make contact with whomever is taking the child home to address the issue of minimizing close contact with other children and to ensure that the parent letter is passed on. The nurse will also contact the school RN for any school-age siblings/others who live in the home so those students may also be assessed. Students who have signs of past infestations or previously treated infestations (presence of nits that are farther away from the scalp than ¼ inch with no evidence of live lice) do not have to be excluded from school. The nurse will notify the parent/guardian of her assessment and provide them with information on the removal of nits. Our exclusion protocol is designed to protect the integrity of the school day, and to minimize embarrassment and unnecessary isolation of students with pediculosis. It is founded on evidence-based practice and recommendations from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Readmission Criteria: Students who have been excluded from school for active pediculosis must be examined by the school RN prior to readmission to the classroom. The nurse will assess for efficacy of treatment and will readmit the student to the classroom when no signs of active pediculosis are present. Students who have nits that are all farther than ¼ inch from the scalp and no signs of active pediculosis must show daily signs of progress being made in nits removal to remain in class. No treatment protocol is 100% effective to prevent reinfestation, and it is difficult to monitor what treatments have actually taken place in the home. Daily progress in removal of nits is an assurance that the condition is being monitored and cared for, and a protective measure to minimize the chance of exposure to other students. The school nurse will check the student at least twice each week to determine level of progress, and communicate with the parents the results of her assessment.”
Northwest Independent School District Head Lice Policy
Consistent with the aforementioned school districts, Northwest ISD does not have a “no nit” policy. The policy is stated as, “We have a “no lice” policy – Children with live lice must go home but can return as soon as they have been treated. Children with nits can be in school, but we encourage parents to continue to work with their child to remove all the nits.” More information: www.nisdtx.org
Lewisville schools' policy is consistent with the above policies. "LISD policy on Head Lice: Students attending school with live lice identified within the scalp and hair will be sent home. Readmission will be allowed once treatment has been completed. Your school nurse can help you with additional information on lice and treatment." More information: www.lisd.net Schools in the Fort Worth area have a very uniform approach to their lice policies. Children with lice will be sent home to be treated and will be readmitted as there are no live bugs. None of these districts has a "no nit" policy.