Updated on April 14, 2017
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, There is a legal basis for excluding and readmitting children to school in relation to specified diseases and infectious conditions. Provision "27.71 (11) specifically relates to Pediculosis humanis capitis (head lice) and provides for exclusion of students from school (public, private, parochial, Sunday, or other school or college or preschool) who have been diagnosed by a physician or are suspected of having Pediculosis by the school nurse. Exclusion from school is for the period of time until the student is judged noninfectious by the school nurse or by the child’s physician. Provision 27.72 provides for exclusion from school of pupils showing symptoms judged noninfectious. Provision 27.73 provides for readmission to school if the nurse is satisfied that the live infestation is noncommunicable, or when the child presents a certificate of noninfectiousness from a physician." The Pennsylvania Department of Education goes onto suggest that to control lice infestations at school, "When lice are discovered in a classroom, all children should be inspected for active lice. All members of the family of any child found with head lice also need to be checked for lice activity. Some school districts will adopt a “no nit” policy and not allow students back into the classroom with any nits remaining on the hair. Unless the problem is addressed at home, an infestation may recur. Because of increased resistance to prescription and nonprescription treatments, head lice have become more difficult to manage, leading to more pressure on schools to provide treatments. However, schools should not be sprayed to control head lice." Two points are worthy of mention 1. It is up to the individual school district to establish their own lice policies and 2. It is important to note that the Pennsylvania Department of Education is aware of the fact that lice have become resistant to prescription and nonprescription treatments. That is why it is so difficult to treat head lice on your own and why LiceDoctors can be so effective in helping you get rid of your lice infestation. Related Links: Pennsylvania Department of Education Pennsylvania Department of Health National Pediculosis Association
Easton Public Schools Lice Policy
While many school districts in Pennsylvania have opted to eliminate "no nit" policies, which prohibit children from returning to school with lice eggs, Easton public schools retain that strict head lice policy. The district states unequivocally that, "The student must be "lice free" and "nit free" to attend school. When a possible case of head lice (live or nits) has been reported, the following procedure will be followed: The student will be sent to the school nurse and assessed immediately. If live lice or nits are found, siblings in the school/district will be examined.The school nurse will call the parents of the infested child and explain exclusion of the child from school and treatment.The nurse will review the following information with the parent: Assist parent to recognize lice/nits, Give written information of how to care for child and environment--including "no nits" policy, parent/adult must bring student to school upon return, etc., Give letter from principal regarding "two-day excused absence"...Upon return of the child to school, they will be brought by the parent/ adult to the school nurse to be examined. If the child is free of live lice and nits they will be re-admitted to school. If the child has live lice or nits, they will be excluded with the present adult and instructions will be reviewed. The child may be periodically checked in school over the next several weeks for re-infestation. Parents should be rechecking the child also. If live lice or nits are found, the child's class/contacts will be screened, as necessary, as soon as possible. If the number of head lice cases reaches 20% of an individual classroom or school, the school nurse will notify the principal. The principal will notify parents of the outbreak with an informational letter and corrective actions. This procedure may be modified at the intermediate and secondary levels at the discretion of the school nurse and principal." Related link: Easton Public Schools Lice Policy
Salisbury Township Schools
Schools in Salisbury Township like those in Easton maintain a "no nit" school lice policy. The district says, "Pediculosis (Lice): A child will be excluded from school if it is suspected that he/she has a communicable condition Until treated with an appropriate shampoo, and all nits ( eggs ) are removed. No physican note needed for re-entry to school. However, student must be examined by health room staff before returning to class or riding the bus to school." Related link: Salisbury Township Schools Lice Policy
Allentown and Bethlehem Schools
Recently both Allentown and Bethlehem, PA school districts discontinued their “no nit” policies. The schools have heeded the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that stipulates that there is no basis for children to miss school because of lice and asking schools to discard their no-nit policies. The AAP states that “head lice cause no medical harm, are not a health hazard or a sign of poor hygiene and are not responsible for the spread of any disease. No healthy child should be excluded from or miss school because of head lice,” the report says.“lice found on combs are likely to be injured or dead.” Related link: Allentown and Bethlehem Schools As you can see, lice policies vary among districts. Please check with your local school nurse to be sure that you are fully aware of your district's most recent school lice policy.