Updated on April 14, 2017
It is up to each school district in the Mid Hudson Valley to determine its own school lice policy. Consistent with the trend seen across the country, increasingly schools are dropping their "no nit" policies and allowing children to return to school with nits as long as the child has been treated and there are no live bugs remaining in the hair. The trend was initiated by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses and and allows for children who still have nits, but have been treated, to return to school. Children with live lice will not be admitted to school. The policy states that “confirmed cases of head lice should be excluded from school until the day after the first treatment…Parent notification of potential lice exposure in the school setting shall be done per written information on an as-needed basis.”the rationale behind this trend is that officials felt that children were missing too much school from something that is not dangerous and in addition children have usually been in school already for a few weeks before the cases are identified.
Carmel School District
This district still maintains its "no nit" policy. This is a letter that is sent home to parents: "Dear Parents, Head Lice has been reported at school. To correct the enormous amount of misinformation about head lice, here are some important facts and tools that will help detect and combat lice if they should infest your child.... What are head lice?
- Head lice are tiny (like sesame seeds), wingless, bloodsucking insects that feed in the human scalp.
- Human lice are not found on household animals.
- They cannot live away from the human host longer than 20 hours in our climate.
- They do not fly or jump, but they do crawl at high speed.
- They infest people regardless of social and ethnic status.
- They are not an indication of poor hygiene or parental neglect.
How do I end head lice infestation? ...DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL IF YOU SUSPECT HEAD LICE. Please call the health office for any further help and information. If your child has been exposed to lice, please have them go directly to the health office to be checked before sending to class....Continue to check heads every day for 3-4 weeks to make sure head lice are gone. Regular checking is the best prevention. When you find a case of lice, tell others! Call your child’s school or daycare and notify neighbors and parents of your child’s playmates. You should not be ashamed to have head lice as ANYONE can get head lice. Let’s work together to STAY AHEAD of head lice!" More information: kes.carmelschools.org
Child must stay out of school until treated for head lice. More information: austin.mahopac.k12.ny.us
New Paltz Schools
New Paltz revised its lice policy on March 3, 2015. The new policy allows children with nits to stay in school once they have been treated. No longer does the district have a "no nit" policy. "The procedure for lice and nits for New Paltz Central Schools has changed. Students will no longer be required to remain out of school if they have nits (lice eggs). Students with head lice will continue to be required to remain out of school until they are lice-free. Those students who have been out of school due to head lice, will be examined for lice when they return to school and rechecked 14 days later to confirm that they remain free of lice. Head lice are most commonly found in children 3-12 years of age. Head lice do not pose a health hazard, transmit disease, nor serve as a sign of poor hygiene, child abuse or neglect. Nits are not equivalent to head lice, since nits cannot be transmitted from person to person, and therefore will no longer result in school exclusion. Head lice, move by crawling. They cannot jump or fly and are transmitted as a result of direct head-to-head contact. Although uncommon, head lice can be spread by sharing clothing or belongings. This happens when lice crawl, or when nits attached to shed hair hatch and subsequently get on the shared clothing or belongings. This procedure is endorsed by national organizations such as American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association and the National Association of School Nurses. Similar procedures have been adopted successfully by school systems throughout the country. Procedure:
- Students with head lice will be excluded when they present with active head lice. Parents/guardians will be notified and asked to pick up their child as soon as possible. Instruction in treatment and prevention will be given to the parent.
- Students will be re-examined by the school nurse upon returning to school. Students found with a high concentration of nits have the potential of extending the life cycle. Parents/guardians will be encouraged to take the student home for removal of the nits. Students with active head lice will not be allowed to re-enter until they are lice-free.
- Students that have been cleared of lice will be re-examined in 14 calendar days (or closest school day if 14th day falls on weekend or holiday) by the school nurse.
- Students found to have head lice on re-examination will once again be excluded until they are lice-free.
- No school-wide surveillance will be conducted for nits unless deemed necessary by the school nurse.
- Parents/guardians will be notified if there are positive findings of nits or lice on their child.
- Students with nits and no evidence of live head lice will not be excluded from school."
More information: www.newpaltz.k12.ny.us
This district retains the "no nit" policy that has been in place for nearly 20 years. "The No Nit Policy of the Kingston School District Due to the increased incidence of head lice in school children over the last few years, the procedure for handling this problem in our schools was modified in November, 1998. At that time, the Kingston School District implemented a “no nit” policy. What this means is that children attending school must be free of nits (eggs) and lice. If your child is sent home from school due to either head lice or nits, s/he will not be allowed to return to school until all nits and lice are removed. The child with lice must be treated with a lice-killing product and the hair combed to remove all visible nits from the hair. Upon returning to school, the child MUST be accompanied by an adult. After the School Nurse checks the child’s head and s/he is found to be nit/lice free, the child will return to class. However, if nits are found, the child cannot remain in school and will need to return home for further combing. We all realize how tedious this process can be, but it is important for the prevention of the spread of lice within the school. We appreciate your help. Additional information about the control of lice is on the next page. If you need further assistance with managing a lice or nit problem, please call your child’s School Nurse or the Ulster County Health Department at 340-3090." More information: www.kingstoncityschools.org
Port Jervis Schools
Adopted June 12, 2012; this district now follows the recommendations of the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and allows students with nits to attend school. The student must receive treatment and will not be permitted into school with live lice. "Few conditions seem to cause as much concern in schools and homes as an infestation of head lice in children. Students in the elementary grades (ages 3 through 10) are the most likely target hosts for these insect pests. Head lice do not respect socio-economic class distinctions and their presence does not indicate a lack of hygiene or personal cleanliness. Recent medical recommendations from both the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) do not treat head lice as an illness that necessitates an absence from school and have shown that the contagion does not spread as easily as once thought. Therefore, the Port Jervis Board of Education does not condone the absence of students from school for unnecessary reasons and considers head lice an unnecessary absence that impedes a student's educational progress. In order to control infestations of head lice (Pediculosis), the Board of Education has adopted the following protocols: a) Whenever there is a possibility that a student is infested, staff will contact the student's parents. An infested student will not return to school unless corrective treatment has been given and the student is free of active lice. Current treatment protocols make this possible in less than twenty-four (24) hours. Parents may be asked to have a physician prescribe medication for treatment. b) A student who has been infested will be readmitted to school after successfully completing an examination by the school nurse. c) School staff will work with parents to minimize student absence caused by exposure to head lice. An infested student is not sick and is not a danger to other students. Excessive and unnecessary absences affect a student's educational progress. d) School staff will protect student privacy and maintain confidentiality of medical information when infestations are detected. e) School staff will also work to minimize the social stigma that is unfairly attached to victims of head lice infestations. Head lice are not caused by poverty or unsanitary conditions. Students will not be separated from their peers or singled out as infected. All staff will learn proper precautions to prevent further spread of the infestation. Regulations will be developed to provide guidelines on the detection and treatment of head lice, as well as classroom procedures for dealing with affected students." More information: www.portjerviscsd.k12.ny.us Your child has lice, call LiceDoctors anytime of the day or evening and we can be there to treat you and to ensure that your child can return to school following day. We can be reached in Duchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster counties at. 845-576-6100.