Updated on July 23, 2020
Karen Sokoloff - April 10, 2020
Morris County Schools
The districts does not have a “no nit” policy so children with lice eggs may return to school. The district does want children with lice and nits to be treated.
“Dear Parents or Guardians:
A case of head lice (pediculosis) was found in your child’s classroom today. Although head lice are annoying, they do not pose a threat to health. Head lice are not a disease, and present NO danger. They do cause itching, but do not carry disease.
Following is a list of facts you may find helpful:
- Head lice can affect any child from any family.
- Cleanliness has nothing to do with getting head lice.
- Lice are spread through close, direct physical contact with an infected person. Items such as
shared combs, hats, upholstery, jackets, clothing and other items that have come into contact with infested hair can also spread lice. Please stress to your child NEVER to share any of these items with other children.
- Lice have nits (lice eggs) that attach to the hair with a strong, glue-like substance, typically near the crown of the head, behind the ears, or at the nape of the neck.
- Lice do not jump or fly. They will die within a day without a human host.
- The first signs of lice infestation you may notice are itching, irritation and redness of the skin or
scalp area. The actual infestation usually begins 30 – 35 days before any of these signs appear.
Treatment for head lice includes:
*Checking your child periodically for head lice. If you find your child has head lice, treatment must be implemented immediately and you must notify your school nurse…
Please be aware that we will check the students in your child’s class and take additional cleaning steps to help limit the spread of head lice. No child is to return to school until proof of treatment has been established.”
Mount Olive School District
“Currently, there is a no nit policy in Mt. Olive School District. This means that all nits are to be removed for a child to re-enter into school after being identified as having head lice. The school nurse must clear the student to return.
Currently at Sandshore School when a case has been identified, the parent is notified and given information on how to treat the child and the child goes home. A notice is sent home to advise parents of a case in the grade level. The students coats and backpacks are bagged for a 2 week period.”
Jefferson Township–Very Lenient Lice Policy
“Our Revised Nit Procedures
In the spring of 2008, the Health Offices of the Jefferson Township Public Schools adopted a procedure that no longer embraced the previous “No Nit” Policy. Scientific data supports this procedure within the school setting. It was found that when students were excluded from attending school for presenting with a few nits (lice eggs), the outcome for the spread of head lice was not improved. Students were losing important academic time while the lice and nits were totally removed. It also often created a hardship for parents, due to lost time at work.
In the spring of 2012, the Health Offices of the Jefferson Township Public Schools adopted a procedure that no longer excluded children for active lice (live lice) as per the recommendations by the Center for Disease Control, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Harvard School of Public Health, and the National Association of School Nurses. According to the CDC, students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun (2010). The CDC also states that head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease (2010).
If lice (pediculosis) or nits are found on your child, immediately contact your child’s physician and notify the school nurse, even if it is during a school vacation. Prompt notification is essential to the school’s efforts to control this problem. After necessary treatment of your child’s hair, you must accompany your child to the school nurse. This visit to the school nurse is mandatory. The school nurse will check your child’s head to assure that he/she has been adequately treated. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription chemical lice treatment shampoos available. Please consult with your physician to decide which shampoo is best for your child. In some cases, a parent or a physician chooses not to use chemical lice treatment shampoos, as to not expose the child to the possible adverse effects of a pesticide. In this case, mechanical removal with a quality lice comb by the parent or a lice treatment specialist is acceptable. When lice treatment is complete, there still remains the necessity for the parent to go through the child’s entire head of hair, both in the morning and evening, for at least 3-4 weeks after the lice and/or nits are found. For several additional weeks you must check your child’s head at least once a day for nits and lice. If you find more live lice, contact your child’s physician immediately and notify the school nurse.
This handbook offers information to give you the tools and knowledge to deal with head lice and nits. However, it is the parent’s or guardian’s responsibility to consult with their child’s physician and make their own decisions for the best appropriate treatment of head lice for their family.
Notifying the School and Your Child’s Contacts
If you find head lice or nits on your child, contact your child’s physician and then notify the school nurse. Prompt notification is essential to the school’s efforts to bring this problem under control. It enables the school to implement and enforce its head lice control program. Early detection is critical for effective management of head lice.
After notifying the school nurse, alert the parents of any child who has been in contact with your child during the previous three to four weeks. This includes your child’s friends and car pool buddies, as well as “The Y,” Scouts and after-school classes, such as dance, gymnastics and karate. This may be difficult, but it is vital to control the spread of head lice. There is no reason to be embarrassed; keep in mind that anyone can get head lice. If someone has a negative reaction, it is that person’s problem, not yours. You are acting responsibly and most people will appreciate it. Parents who have had direct experience with head lice advise that they were extremely upset over not being alerted promptly, as it delayed detection. This, in turn, made treatment more time consuming, because the infestation was at a more advanced stage by the time it was detected.
Lice Policy Implementation…
The School’s Role
When a case of head lice has been discovered or reported to the school, the school will follow the guidelines below, to assist in combating re-infestation among the school population.
- The child found with lice and/or nits may remain in school. The parents/guardians will be notified as soon as possible. The nurse will educate the parents/guardians on lice and available treatments. The parents/guardians are advised to discuss the best treatment for their child with the child’s physician. The child may be picked up earlier in the day for treatment if the parent/guardian wishes to. Depending of the severity of the lice infestation, the school nurse informs the child’s teacher, while maintaining confidentiality, and checks all classmates for head lice and nits.
- Depending on the severity of the infestation in the classroom, the school nurse, in collaboration with the principal, may send a notice home to the parents of the class.
Another recheck of the class will be done in 7-10 days if deemed necessary by the school nurse.
- Every effort is made to make the affected child feel comfortable. While maintaining confidentiality, the children are taught in a matter-of-fact manner about how lice are spread and that no one is immune. We
provide a calm, rational, yet firm commitment to controlling the spread of lice.
- In the event of infestation, girls with long hair are encouraged to wear their hair up in a pony tail, decreasing
the chance of one girl’s hair touching another student’s hair.
- Teachers are asked to remind students about maintaining “personal space,” avoiding head-to-head contact, not
sharing personal hair care items, and refraining from touching other children’s hair in school.
- A child returning to school after head lice treatment is required to be checked by the school nurse prior to returning to their classroom. (The parent or guardian needs to accompany the child to the health office prior to the start of class.) If live lice are found, the school nurse will refer the parent/guardian and student to their physician for further treatment. If nits are found, the school nurse will encourage the parent/guardian to
continue removing nits daily.
- The school nurse will maintain a file containing information on lice and the treatment of lice…
If you find lice on your child
- Contact your physician and treat your child as directed. Call the school nurse (even if the lice are found during a school vacation).
- After treatment of lice as directed by your child’s physician, remove nits from hair. Removing nits is important because it help to avoid hatching of eggs that have survived the treatment and help to avoid diagnostic confusion in the future. Nits can remain in the hairs for weeks and even years in some cases. (More information on this process may be found within in this handbook.) This can be a long and tedious process. It helps to have a friend or family member assist you and should be carried out in full sunlight, if possible. Often the nurse’s office has a magnified, illuminated light, which you may be able to borrow, for checking your child more thoroughly.
- Inform anyone with whom your child has had contact including at “The Y”, gymnastics, carpools, friends, etc
- When you feel you have completed all that has to be done to rid your child’s head, accompany him/her to the school nurse to be rechecked prior to his/her return to the classroom. This is a requirement of our school’s lice policy. If live lice are found, the school nurse will refer the parent/guardian and student to their physician for further treatment. If nits are found, the school nurse will encourage the parent/guardian to continue removing
- When returning to school, tie long hair back securely in ponytails or braids. Instruct your child to leave their
hair in place.
- Continue to check your child’s head, as well as other family members’ heads, at least once a day for a few weeks. If you find many more nits, contact your physician for additional advice. There have been reports of lice resistance to the treatment products which are available.
More information: www.jefftwp.org
No live lice are permitted. Nits are allowed if evidence of treatment is provided.
More information: www.rtnj.org
Passaic County School Lice Policies
Little Falls Schools
The district adheres to the more lenient recommendations of key medical associations and allows students into school with nits (lice eggs).
“School-wide head checks are not recommended or endorsed by the Harvard School of Public Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics or the Centers for Disease Control. The most effective screening occurs when parents check their own children at home, treat if any are found, and make efforts to remove the nits.
13. One of the biggest challenges in eliminating head lice is parents’ discomfort in communicating about the problem with other parents when they find head lice, so they are more easily passed back and forth among close friends and relatives.
14. “No-nit” policies, i.e. not allowing children back into school with nits even though treated, is no longer practiced in most schools because it has been proven that these policies do not impact the spread of lice.”
More information: www.lfnjschools.org
Hawthorne Public Schools
Hawthorne schools do require that parents treat their child if lice and nits are found but the district does not restrict children from attending if some remaining nits are there.
“The Borough’s Public Health Nurse offers the following information about head lice:
If head lice are discovered on your child or on another child at his or her school, there is no cause for alarm. Head lice are fairly common among school-aged children. There are about 8 to 12 million cases each year nationwide.
Parental assistance is key to eliminating lice from our schools as soon as possible. Please use the checklist below to help us keep lice outbreaks under control:
- Check your child’s head on a weekly basis (regardless of an outbreak)
- Girls with longer hair should keep their hair in a pony tail or bun.
- Tell your children to avoid head-to-head contact and any sharing or combs, hats, helmets, barrettes or other personal items worn on the head.
- Provide your child with a hefty bag to store their jackets, hats and backpacks at school.
- Please contact the school nurse if you find lice or nits (eggs) on your child’s head.
If Lice or Nits are found on your child’s head and other family members they must be treated with a head lice product and it is extremely important to follow the directions carefully. After the hair has been washed with a lice product YOU MUST MANUALLY GO THROUGH THE CHILD’S HAIR AND REMOVE ANY REMAINING NITS! Nits are cemented to the hair shaft and shampooing alone does not remove them or necessarily kill the nymph inside. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU CONTINUE TO GO THROUGH YOUR CHILD’S HEAD ON A DAILY BASIS FOR AT LEAST 10 DAYS and remove any nits, and if the lice product you used requires another treatment within 7-14 days please proceed with a second treatment.
Treating the household is important as well. Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. You do not need to spend a lot of time or money on house cleaning. Follow these steps to help avoid reinfestation by lice that may have recently fallen off the hair or crawled onto clothing or furniture. ”
More information: www.hawthornenj.org
Pompton Lakes School District
Our district does not publicize its policy regarding admission to school with lice, however it puts out the following information:
“As you know the problem of parasites (head lice, bed bugs etc.) has reached epidemic levels in the United States. It is a fact that these outbreaks occur among school age children most often in September when school first opens and after vacations. This is due to children returning from camps, hotels, motels and other public places.
As a parent you are in a unique position to prevent an outbreak by routinely checking your child’s hair. Parents should check their children under a bright light. Should you find any lice or nits (eggs) please let the School Nurse know so she can check the other students in that class.
Please be advised that neither of these parasites pose a health risk. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school setting will not prevent outbreaks of these parasites. This information will always be kept confidential. Our families and students must be reminded that no stigma is attached to outbreaks with these parasites.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue please feel free to contact your School Nurse. The CDC website also has pictures and information on these parasites, www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice or bedbugs.”
More information: www.plps-k12.org
Totowa School District
The district does not have a “no nit” policy in place.
“November 17, 2011
This memo is designed to provide information for our parents. Each year head lice cases are discovered among students in our district. While the thought of head lice is an unpleasant one, head lice is transferred from student to student and can become a serious problem, refusing to subside in our schools. Thankfully, we are far removed from that point this year, since only two cases have been reported for the entire district.
Please check your child’s head for nits on a regular basis. I have posted information on the district website under “important announcements.” Please read and educate yourself to the warning signs. Also, please contact our school nurses, if you have questions, and need further information.
As a district, once head lice is discovered, both school nurses check the student identified, as well as students in the class and other students who may have had contact with the identified student.
Diligence in the home will assist us in keeping head lice cases to a minimum. Thank you for your patience and concern. Together we can help eliminate this problem.
Vincent N. Varcadipane, Ed.D.”
More information: totowa.k12.nj.us