The Mississippi government site reminds people that head lice are not dangerous and therefore cases, unless chronic, do not need to be reported to the health department. "Head lice do not carry disease, and are not considered a public health threat. Cases of head lice do not need to be reported to the state or county health department. Informing your school, parents of classmates, and others about contact with head lice is helpful. Your county health department can offer advice on controlling and removing head lice." More information: msdh.ms.gov Mississippi, unlike any other state we have come across, has a code of behavior and actions that it wants schools to follow when head lice cases are uncovered. The policy is as follows: "If a student in any public elementary or secondary school has had head lice on three (3) occasions during one (1) school year while attending school, or if the parent of the student has been notified by school officials that the student has had head lice on three (3) occasions in one (1) school year, as determined by the school nurse, public health nurse or a physician, the principal or administrator shall notify the county health department of the recurring problem of head lice with that student. The county health department then shall instruct the child's parents or guardians on how to treat head lice, eliminate head lice from household items, and prevent the recurrence of head lice. The county health department shall charge the child's parents or guardians a fee to recover its costs of providing treatment and counseling for the head lice. The school principal or administrator shall not allow the child to attend school until proof of treatment is obtained. More information: law.justia.com
Schools in Jackson follow the aforementioned Mississippi policy and send students home if they have lice. The policy is spelled out as, "Identified infected students will be sent home immediately with a letter and information sheet. Returning to School-The student may be readmitted after treatment providing there are no visible lice. Upon returning to school the child will be checked by a school official... After the third occasion of a student having head lice, a “no-nit policy” will be in effect. Any student who has had lice on four occasions will be required to be free of all nits before being readmitted to school." More information: jcsd.k12.ms.us
Vicksburg schools leave the decision up to the staff of whether to send a child home, but generally do not permit students with active cases to remain in school. Below is the lice policy: "Because a school has a high concentration of people, it is necessary to take specific measures when the health or safety of the group is at risk. The school’s professional staff has the authority to remove or isolate a student who has been ill or has been exposed to a communicable disease or highly-transient pest, such as lice. Specific diseases include: diphtheria, scarlet fever, strep infections, whooping cough, mumps, measles, rubella, head lice, and other conditions indicated by the Local and State Health Departments. Any removal will only be for the contagious period as specified in the school’s administrative guidelines. Children diagnosed with head lice may not ride the school bus until cleared by office personnel."
Ridgeland schools maintain a "no nit" policy and follow the rule established by the Mississippi state government that if a child has 3 successive incidences of lice he or she will be referred to the State Health Department for help. "While head lice do not transmit any human diseases; they are a nuisance and require a cooperative effort on the part of parents and school officials to control. When a teacher suspects that a student has head lice or nits; the student will discreetly be sent to the office for an examination in private. If lice or nits are found, the parent will be notified and asked to pick up the student and treat him/her with an approved over-the-counter head lice treatment. Proof of treatment (the empty box) will be required before the student is allowed to re-enter school. Students will not be allowed to return to school unless they are free of nits. When a case of head lice is found in a room, a note will be sent home with every student in that room informing parents and requesting that they check their student that evening and treat if necessary. Under new state law, any student who has three recurrent cases of head lice will be referred to the State Health Department for treatment." More information: www.madison-schools.com
Consistent with the above school districts and the dictate from the Mississippi State Health Department, children in the Byram schools with lice or nits will be sent home for treatment. After 3 successive incidences, the child will be referred to the Mississippi Health Department for treatment. "Students who show evidence of NITS or live head lice will be removed from the classroom. Parents will be called to pick up the student immediately. Students who show evidence of nits will receive office notification in writing for needed treatment. As soon as the student has been treated with an approved lice-killing product, he or she may return to school. To be readmitted to school the student must:
- Bring the empty treatment bottle, with the label on it, to the office, OR bring a note from the parent, to the office, stating the name of the product used and the date of use.
- Be re-checked for nits or live lice in the office before readmission to the classroom.
- If the parent returns the student to school after treatment, the parent must follow the above procedure and wait until the student has been re-checked for live lice.
If a public school student has head lice on three separate occasions during any school year or if school officials have notified the student’s parent/guardian that the student has head lice on three separate occasions during any school year, the principal shall notify the Hinds County Health Department of the recurring problem. The Health Department will instruct the student’s parents or guardians on how to treat head lice, eliminate head lice from household items, and prevent the recurrence of head lice. The Health Department will charge the parent or guardian a fee to recover the cost of providing treatment and counseling. The school principal will not allow the student to attend school until proof of treatment is obtained. The school is concerned about instructional time the student loses by being removed from the classroom; however, the school must also take measures to prevent the spread of head lice. If a student must be removed from the class setting and misses instructional time on five (5) occasions, a report will be made to the attendance officer."
Schools in Brookhaven maintain a "no nit" policy and have the same consequences for students as all of the aforementioned policies. "In an effort to control lice infestation in our schools, your child will not be allowed to ride the school bus until he/she has been released through the principals office. After treatment with an approved pediculicidal (louse-killing) product, you must bring your child to school, furnish proof of treatment, and wait until his/her hair is inspected for nits. ALL NITS MUST BE REMOVED FOR READMISSION TO SCHOOL. Acceptable proof of treatment will be an empty bottle clearly labeled. This applies for proof of second treatment as well. If a student is excluded for head lice on three consecutive occasions during one school year he/she will be referred to the Lincoln County Health Department. They in turn will provide the school office a report and release for return to school." While Mississippi school lice policies all have "no nit" components, the policies are stricter than many school lice policies across the nation. As many schools have dropped their "no nit "policies, LiceDoctors advice is that you keep up with your child's school nurse to be sure that you have the most up-to-date school lice policy.