Per the Kansas Department of Education website, it is recommended that Kansas schools drop “no nit” policies, which prohibit children with lice eggs from entering school. The recommendation is based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control, American Association of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses. These organizations state that evidence shows that by the time a case is diagnosed, the child has already had ample opportunity to spread that case to other children. The organizations maintain that the policy of prohibiting children from entering school with nits forces children to miss too many days of school.
Overland Park, Kansas Public Schools
Blue Valley School District in Overland, Kansas maintains a fairly strict head lice policy. While the school district policy is not exactly a no nit policy, when a child is found to have nits or lice the child is sent home to be treated. If the nits are farther than a quarter of an inch from the head, indicating that they are not viable anymore, or if there are very few nits that the nurse can remove, the child will be admitted. Following is the lice policy: "The Blue Valley USD229 has established an education and communication plan for proceeding should head lice happen at any given school. The district brochure that contains procedures and advice for treating head lice is posted on the district website at http://www.bluevalleyk12.org. Once on the website, select Parent & Students at the top; then Student Programs & Services on the left; in the center of that page select Health Services; on the left side is the heading Head Lice where the district brochure is available. When a student has been identified as potentially having lice:
- Check head to verify the presence of live lice and/or nits within ¼” of scalp.
- Contact parent immediately so that the student can be taken home for treatment using an antiparasitic shampoo. Provide the parent with the Blue Valley brochure which provides specific and helpful information for effective removal of lice and nits.
- The school nurse will send an email to the DCT – Health Services with the number and grade level of students found with live lice or nits close to the scalp.
- The school nurse will notify other school nurse(s) of feeder buildings where members of the impacted family attend. The DCT will provide regular updates to the Executive Director of Student Services.
The student will return to the school nurse for a head check after treatment and prior to returning to class. If the student has live lice or has nits within ¼” of the scalp, the students will need to return home for additional treatment. If the only nits present are further than ¼” from the scalp (indicating that they are no longer viable nits) or if the student has very few nits that the nurse can easily remove, the student may return to class. If there is only one case or only one family impacted by lice, then the case will be handled without further notification of the school community. Checks will be completed for siblings at other buildings and for members of the immediate social groups. If additional cases are discovered a district-prepared e-mail message will be sent to the principal of the affected school for distribution to the entire school community. The message will indicate the presence of head lice, urge the community to be aware, encourage parents to report all cases confidentially to the school nurse, and take appropriate precautions. We understand that families appreciate updates regarding lice outbreaks and our attention to the eradication of lice." Related link: www.bluevalleyk12.org
Olathe Public Schools Lice Policy
Olathe School District has a lice policy in line with that of Overland Park. “Students must be lice-free with continued progress toward removing nits to come back to school.”
Shawnee Mission School District
Shawnee Mission School District head lice procedures are more lenient than the aforementioned schools allowing students with nits to remain in school as long the case is being treated at home. “Routine screenings for head lice are not conducted. If head lice is identified at school, the nurse will notify the parent/guardian of the need for treatment. The student will be checked by the nurse upon return to school for the presence of live lice. Students will not be allowed to return to school if live lice are present. Students will be checked at regular intervals for up to two weeks until nits are not present or nits are no longer viable/hatching. If multiple cases of head lice are identified, general information about the contagion will be placed on the school and/or nurse's web page.” Related link: healthservices.smsd.org
Lawrence, Kansas Public Schools
In Lawrence Public Schools, A parent will be contacted and a student will be sent home from school if head lice are found. Parents of children with nits are informed that they need to treat their children until no nits are found. In general the lice policies in Kansas are stricter than are seen in some districts (those that allow students with viable nits to remain in school) and more lenient than schools that retain strict “no nit” policies. Parents should check with their local school nurse to be sure that you are up-to-date on any changes in the lice policy.