California Schools Head Lice Policy Sacramento and Surrounding Areas
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that. “Head lice, while a significant social problem, do not transmit disease to humans.” The CDPH goes on to say that while traditionally, head lice policies in schools emphasized that children with head lice or eggs could not return to school until they were nit-free, “there is no evidence that a no-nit policy prevents or shortens lengths of outbreaks (Pollack et al., 2000, Williams et al., 2001).” The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are all opponents of no-nit policies (Frankowski and Weiner, 2002; Schoessler, 2004). Furthermore, the “International Guidelines for Effective Control of Head Louse Infestations” state that “the no nit policy is unjust as it is based on misinformation rather than objective science and should be discontinued.” (Mumcuoglu, 2007) CDPH recommends a no-lice policy.” The state Department of Health in California goes further than other states that recommend “no nit” policies in recommending that children with head lice be allowed to stay in school until the end of the school day. “If lice are seen on a child at school the parents should be called to pick up the child at the end of the school day and be given a copy of the brochure “A Parent’s Guide to Head Lice”. At home, all members of the family must be checked for head lice. This policy allows the parent to treat the child overnight. The day following treatment, the child should be re-examined and admitted to class. If the child is still infested, then the parent should be re-contacted. While classroom or school-wide notification is not recommended after head lice have been detected in a student, this policy is at the discretion of the school nurse or administration.” What this means is that the CDPH is recommending that children with active cases of head lice be allowed to remain in school throughout the day and further that the school need not alert parents to any active cases found in the school. This obviously has ramifications for children in public schools who are exposed to head lice. The burden is certainly on the parents to be highly vigilant with their children regarding detecting head lice (we know how difficult that is). As you will see, not every school district near Sacramento follows this recommendation.
Sacramento Schools Head Lice Policy
In September 2010, the school board in Sacramento, California changed the district’s head lice policy. Up until that point, the district maintained a “no nit policy”. Since the Center for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Nurses, and the California Department of Public Health concurred that “no nit” policies were not recommended, the Sacramento school board voted to allow students with head lice to return to school after treatment options have been used. The Sacramento school district lice policy is now in keeping with the California Department of Health’s recommended course of action regarding head lice.
Folsom Cordova Unified School District Lice Policy
The Folsom Cordova Schools, like Sacramento and in sync with the CDPH, also allows students to be in school if they have nits. The district has eliminated its “no nit” policies and works with parents to encourage lice treatment so that children can be rid of their head lice. The web site lists the following policy: “The Governing Board of Folsom Cordova Unified School District is committed to maximizing student's academic performance and physical wellbeing in a healthy and safe environment. The district recognizes that head lice infestations do not pose a health hazard, are not a sign of uncleanliness, and are not responsible for the spread of any disease. Previous nit-free policies cause many unnecessary absences from school with potential negative effects on academic performance. Misinformation about head lice causes anxiety for parents and school staff. The district defines a healthy and safe environment as one in which adults work together to provide the following environmental factors established by current research as necessary for health and wellbeing of students with head lice:
- Educating staff, students, and families about head lice
- Establishing evidence-based management for students with head lice
The goals of providing a healthy and safe environment for students with head lice are to:
- Maximize academic performance
- Minimize absence related to unnecessary exclusion of students with head lice
Related link: www.fcusd.org
Roseville Public Schools
The Roseville School District has a “no live lice” policy in place as follows: “The Governing Board believes that the district's head lice management program should emphasize the correct diagnosis and treatment of head lice in order to minimize disruption of the education process and to reduce the number of student absences resulting from infestation. In consultation with the school nurse, the Superintendent or designee may establish a routine screening program to help prevent the spread of head lice. School employees shall report all suspected cases of head lice to the school nurse or designee as soon as possible. The nurse or designee shall examine the student and other students who are siblings of the affected student or members of the same household. If a student is found with active, adult head lice, he/she shall be excluded from attendance. The parent/guardian of an excluded student shall receive information about recommended treatment procedures and sources of further information. The student shall be allowed to return to school the next day and shall be checked by the nurse or designee before returning to class. Once he/she is determined to be free of lice, the student shall be rechecked weekly for up to six weeks. The principal and school nurse shall work with the parents/guardians of any student who has been deemed to be a chronic head lice case in order to help minimize the student's absences from school. When two or more students in any class have been identified as having a head lice infestation, all students in the class shall be examined. In consultation with the school nurse, the principal may also send information about head lice home to all parents/guardians of the students in that class.” Related link: www.gamutonline.net
San Juan School District (Citrus Heights schools)
Like the aforementioned school district, the Citrus Heights schools still maintain a “no nit” policy. The policy is as follows: Children with head lcie will be excluded from school until the hair has been treated and ALL of the eggs (nits) have been removed. Related link: www.sanjuan.edu
Rocklin School District
The Rocklin School District also has a more aggressive approach regarding its lice policy. The district maintains a “no nit” policy as follows: School employees shall report all suspected cases of head lice to the school nurse or designee as soon as possible. The nurse or designee shall examine the student and any siblings of affected students or members of the same household. If nits or lice are found, the student shall be excluded and parents/guardians informed about recommended treatment procedures, ways to check the hair, and sources of further information.The principal shall send home the notification required by law for excluded students. If there are one or more students affected in any one classroom, all students in the class shall be examined and information about head lice shall be sent home to all parents/guardians in the class. The class may be re-examined in 10 days if indicated. Excluded students may return to school when they bring a note from the parent/guardian indicating the treatment used and when reexamination by the nurse or designee shows that all pests and nits have been removed. The following procedures are to be followed when a student has been found to have head lice:
- Parents are to be immediately contacted and the student excluded from school in order to receive proper treatment.
- Information shall be made available to the parents, including recommendations for treatment with an anti-lice shampoo for the student infested, and the procedures to be followed to eliminate head lice in the home.”
Related link: www.rocklinusd.org
Each school district in the Sacramento area is responsible for its own lice policy. As districts revise their policies from time to time, LiceDoctors recommends that you contact your school nurse to keep abreast of the policy.