South Bay School Lice Policies
The California Department of Public Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control all recommend that students with nits be allowed to remain in school and the children with lice lice be allowed to remain in school until the end of the day. The rationale is that by the time a case is diagnosed, the child has likely been in school for long enough to transmit lice to other children. This is a change from the prior policy, which was a “no nit” policy. The difference between a “no nit” and a “no lice” policy is that students with nits or eggs will be admitted to school under the latter policy. With a “no nit” policy, students with nits or eggs will not be permitted to return to school until all nits have been removed. Despite this relatively liberal policy, many of the school districts in the South Bay area retain "no nit" policies.
San Jose School District: No Nit Policy
Unlike the California Department of Public Health's recommended lice policy, in San Jose, when a student has head lice/nits (eggs), the studentʼs parent is contacted and the student is sent home from school. The School Health Office will provide the parent with information regarding head lice, treatment, readmission requirements and resources for treatment. The student may return to school the following day if all nits have been removed from the hair. The student’s head will be examined before he/she can return to the classroom. If the student returns to school and has nits remaining in his/her hair, the student will be excluded from school. At the elementary schools, notices are sent home every time there is a new case reported. Related link: sjusd.org
Sunnyvale School District Lice Policy
In Sunnyvale as well as many other California school districts, children with lice will not be readmitted to school without a signed form regarding proof of eradication.
Palo Alto School District --Lenient Lice Policy
"In 2013, PAUSD adopted a board policy regarding head lice in schools, (BP5141.33). Goals of the policy include community education regarding prevention and management of head lice, early detection and prompt treatment of students with head lice, minimizing disruption to the educational program, and reducing student absences. Recent research indicates that neither NO NIT policies nor mass school screenings prevent or shorten the length of lice outbreaks at school. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO) all oppose the NO NIT policy as well as mass school screenings. The problem of pediculosis, or head lice as it is more commonly known, is ongoing and requires education and treatment. However, head lice do not pose a risk of transmitting disease and are not a threat to health. School Staff / Office Response to Head Lice
- School office staff or health technician will check students suspected of having head lice.
- When live lice are found: Office staff will contact parent to pick up their child, provide them with the brochure, A Parent’s Guide to Head Lice and a Lice Treatment form with readmission requirements. Parents are encouraged to begin treatment immediately and to check all family members for head lice or nits. When live lice or previously untreated nits are found, copies of the Lice Exposure Notice and A Parent's Guide to Head Lice will be sent home with all children in the affected student’s elementary classroom.
- When only nits are found:
Office staff will contact parents to determine if the student has been treated for head lice. If student has already been treated for this infestation, staff will remind parent to continue daily nit removal and observation for presence of live lice, requiring re-treatment. Student remains at school and no re-admission check required. If the student has NOT been treated for this infestation, parent will be given A Parent’s Guide to Head Lice and the Lice Treatment form with re-admission requirements. Parents are encouraged to begin treatment immediately and to check all family members. Student remains at school until end of school day. Re-admission check is required. Re-admission Requirements
- Before returning to the classroom, parent/guardian will accompany child to the school office for a re-admission check by office staff or Health Technician.
- Parent/Guardian will return the signed Lice Treatment form to the office.
- If no live lice are found, student may return to class.
- If nits are present, parent/guardian is encouraged to continue daily nit removal and observation for presence of live lice requiring re-treatment. Student may return to class.
- If live lice are present, student will be sent home and further treatment discussed.
Related link: pausd.org
Los Gatos Public Schools-No Nit Policy
Like the San Jose schools, Los Gatos' schools retain a no nit policy. "To prevent the spread of head lice infestations, 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 from attendance and parents/guardians informed about recommended treatment procedures and sources of further information. District Procedures: "During September and October, head checks will be conducted on all the students in attendance at the elementary schools. This screening is not a substitute for parental checks. Although head lice are a year round condition, out breaks are seen 2-4 weeks after holidays and vacations as this is a time families visit, share, travel, kids go to camp and spend more time in close contact with friends. An increase in the number of cases of head lice is expected shortly after summer ends, after Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter, February, and Spring recess and following school plays.
- Notes will be sent before these school breaks, reminding parents to be vigilant in checking their children for head lice and discouraging sharing of head gear, combs, brushes and costumes. If a child is found to have head lice or nits, a parent will be called to pick him or her up from school.
- The child will need to be treated to remove all head lice and nits.
- Before returning to school, the parent will need to bring the child to the health office and stay until the school nurse, health clerk or other trained personnel check and determine there are no residual lice or nits in the child’s hair.
- Children will not be allowed to return to school until all lice and nits have been removed from the hair."
Related document: www.lgusd.org
Los Altos School District--No Nit Policy
"The Los Altos School District Governing Board believes that the district’s head lice management program should emphasize education, preventative measures, 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. At the beginning of each school year the district and/or county health staff will provide an active educational campaign for district families and school staff regarding the district’s head lice management program.
If a student is found with active, adult head lice and/or nits, parents are to be immediately contacted and the student excluded from school in order to receive proper treatment. If the child is unable to go home, the school will make reasonable efforts to minimize contact with other students for the remainder of the school day. The students shall not be identified to other students, staff or parents as having head lice. In order for the student to return to school, the parent shall contact the school office to schedule an appointment for a readmission check. A parent must accompany their child to school for such a readmission check. Students will be readmitted to school ONLY after they have been checked by district health staff or school office personnel and have found to be free of head lice and free of nits. If head lice or nits are present the student will NOT be readmitted to school. (cf. 5141.3 – Health Examinations) The Superintendent or designee shall send home the notification required by law, recommended treatment procedures and sources for further information. Such notification will NOT provide the identity of the student found to have head lice. (Education Code 48213) (cf. 5112.2 – Exclusions from Attendance) (cf. 5145.6 – Parental Notifications) Parents and school employees shall report all cases of head lice to the school office as soon as possible. When one student in any class has been identified as having head lice, the district health staff or trained school personnel shall examine the student and other students who are siblings of the affected student or members of the same household as soon as possible. When one student in any class has been identified as having a head lice infestation, all students in that class shall be examined. In consultation with the district superintendent and school principal, the district nurse may establish and implement a screening program that goes beyond the routine screening outlined in this policy if it is deemed necessary to address an atypical head lice situation. The district health staff or school office personnel shall work/meet 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. A chronic case is a child found infested in three separate months during a school year or for six consecutive weeks." Related document: http://www.losaltos.k12.ca.us
Varying Policies Through Out the South Bay Region
As you can see, there are variations in head lice policies among the schools in the South Bay. It is incumbent upon each parent to be familiar with the school lice policies and keep up with them as they may change over time.