Schools in the Oklahoma City area have distinct lice policies and it is important for parents to familiarize themselves with their child’s school policy. Oklahoma City schools currently have a “no nit” policy in place. The city government web site articulates the policy as follows:“If a child is found to have head lice or nits, he/she will be excluded from school. The child must be seen by a school nurse or health care professional and found to be free of lice AND nits before reentry into school. Remember, successful treatment must include removal of ALL nits. It just takes one nit, left on the hair to hatch, to start another infestation. Oklahoma City Public Schools currently has a “NO NIT POLICY”. If your child has been sent home from school with head lice, you can call the Health Office at 587‐0245 to find the closest school nurse on duty to check the student’s head after treatment and receive a clearance to return to school.” Reference: www.ok.gov
Norman, Oklahoma School Lice Policy
In nearby Norman, Oklahoma schools, children must be treated for head lice before being readmitted but there is no mention of a “no nit” policy in place. Students must be cleared by the county health department or a school nurse before being readmitted to school following a lice case. Reference: www.norman.k12.ok.us
Edmond, Oklahoma School Lice Policy
In nearby, Edmond, Oklahoma, the school lice policies are more lenient. According to the school web site, “When a student is found to have live lice:The parent is notified and information related to detection and elimination of head lice can be provided at that time or sent home with the student in a sealed envelope. A letter is available in the online handbook for this notification. Best practice is to also attempt contact personally. The student is not sent home from school, however if the parent offers to pick up the student, that is acceptable. The parent is instructed that the student should be treated before returning to school. In the middle schools, parents complained because they were not alerted when a child was found to have lice. A committee was formed to investigate the situation and , "The committee felt like what was best is that notifying parents when there are multiple cases in a short period of time is the best way to go at (the lice problem) in middle schools," said Susan Parks-Schlepp with the Edmond School District. Reference: m.koco.com The Edmund school district states as their goals regarding head lice that they aim to:
- “Decrease school absenteeism.
- Support families in their efforts to control and eliminate head lice.
- Maintain student privacy”
To that end the “school staff is trained by the nurse in head lice detection and management procedures. Information about head lice infestation is to be shared on a “need to know” basis as deemed appropriate by the building Certificated School Nurse. Maintaining confidentiality of student information in compliance with FERPA. Consideration of the student’s ability to understand whether or not they have head lice and if having this information is developmentally appropriate.” Reference: www.edmonds.wednet.edu
Variations In School Head Lice Policies
This variation in schools regarding head lice polices is quite common. The CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses have all come out with recommendations for schools to eliminate “no nit” polices, which they claim are ineffective and cause excess absenteeism. Alternatively, the National Pediculosis Association recommends that schools retain “no nit” policies, claiming that they help to reduce the spread of lice.