Each school district in Suffolk County is responsible for determining its own head lice policy. Some schools retain “no nit” policies (eggs) and send students home if the nurse finds one nit. This is in accordance with recommendations of the National Pediculosis Association in Newton, MA, an advocacy group. Other major medical groups argue that the “no nit” policies are too restrictive and arbitrary and cause unnecessary absenteeism. These groups say that nits are not contagious and that lice is not an illness and that attendance in school is of paramount importance for children. Groups in this camp include the National School Nursing Association (NSNA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). According to Kenneth Hawkins of the Long Island New York Attendance Teachers Association, “students shouldn’t miss more than one day of school because of head lice but often miss four or five days.” Read more: www.headlice.org
Below are some school districts that retain “no nit” policies:
West Babylon School District
“A student with head lice or nits (eggs) will be excluded from school. Parents/guardians will be advised to shampoo the student with pediculocide shampoo and to remove all the nits. Educational materials are available. This child must be rechecked by the school nurse before returning. A student must be NIT FREE in order to return to school. When a positive case of head lice is found, the school nurse will check the other students in the classroom. The nurse will also notify other nurses in the district to check all siblings living in the home.”. Read more: jhswbschools.sharpschool.com
Half Hollow Hills School District—Dix Hills
“It is advisable to check your child at home for head lice. School policy recommends: If found at school, the school will contact the parent or guardian. The child will be excluded from school until effective shampooing and nit removal is completed. The school nurse will check all children before they are readmitted.” Read more: www.halfhollowhills.k12.ny.us
The following districts do not have “no nit” policies. Most leave admission into school up to the discretion of the school nurse.
Eastport-South Manor Central School District
Once a student is found to have head lice, he or she is asked to remain at home until the condition can be treated. Before returning to school or riding the bus again, students must first be cleared by the school nurse. In 2012, one elementary school had an outbreak of 13 students with lice. Colleen Bowler Dlugolecki, the district’s assistant for community relations, said that “school janitors have thoroughly cleaned the building, targeting areas with carpeting and all tables and chairs, since the first case was reported.” Read more: www.esmonline.org
West Islip Public Schools
Much like the aforementioned district, West Islip schools rely on the judgment of the school nurse. Children are sent home to be treated for lice and the nurse checks them when they return. The child is then checked 7 days later. Information is sent home to parents apprising them of the contagious nature of lice and advising them on treatment and identification protocol. The district references recommendations of the CDC. Read more: www.wi.k12.ny.us
Bay Shore School District
Children are allowed into school after treatment. Children will be admitted with a few nits but not if they have live bugs.
Easthampton Public Schools
“Students will be dismissed during the school day for live lice and nits. If a student is reported to have head lice, the School Nurse will do the following:
- The student will be examined to determine if there is an active infestation; livelice or many nits less than ¼ inch from the scalp (due to the rate of hair growth, nits that are farther away from the scalp will not hatch or have already hatched) are grounds for dismissal.
- If the School Nurse determines that there is an active infestation, the student’s parent/guardian will be notified and the student will be picked up. The School Nurse will check the student’s classroom.
- It is the responsibility of the parents to make arrangements with the School
- Nurse for the student to be examined before re-entry to school. The parent must accompany the child to school for this examination so that the School Nurse can check for the presence of live lice, review treatment, and provide any needed instructions or support.
- The amount of time allocated as an excused absence for the purpose of treatment will be determined by the School Nurse and Principal based upon the severity of the case. It is recognized that no student should routinely be excluded from school due to head lice and parents will be encouraged to treat promptly if needed and return the student to school the next day.
- Chronic or repeated head lice infestations should be referred to the Public Health Nurse for consultation. In the case of repeated head lice infestation, ,the child may be excluded from school as long as the case is active (live lice)and until effective treatment has been provided.
- The School Nurse will provide educational materials and resources to parents/guardians, students, and school staff regarding head lice infestations, management, and treatment.
Read more: www.epsd.us
Smithtown Public Schools
The district sends out information about head lice including: what are lice, symptoms of lice, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up, and home care. The policy is that students with lice must be treated and then return to school the next day. The school nurse checks the hair for live lice. One week later, the child will be checked again to be sure that there are no live lice in the head. Read more: www.smithtown.k12.ny.us School districts revisit their lice policies from time to time. LiceDoctors recommends that parents verify the district policy with the school nurse to be up-to-date on the most recent school district policy.