Head Lice Policies--Syracuse Public Schools and Surrounding Areas
Syracuse Public Schools
Syracuse Schools allow students to remain in school after treatment for lice. There is no longer a “no nit” policy in place. The Syracuse Department of Health Services in working with students and staff regarding head lice aims to:
- “Increase the number of children ready to learn when entering school;
- Improve the educational performance of all children;
- Improve a child’s mental and physical health;
- Increase the number of children in a safe, stable, and nurturing home and community environment;
- Avoid out-of-home placements when filing educational neglect because children are chronically absent due to head lice; and to
- Educate parents that while head lice do not carry disease, children need to be treated to prevent further spread within the school.
- Educate staff about head lice to minimize disruption to educational process, and to work with staff to develop management strategies for prevention and containment of head lice infection.
The New York State Education Department, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Harvard School of Public Health do not support “no nit” policies that exclude students from school. No nit policies and practices keep the children out of their educational program needlessly.” Based on this rationale, and adopting the recommendations of the aforementioned groups, Syracuse schools do not send children home from school with head lice. Below is the procedure followed when head lice are found in a child:
- “Children with lice should be referred for treatment at the end of the day
- Until the end of the day, avoid activity that involves the child in head-to-head contact with other children or sharing of head gear.
To prevent lice infestation:
- Encourage children not to share headgear, towels, and bedding
- Provide separate storage areas for each child’s clothing (widely placed hooks, individual plastic bags, etc..)
- During nap time, placement of children alternating heads and feet.
- Discourage ear whispering and huddling during organized activities.
During an outbreak of pediculosis: Classroom activities involving frequent body contact should be minimized, or temporarily suspended.
- A practice of assigning hooks in cloakrooms should be initiated.
- Hats are kept in coat sleeves or pockets
- Separate clothes in plastic bags.
- “Dress-up” activities should be temporarily discontinued.
- Resting mats, towel, or pillows for younger children should be permanently assigned and kept separated.
- Carpeted classrooms should be thoroughly vacuumed daily.
- It is not advisable to fumigate schools or buses, and should not be allowed.
- Consider assigned seating in buses temporarily.
- Use belly hugs instead if head-to-head contact hugs.”
Related link: www.syracusecityschools.com
Following recommendations of various health groups, schools in Ithaca have recently dropped their “no nit’ policies. According to an article that appeared in late 2013 in the local newspaper, “Committed to what is best for its students, the Groton School District has recently reconstructed its policy on Head Lice and Nits. After noticing several students were missing out on classroom time due to nits, Superintendent Jim Abrams sat down with school physician Mashelle Jansen and the school attorney to discuss the possibilities of reconfiguring the this policy. “We’re an educational institution and part of what we were seeing is kids were missing instructional time,” said Abrams. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of School Nurses agree that nits are not contagious. Head lice do not pose a health hazard, transmit disease, nor serve as a sign of poor hygiene, child abuse or neglect. It is recognized by the school district that pediculosis, head lice and untreated nits, is a problem that may impact the educational process. It was therefore concluded that by the school district, in conjunction with the County Public Health Department, that pediculosis is a health nuisance, not a health hazard. Nits are head lice eggs but cannot be transmitted from person to person. According to New York Statewide School Health Services Center, a “no nit” policy for return to school should be discouraged as all healthy children should not be excluded from the classroom. With this understanding the school district is moving forward with its new policy and will be notifying all staff on how to take proper precautions to prevent further spread of infestation. “Another part of the policy that is a myth, is that (head lice) is related to socio-economical status or cleanliness within the home,” said Abrams.” Related link: www.ithaca.com
Rome Public Schools
Rome City School District Administration Health Services has issued a handbook on head lice. Children must be treated and will not be permitted to return to school until there is no sign of “live lice or live nits”. The web site states, “student may return to school after hair treatment is completed.
- School nurses recommend that a family member transport student to school to be seen by the school nurse.
- The school nurse will check the student's hair in the presence of the parent/guardian.
- Student may return to the classroom when there is no evidence of live lice and/or live nits.
Additional information may be obtained at www.headlice.org” Related link: www.romecsd.org
Utica Community Schools
Schools in Utica retain a “no nit” policy; no children with eggs will be permitted to come to school. Children must be treated.