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Westchester / Rockland Counties School Lice Policy

Westchester / Rockland Counties School Lice Policy
Created on 
March 27, 2017
Updated on 
July 13, 2020

Westchester and Rockland County Schools Lice Policies

The Westchester government web site dispenses information on head lice but does not issue a blanket school head lice policy. Each school district in Westchester and Rockland is responsible for determining its own lice policy. Below is some information from the Westchester County web site on how lice are diagnosed:

How is a head lice infestation diagnosed?

“By looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs, or adults. Finding a nymph or adult may be difficult; there are usually few of them and they can move quickly from searching fingers. If crawling lice are not seen, finding nits within a 1/4 inch of the scalp confirms that a person is infested and should be treated. If you only find nits more than 1/4 inch from the scalp, the infestation is probably an old one and does not need to be treated. If you are not sure if a person has head lice, the diagnosis should be made by a health care provider, school nurse, or a professional from the local health department or agricultural extension service.”

Related link: health.westchestergov.com/head-lice

Westchester Schools

Briarcliff School District

Briarcliff schools do not have a “no nit” policy; students found to have lice are expected to be treated but will be allowed in school even if nits remain. An article in the town newspaper reports that officials have said they do not feel a “no Nit” policy would be best for the district.

“In accordance with the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and in order not to disrupt the educational process, the Briarcliff Manor School District does not have a ‘no nit’ policy,” officials wrote in the proposed policy.Nora Johnson, co-president of the BPTA, said Wednesday that members were “pleased with the proposed policy.”

“The BPTA understands that the ‘No Nit’ policies of the past will not work in today’s enlightened educational environment,” Johnson said in an emailed statement. “What this policy offers is the best opportunity to contain the spread of lice, while accommodating the dignity of the students. Lice happens in all schools, but our goal here is to detect it as early as possible, minimize the spread of it and educate parents and students how to prevent future outbreaks. The BPTA would like to thank the administration, the school nurses, the school principals and the school physician for working with us to arrive at a policy that makes sense to our community.”

Related link: briarcliff.dailyvoice.com

White Plains School District

White Plains Public School District has a no-nit policy, barring students with lice eggs from class until they get rid of the pests. If a student has lice, nurses talk to his or her classmates about how to prevent head lice from spreading and send a notice home to classmates’ parents.

If your child contracts head lice and it is discovered by the school nurse, you will receive a phone call and information on how to treat the problem. It is confidential information but a letter may go home to the entire class informing other parents that they may need to be on the lookout for head lice in their own child. Children, especially younger ones, are not embarrassed by this and will often share the information that they have lice with friends. This is generally how rumors about head lice spread in school.

Head lice are extremely stressful on a family and require diligence to get rid of. The school nurse has information on how to treat recurrences and additional resources needed.

The following information may be helpful in preventing and treating lice. This information is from the State of Texas Department of Health so disregard their reference numbers. It is so pertinent and well done that it is used by our NYS School Health Services in Albany as a reference for schools.

Keep in mind that re-infestations are usually the result of incomplete nit (egg) removal. We recommend combing the child’s head every night for 2 weeks, and doing a second medicated shampoo. Remember, your school nurse is there to help you get through this. Give her a call if you are feeling overwhelmed.”

Related link: www.wpcsd.k12.ny.us

Scarsdale Public Schools

Scarsdale schools follow the recommendations of the American Association of Pediatrics and only sends students home with live lice. Following is an explanation of the district procedures regarding lice screening:

“Pediculosis screening is a program organized and administered by the PTA. Several of the schools have screening done by a professional organization. Screening is typically performed on the return to school in September (often picture day) and then may be repeated at intervals during the year (often after school vacations), as determined by the principal of the building.

When a student is identified as having lice the school nurse notifies the family and sends a class notification. The identity of the student is NOT disclosed. The nurse provides the family with an informational packet that provides resources for treatment. Parents are able to treat this at home or can hire a professional service. A student is then rechecked after treatment.

The CDC and AAP recommendation is that students not be excluded from school because of lice. Pediculosis is considered a nuisance, but have not been shown to spread disease. In Scarsdale,our practice is that only students with live bugs be sent home to start treatment. This is in part, to protect confidentiality (younger students may march in to class and announce proudly, “I have lice”) and to allow parents to get a jump start on treatment, which can be time consuming. Students with nits (egg casings) are encouraged to go home to start treatment as well,but may remain in school until the end of the day.

Related link: www.health.ny.gov
Related link: www.scarsdaleschools.org

New Rochelle Public Schools

This district maintains a “no nit” policy.  Follows is an excerpt on the schools’ policy from the local newspaper: “The City of New Rochelle School District “no-nit” policy helps to prevent the spread of head lice in all schools throughout the district. William B. Ward Elementary School Registered Nurse Margaret Murphy says the policy limits the parasite from spreading, should it reach a member of the district community’s head.
“It’s great,” said Murphy. “It prevents the spread of the lice in the school.”

While there haven’t been any reported cases at Ward, the school said it is ready for action should any arise.

Any child who should happen to come into contact with the infection is sent home until they have been cleared. The child’s parent must contact the school nurse when they feel it is safe for the child to return. The school nurse then gives clearance for the child to return to class. According to head lice information from school district’s health services department, it is aware that having head lice affect your family is a nuisance.
“Our goal is to limit the number of families affected,” it said. If a student has been treated effectively and is free of nits, we know that the student will not bring the problem to other students or staff and their families.”

Related link: newrochelle.dailyvoice.com

Chappaqua Public Schools

The Chappaqua School District does not have a “no nit” policy; students are allowed to remain in school with nits and are expected to be treated.

Byram Hills School District

Byram Hills Central School District Department of Health Services sent the following letter home to parents outlining the district policy on lice management:

“We just wanted to let you know about the procedures that we are following for pediculus humanus capitis (head lice). This letter also serves to clarify how cases of head lice are managed at the Wampus School. Our Health Office follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. We encourage parents to read the American Academy of Pediatrics Lice Article located on the Health Services page on the District’s website www.byramhills.org. This article provides comprehensive information about head lice identification, management and treatment.

When a case is communicated to us either by a child’s parent or identified by the school nurse, the health office staff will work with the child and their family in order to identify siblings and potential recent contacts. These first two groups are the most likely to come into contact with the head lice. According to the research, transmission is highly unlikely to occur in the school setting. Therefore, immediate screening of entire classes is inefficacious. However, if the health office notices that there are a number of students in the same class that have an active infection, our next step may be to check the entire class. The nursing staff is very skilled in head lice identification and they assess each case individually in order to develop a comprehensive plan that effectively manages the situation.

In addition, it is important for you to know that we will make sure to protect and maintain the confidentiality of the student(s) who has been affected and their family. We will not check another child based solely on a “tip” from another individual.

There is no way to completely prevent head lice. Although head lice are unwelcome and troublesome to treat, fortunately they do not cause any long term harm. We need to partner together to keep them out of our schools as best as we can. Attached please find a suggested treatment and prevention procedure. As always, feel free to contact the School Nurse at X 2950 or the Health Services Coordinator, Sue Adams, 273-4250 X 3997 for more information. Thank you.  Sincerely, Sue A. Adams, FNP – Health Services Coordinator – March 2014”

Mamaroneck Public Schools

This district allows students to return to school after lice treatment; there is not a “no nit” policy in place unless a family refuses to treat a child.

The policy is stated as follows:

“students initially found to have nits or live lice in their hair/scalp (who do not have proof of recent treatment) will be sent home until treatment is provided. The child’s family will be given an exposure notice that contains written instructions from the school district regarding head lice. In addition, parents of all children in the child’s class will receive an exposure notice, and the school will encourage the family of the child found to have nits or lice to notify families who may have been exposed to the nits/lice. A child found to have nits or live lice is allowed to return to school after he/she has been shampooed with a pediculocide. Children whose parents choose not to use a pediculocide may not return to school with nits in their hair. Under the school district’s policy, students with recent lice infestation are to be examined by the school nurse 14 days after return to school, and periodically thereafter. Children with nits in their hair may be periodically reinspected for live lice by the school nurse.

The PTA Healthy Hair Committee, under the supervision of the school nurse, coordinates parent volunteers to perform routine checks of students’ hair four times during the school year – a few days after the beginning of school and after the ―major‖ breaks – Winter Recess, February break and Spring break. In addition, the PTA Healthy Hair Committee educates parents about lice prevention. The PTA Healthy Hair Committee relies on parent-volunteers to perform these routine checks. All volunteers are required by school district policy to maintain the confidentiality of children who may be identified as having lice during a check, and they are required to sign a confidentiality agreement in which they commit to maintaining that confidentiality before conducting any checks. Please consider volunteering to do checks in your child’s class. It is an important service and a great way to get to know your child’s teacher and classmates.

Whether or not nits or lice are found via a routine check, parents are encouraged to regularly check their own children’s hair for nits and lice throughout the school year.

Related link: www.mamkschoolspta.org

Katonah, Lewisboro, and Bedord Central Schools

Katonah, Lewisboro and Bedford Central schools follow these procedures if students are discovered with head lice:

  • “Students are sent home from school as soon as the case is discovered, with treatment instructions. If parents have treated their child’s hair, they are allowed to return to school the next day but first checked by the school nurse to ensure they are lice-free.
  • If kids have no lice, but a few nits (louse eggs) they may proceed to class.
  • Written notification is sent home to parents about the case of lice with recommendations to do head checks of their children.”

Related link: bedford.patch.com

Rockland County Schools

Nyack Public Schools

Rockland School Head Lice Policies

Following is the district’s head lice policy:

“The Nyack Board of Education recognizes that control of the spread of communicable disease is essential to the well-being of the school community and to the efficient operation of the schools. The Board shall be bound by the statutes and by the rules of the State Board of Education for the exclusion and readmission of pupils who have contracted a communicable disease, the exclusion of teachers and pupils who have been exposed to communicable disease, and for the instruction of teachers in health and the prevention of the disease. The Board shall comply with the regulations of the New York Department of Health governing the prevention, control, and reporting of communicable disease.

The Nyack Board of Education believes that pediculosis (head lice) is a communicable condition. Students identified as having pediculosis shall be excluded from school and considered absent until the student exhibits no evidence of live lice. If it is determined that the student has live lice present, the parent will be notified and the student will be sent home. Students with nits only, will not be excluded from school (American School Health Association, 2009). If viable nits are found within 1⁄2 inch of the scalp, the parent will be notified but the student may remain in school for the day. The student must be treated and the viable nits removed before the student may return to school. The parent will be called and provided with a lice information packet including this head lice policy.”

Related link:  nyackliberty.org

Clarkstown (New City) Public Schools

Clarkstown Schools have a “no-nit” policy. The web site states, “We recognize that having head lice affects your family is a nuisance. Our goal in school is to limit the number of families affected. If a student has been treated effectively and is free of nits, we know that the student will not bring the problem to other students.”

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