According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that "no-nit" policies should be discontinued. "No-nit" policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:
- Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as 'casings'.
- Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
- The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
- Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.
According to health services records, the Holden R-III School District has reported 19 students with head lice in the 2015-2016 school year. The Holden R-III School District reported 21 students with head lice in the 2013-2014 school year and 17 students with head lice during the 2014-2015 school year. Throughout Missouri, school districts' head lice procedures vary. The Holden R-III School District's procedure below is based upon the recommendations of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention and the Missouri Department of Health.
Holden R-III Head Lice Procedure (Updated February 26, 2016)
The school district observes the following procedure regarding head lice:
1. Holden Elementary students are screened for head lice two times per year. The first screening is held within the first week of school and the second screening is conducted on the second day after students return from Christmas break.
2. The nurse will check middle school and high school students who are living in the same household as elementary students diagnosed with lice during the screening. Parents of students with lice are contacted and asked to pick up their child(ren) from school. Parents are given information on how to treat the head lice at that time. The school also provides the supplies necessary to treat the student if parents are unable to provide this. The school also will transport the student home if parents are unable to pick up their child.
3. Students who are sent home due to head lice are checked by the nurse after they have been treated. Students are allowed to return to class if there are no live lice present on their head. Parents are notified if there are still nits on the student’s head but they are allowed to return to class. Students that are found to have live lice for a second time will be sent home and will not be allowed to return to school until the student is live lice free and nit-free.
4. Students who are sent home with head lice are not permitted to ride the bus to school until they have been rechecked and cleared by the nurse. If parents are unable to pick up the child, the school may treat the student at school with parent permission.
5. When there are several cases of head lice in a particular classroom, students are required to put their coats, hats, gloves, etc.. in plastic trash bags before hanging them on the coat hooks unless the classroom has individual cubbies for the students.
6. In classrooms where there have been several students with head lice, a letter is sent to parents of the children in that classroom to alert them to the situation and to provide information on ways to prevent the spread of lice.
Heartland Healthy Heads 24 Hour Lice Line: (913) 730-NITS (6487)Heartland Healthy Heads provides education and community awareness to assist with prevention and control of head lice. For more information, visit http://heartlandhealthyheads.com/