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Schools Across The US Eliminate "No Nit" Head Lice Policy
Research by LiceDoctors Head Lice Treatment Service reveals that in accordance with recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics many schools across the country now allow students with head lice eggs (nits) to remain in school.
The reason behind this policy change is that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses have recommended that schools drop their "no nit" policies as they believe that students are missing too much school unneccessarily. The rationale postulated is that by the time a case of head lice is diagnosed, the child has likely been in school for a few weeks so has already exposed other kids to the case. Also, nits are not transferable, only live bugs are.
In Portland, Oregon, the policy is stated as “A student with no live lice may return to school, even if nits are present. Parents are strongly urged to remove all nits from their child’s hair to help prevent re-infestation.”
St. Louis, LaDue, Kirkland, and Clayton Missouri Public School Districs have all adopted the current policy of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that “children should not be excluded or sent home early from school because of head lice or nits."
In Illinois, Chicago, Willmette, Lake Zurich, the schools also do not maintain "no nit" policies. In Evanston/Skokie, the policies are even more lenient: students with live bugs are allowed to remain in school until the end of the day and are then sent home to be treated. There is some dissent among parents who argue that this policy fosters the spread of head lice.
While all the districts around Tulsa, Oklahoma still maintain "no nit" policies, the Tulsa School District has eliminated its "no nit" policy. Broken Arrow, Jenks, and Sperry districts all still have "no nit" policies in place.
In the Louisville, Kentucky area, both Bullitt and Jefferson Counties have elminated their "no nit" policies. The policies are stated that "students with nits only will be admitted to school, while those with live lice will not be admitted."
The California State Department of Health goes farther than other states in recommending that students with live lice be allowed to stay in school until the end of the day. Some districts across the state have adopted this lenient policy while others have "no nit" policies or "nit only but no live lice" policies in place. Schools in states including Texas, Tennesee, Connecticut, New York, Washington, and Colorado and others are moving toward dropping their "no nit" policies.
LiceDoctors owner, Karen Sokoloff, states that there are arguments to be made on both sides of this issue. Parents who have spent time and money elminating head lice in their children do not want their child to be put at any increased risk of exposure to other children who have a case. On the other hand, nits are not contagious and if a child is being properly treated, then he or she can not transmit a case to anyone else. "This is a gray area because whether someone with nits is contagious, depends on the quality of the follow-up treatment. If the nits are elminated before they hatch then the child is not contagious. If, however, the nits are left in and are allowed to hatch, eventually the lice will mature and the child will then be contagious."