My school district abolished it's no nit policy this year, and I am proud to say that it was largely in part to my investigation and presentation of the facts regarding head lice transmission. The simple truth is this, you cannot catch lice from nits, only from live lice. Our new policy states that a child is only excluded from school when there are live lice. They may return to school once a treatment program has begun, at the discretion of the school nurse. We do not encourage or promote the use of "lice shampoos". This decision is left up to the parent once they have received the pros and cons of using these chemicals. It is entirely possible to eliminate head lice without the use of these agents (many children are put at risk because of a parent's excessive use of pesticide shampoos). Classrooms are only screened if several children are known to have live lice. Mass screenings are a waste of time and do not work. They cause general alarm and misconceptions amongst parents and staff. I for one am sick to death of the prejudice and hysteria that no nit polices have promoted in schools
for years and years. I swear that there are parents who would rather their kids have pneumonnia than the dreaded head lice. I know from personal experience when my kids were young, that it is a major pain in the behind, but we're not talking life or death here, are we? School nurses need to help reduce the lice mania, with explanation and communication to staff and parents alike. We don't exclude children with AIDS, why in the world should we exclude children from school because they have an unhatched louse egg that NUMBER 1-is glued to the hair shaft, and temperature conditions won't allow to hatch if the hair falls off the head and NUMBER 2-if a child has been treated with a lice shampoo, that egg is probably an empty casing or unviable egg anyway. I do follow students with head lice for as long as it takes, until the head is clear and remains clear. I have found that this calm, accepting attitude goes a long way with my parents, and helps avoid alot of the frustrations, and truancy, that used to go along with excluding these kids for days and days. Thanks for listening!