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Experts: Kids With Lice Can Go To School

American Academy Of Pediatrics Releases New Recommendations

POSTED: 3:49 p.m. EDT September 3, 2002

UPDATED: 5:35 p.m. EDT September 3, 2002

Contagious as viruses can be, it's wise for children to miss school so they don't spread germs to their classmates.

But what if a child has head lice?

NewsCenter 5's Liz Brunner said that the American Academy of Pediatrics published new recommendations Tuesday that have some school nurses more than a little concerned.

"If we didn't have a no-nit policy here at school it would be a nightmare," Potter Road School registered nurse Maureen Archambault said.

Archambault is well-acquainted with the problem of head lice. Framingham schools have a strict no-nit policy -- that means if head lice or the egg sacks called nits are found on a child's head, that child is sent home.

"It becomes a real issue when you can't get the kids' attention when they're full of head lice," Archambault said. "It's constant irritation to the scalp. They're always busy just scratching themselves."

A statement issued Tuesday by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that school districts do away with no-nit policies.

The report said that head lice is not a serious health hazard and keeps children out of school for too long. The policy also discourages schoolwide screening programs, stating that they don't accurately predict which children will become infested.

Recommendations like these have Archambault bugged.

"We would have no control over the situation, and it would just escalate into being a very, very stressful situation," Archambault said.

It isn't clear what effect these recommendations are going to have, as each school district develops its own guidelines.

In Framingham, the district has no intention of changing its no-nit policies because they appear to have been the reason that the number of head lice cases there has recently declined.

© 2002, Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc.


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