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Parents come up with solution

By Pam Freeman, Lisa Oelkers and Charlene O’Sullivan
February 21 2007;  Straus Newspapers

To the Editor:

We are writing this in response to the article in the 2/15/07 issue of the Sparta Independent as a concerned group of parents directly affected by the head lice situation and are trying to prevent the spread of head lice in our school system.

In moving forward and learning, a procedure must be put into place to stop the spread and reoccurrence of head lice. Parents, teachers and administrators need to know what part they play in preventing the spread of head lice.

What began as a handful and manageable amount of cases of head lice in the beginning of the school year has increased to at least 31. With proper procedures we can minimize the need for this type of intervention, the use of pesticides on our children’s heads and the unnecessary disruption of the of children and teachers.

Dr. Thomas Morton stated in last weeks article that the “no-nit” policy would mean that infected children would be kept out of school for 7 to 14 days. We feel we have come up with an effective No-Nit Policy that would not require that. With the adoption of this policy we feel the head lice situation can be controlled. Under this policy a child can return to school the day after lice are detected as long as their parents are diligent in following the schools’ procedure for removal of lice and nits.

Proposed No-Nit Policy

1) Upon discovery of case and/or cases of head lice, parents are promptly informed. Those children with lice and/or nits are sent home that day with self-care instructions provided by the school. Since dismissal can be awkward, parents need to be informed discreetly when a child will be dismissed and the conditions for their return.

2) In the notice to parents there will be procedure for killing head lice as well as the treatment and follow-up to prevent reoccurrence. Parents are informed that none of the products are 100 percent effective. The reason for requiring the removal of nits is that 30 percent will live after the first treatment. The only way to ensure these nits don’t hatch into live lice is to manually remove the nits.

3) Your child can return to school after appropriate treatment has been administered at home examination by the school nurse with the parent present. Upon examination, if the child has more than five nits they need to be sent home immediately with the parent. The parent must then continue to manually remove the nits until the child is nit free. If the child has five or less nits, the school nurse will remove the nits send the child to class.

4) The child needs to be examined by the school nurse every day for 11 consecutive school days. During the first 10 days, the child must only have five or fewer nits and no head lice. Child must be nit free by the end of the 11th school day. On the 10th day, parents are required to give their child the second dose of the necessary treatment. If on the 11th day additional nits are still found the child will be sent home and not allowed back to school until they are “nit free.”

Please know that this policy is necessary to prevent the spread of head lice. Parents will play an important role in preventing the spread of head lice among our children. It is important to examine children often, detect head lice and nits as early as possible and remove them safely and effectively. Parents need to include this as part of their hygiene routine. It is not a guarantee that your child will not get head lice but if detected early it will ensure that we will not continue to spread head lice unknowingly.


Pam Freeman, Lisa Oelkers and Charlene O’Sullivan