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Call for lice nurses
Mario Xuereb
March 16, 2008

SCHOOL principals are calling for dedicated head lice nurses after reports of a recent surge in lice infestations.

Hot weather is a boon for the pests, which spread through head-to-head contact mostly among primary school children.

Victorian Principals Association president Fred Ackerman said the task of fighting head lice would be better suited to nurses than teachers.

Teachers are told to be on the lookout for lice but can't physically search children's scalps without parents' permission, undermining efforts to stamp out the bugs. Mr Ackerman said all schools needed access to a nurse for routine checks.

"You'd have to go a long way back to find a time where there was almost universal coverage from local councils for lice inspection," he said. "Qualified nurses were much more comprehensive and the treatment more timely."

The principal of Sydenham-Hillside Primary School, Peter Devereux, who used to manage the lice eradication program for the Education Department, said it was an eternal struggle to combat the problem in all schools.