Head Lice (Pediculosis)
It is that time of year, once again, when the weather begins to change. It is also the time when Head Lice (or Pediculosis) begins to make its presence known! If you are called about head lice, please do not panic!
Head lice are NOT life threatening!
Did you know that anyone can get head lice? In fact, these parasites infest over 12 million Americans of all ages and socioeconomic status every year. We know head lice are annoying and upsetting.
The Bloomer School District recognizes that head lice infestations do not pose a health hazard, are not a sign of uncleanliness. The district head lice procedure follows the evidence-based recommendations of the Center for Disease Control, the National Association of School Nurses, the American Academy of Pediatricians. Procedure based on current research will prevent unnecessary absences and the potential negative effects on academic performance and social well-being.
It is the position of the District that the management of pediculosis should not disrupt the education process. Here's what will happen if your child is diagnosed with a case of head lice:
IF SUSPECTED . . .
1. If suspected of having head lice, your child may be removed from the classroom to be checked by school personnel. A student who may have head lice will most likely have the following symptoms:
A. Itching behind the ears, at the back of the neck and or on the crown of the head; and
B. The student may have nits and/or live lice.
Note: There are several ways to tell the difference between nits and dandruff. A nit is stuck to the hair shaft and will not shake off as dandruff will. A flake of dandruff is non-dimensional and white, while a nit is teardrop-shaped and silvery-white in color. Nits develop dark centers as they mature.
1. The student may be inspected by school personnel. Inspection requires privacy and good lighting. The following inspection procedures shall be used:
A. Care will be taken to convey a nonjudgmental message with the student.
B. The examination should be done unobtrusively and privately.
C. A call home will be made explaining that a head lice inspection was conducted.
REMEMBER: There is no reason to fear catching lice while inspecting an individual since lice cannot jump and the nits are stuck to the hair shaft. Physicians and other health workers have investigated hundreds of suspected and infested children without catching lice themselves. Simply washing the hands with soap and water is sufficient after inspection.
LIMITING OUTBREAKS . . .
1. The principal/designee reserves the right to inspect the student, siblings, and other contacts attending school in an effort to stem outbreaks in other classes. However, very seldom is inspecting an entire classroom or student body justified. This is a costly, disruptive and often non-productive measure. If twenty percent of a classroom were known to be infested, this measure might be considered and only with consent of or notification to the principal. Classroom checks will only be done by health professionals.
2. The principal may elect to distribute additional information or parent notification of lice in the classroom, but this would rarely be necessary for isolated instances.
3. While no school can be entirely risk free from communicable disease, it is felt that efforts directed toward awareness and prevention will result in fewer infestations. Informational reminders will be sent home three times each school year (in the Elementary and Middle School) reminding parents about preventative measures.
4. Use of pesticide sprays is discouraged in the school setting. Pesticides can only be applied under the direction of a licensed applicator when students are not present.
5. It is uncommon that head lice spread by sharing clothing or belongings. This only happens when lice crawl off the head to a hat, scarf, stuffed animal, furniture. Lice prefer the warm temperature that is close to the human scalp (87-95 degrees).
6. Other classroom measures such as environmental protocols (separating headgear and jackets would be an example) may be implemented at the discretion of the principal.
If you want more information about head lice treatment, you can call the school nurse, or check out these procedures:
Control of Head lice Guidelines