Back to School Lice Check Reminder
Hawthorne Valley School Head Lice Policy
Please be sure to check your child's scalp and hair for lice before sending them back to school. Your eyes are the best defense, but in addition to your check, at the start of school or following school vacations of a week or more, a lice check will be performed on children in the early childhood program and grades 1-3. If an infestation of lice occurs on a child in a class, another lice check may occur. If a child is found to have lice, nymphs, or nits (eggs) the parent will be called and asked to take the child home immediately to receive removal treatment. The child may not return to school until all lice and nits are gone. Again, this policy is due to the difficulty in determining whether a nit is actually viable or not. A child may return to class once the treatment and comb out have been performed and no nits, nymphs, or lice are visible upon inspection.
According the Control of Communicable Disease in the School Setting guidelines from the State of New York Department of Education, Pediculosis Capitis is a directly transmissible parasitic skin infestation involving the head. This resource provides a variety of information from epidemiological sources and is available to read in our Main Office. We also have available some suggested treatment modalities garnered from a professional lice removal service.
Our program in the early childhood years and early grades involves extensive play and, in the case of the early childhood program, the use of soft toys and mats. Further, in order to fully determine the viability of a nit, special equipment is required, only available at a medical facility. We have done our best to formulate and adopt a policy which will best deal with occurrences of head lice infestations in a manner that will have the least impact on the whole school community:
Should an individual child have recurring bouts with lice, we will require that the family seek the services of a medical professional or a professional lice removal service before the child may return to school. We will require a letter stating that no lice or nits are on the child’s head.
We want to make clear that we are fully in concurrence with the literature on the subject of head lice which states that an infestation does not in any way suggest a neglect of hygiene.
It is not our policy to identify the child with head lice either to other children or to the community, however, sometimes the children or families may themselves share that information and we cannot prevent those conversations from occurring. There are times when every child experiences some event that is out of the ordinary – events in family biography, contagious illness, recovery from accidents, learning challenges, or incidents of parasites – which may each require specific protocols to support remediation and healing. We work consciously to help them through any difficulties which these events might cause.
It is our goal to assist any family affected with head lice within the school community towards a complete removal of the parasite when an infestation occurs.