Lice Information For The Educational Sector
The best time to talk about head lice is before there is an outbreak in the school
Be ready at the beginning of school year, when no one is in a state of crisis. Schools have been dealing with head lice for decades and most have a procedure for dealing with outbreaks. Find out what your school’s procedure is in order to be prepared when and if the time comes to use it.
The time will likely come. With 6-12 million cases of head lice estimated to occur each year, odds are that you’ll be dealing with the little bugs at your school. Understanding how you can work with school officials can make it easier.
Check costumes so you don’t get more than you have bargained for!
Make sure you check Halloween Costumes
We never really thought about this but at this time of year when shops are full of wigs and masks and little ones flocking to try them before you buy. Who tried it on just before your child and did they have Head Lice? Just a word of caution it is a time where we see increased numbers of cases of Lice in schools and we always put it down to them being back to school but maybe this is a contributing factor.
Find out more about how to keep hair clear for trick or treat time.
Don’t share costumes with other children.
Beware when trying on wigs, capes and masks.
When the time comes
If you find head lice in your class, by all means contact the school nurse or the appropriate school official. The reality is that the more quickly the school and other parents are informed, the less severe the outbreak will be.
If you are contacting parents about lice in your class, remember they may “shoot the messenger.” The earlier you can act the better and most of the time they are happy to help you deal with the situation
Keep calm and carry on
Teachers, administrators and school nurses have been dealing with lice throughout their careers. You need to be a source of calm when parents get hysterical. You know the facts. Head lice have nothing to do with hygiene and cleanliness. They don’t cause any health problems. They will go away. That said, most people don’t want them around and lice have been historically extremely difficult to eradicate.
Many school districts have changed their policies on head lice. In the past a “no nit” policy was common—meaning a child must stay home from school until he or she is declared free of live lice and eggs (nits). Strict “no nits” policies are now opposed by most school boards. The reason? “The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice,” according to the CDC.
Handle with care
Children simply need to be more careful with their hair when dealing with lice. Once you comb out the live lice, there is little risk of spreading lice to others. Nits don’t spread. Long hair should be pulled back. Hats, brushes and clothes that touch hair should not be shared.
We believe in an “honesty is the best policy” about head lice, especially in schools. There is a tendency for parents to “blame and shame” one another, which really isn’t necessary. No one did anything wrong. Teachers, unfortunately, are often stuck in the middle and that’s not fair. If everyone was honest about when and where they find head lice in their families, everyone’s life would be a little easier.