LiceDoctors Reports Tidewater Virginia Region Undergoes Changes in Its School Lice Policies

According to research conducted by LiceDoctors Head Lice Treatment and Nit Removal Service, several schools in Hampton Roads, Virginia, stretching across the Tidewater area, are altering their school lice policies, now permitting students with nits more than a quarter of inch from the scalp to remain in school. This area is following a trend sweeping the country of schools trying to reduced days of absence due to head lice infestations.

Virginia Beach, VA, November 26, 2013 --( According to lice experts, LiceDoctors Head Lice Treatment Service, in areas in the Tidewater region, some school lice policies are becoming more lenient. Previously children with head lice were excluded from school until the hair had “been treated and all of the eggs (nits) had been removed.” Now some schools are relaxing their head lice policies, and allow students with nits to remain in school if the nits are no longer viable i.e. within a ¼ of the scalp.

According to Mary Shaw, coordinator of health services in Virginia Beach, last year the school district dropped its "no nit" policy, which sent home children found with eggs anywhere on their heads. Until this change in 2012, the schools maintained an absolute “no nit” policy that sent home students with any signs of lice or nits in their hair.

The new policy states that students with head lice and/or viable nits are still sent home as the case is considered contagious. Now, however, “students found with nits more than a quarter-inch from the scalp are allowed to stay because those eggs will never hatch,” Shaw said. “Students found with live infestations or nits nearer the scalp are still sent home. If a cluster of students is found with lice, the rest of the class is still checked.”

The reason for the loosening of criteria for school admission for children with head lice is that the National Association of School Nurses and the American Academy of Pediatricians, recommend that students with nits and even live lice not be sent home as it “disrupts the educational process. Children found with live head lice should remain in class, but be discouraged from close direct head contact with others” While schools in Virginia Beach have become less strict with their school head lice admission policies, they still do not fully follow the recommendation of these two organizations that advocate that children with live bugs should be allowed to remain in school. "Our standard is high for exclusion," Shaw said. "We're not going to share other students' information. We're going to protect our kids. If it was your child, you'd want to do it, too."

While schools in Portsmouth, Virginia have not yet dropped their “no nit” lice policies, they are becoming more lenient with respect to allowing students with nits to return to school if they are being treated. The district sends kids home with live lice, but if they have nits that are not close to the scalp they are allowed to remain and are expected to be treated at home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention insists that while lice are a nuisance, they do not spread disease and are not a sign of poor hygiene. Because lice are a “sensitive topic” for parents, any further liberalizing in the schools’ policy will be done slowly so as not to upset parents. Nurses understand that while parents don't want their children around active cases, they also don’t want them to miss school.

“When a student is found to have lice or nits, the division will notify the child's family to talk about treatment options. Nurses won't send out mass mailings to other classmates. It's an issue of student confidentiality,” says Student Health Services Supervisor Frances Gray, "but also an attempt to limit 'mass hysteria.'”

The region of Hampton Roads and Tidewater is working to establish a school lice policy that both respects the needs of students who are lice-free and allows students with nits to attend school so as not to fall behind. To keep apprised of your school’s policy, call your school nurse.

For more information on LiceDoctors All Natural In-home Professional lice treatment protocol in Tidewater, call 757-609-0509. LiceDoctors treats families in New Port News, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton and many other cities.
Wendy Beck