How did the school determine the head lice policy?
This policy at BCCSC has not yet been revised according to the most current evidence-based practice. The current recommendations are supported by the following organizations: Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Indiana Department of Education, Indiana State Health Department, National Association of School Nurses, National PTA, and the National School Board Association.
The most current recommendation is that children with live lice should remain at school and the educational process should not be disrupted since lice do not carry disease and are not a health issue. All of our health policies and procedures are reviewed regularly. The decisions that are made are not taken lightly and many factors unique to our community and corporation are considered as well.
What is the school’s position on head lice?
At this time, when a student is found to have live lice, the parent/guardian will be notified. The parent / guardian will receive instructions on the treatment practices to control head lice at home and the requirements for returning to school. When a student in school is found to have nits / eggs in their hair, the parent / guardian will be informed. However, that student will continue to attend classes. The parent/ guardian will be advised to check for nits and lice at least every night for 7 - 10 days. The student accompanied by the parent / guardian or their designee may return to school following treatment. The student’s hair will be checked for effectiveness of treatment. The school nurse, assistant school nurse, or health care office assistant may ask for additional information - such as what products are being used to be of further assistance. Mass screenings of classrooms will not be done routinely. Only symptomatic students with live lice will be checked at school. Education and assistance with resources will be provided for students and their families. The school nurse will work closely with families who have chronic infestations. "Super Lice" or lice that is resistant to tradition over the counter treatments has been found in all 50 states. Therefore, if live lice are found after treating according to package directions, the product may be ineffective and you should contact your child's healthcare provider for additional assistance.
A few facts regarding head lice:
- While head lice are a nuisance, they do not spread disease and are not a health issue.
- The management of head lice should not disrupt the educational process of the child.
- By the time an infestation is found, the child is likely to have had it for at least a month.
- Head lice do not come from out of the air or from the ground.
- Head Lice have been found on people of all socio-economic levels. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
- Children, particularly those of elementary school age, are most likely to get head lice because of their close contact with each other.
- The main symptom is itching of the head.
- There is no way to know where a child got head lice. Homes or schools do not get head lice - people do. Current research indicates that most lice infestations are rarely contacted in the school setting.
What if my child has a change in health status?
You should contact the school nurse regarding changes in the student’s health and explain how your child’s health needs have changed. As stated under the medication policy, if there are specific orders that need to be carried out while your child is at school, even if the treatment is exactly the way it is done at home, the School Nurse will need an actual doctor’s order due to state laws and practice guidelines, specifically the Nurse Practice Act. If a new condition is diagnosed, it would be helpful for the school nurse to assess medical records to develop the best plan of care for your child during school. This would require a release of information form to be signed by the parents. This is in the best interest of your child’s health and safety. Measures to ensure confidentiality are in place at school and information will be shared with only those who have an educational interest in your child, our student.
What is syndromic surveillance?
Syndromic surveillance is the tracking of symptoms among a population and monitoring for patterns or for outbreaks or epidemics. The School Nurse is required by the state of Indiana to report to the Jackson County Health Department if the attendance decreases to 80% or less (20% of the student enrollment absent) and report the types of symptoms the staff or students report. The Jackson County Health Officer, Dr. Bunce will then determine if further investigation is required. For this reason, we are asking that when you call and report your child’s absence or send a note that you get in the habit of offering a brief explanation of the students physical symptoms if the illness is the reason for the absence. When school staff asks you additional questions when you call in for your student, please do not be offended and please know it is not because the individual is questioning your good parental judgment. Please note this information is for symptom tracking purposes so nursing staff can track absentee patterns an symptoms among classrooms / grades etc.
My child has been sick so when can he/she return to school?
There are many different illnesses that require a child to be away from school while the potential to be infectious still exists. I have listed some of the most common illnesses below. If your child's healthcare provider does not give you specific instructions, you may call me and I will be happy to assist you, as there are specific state department of health guidelines for most contagious illnesses.
- Strep infection 24 - 48 hours after being started on antibiotic therapy
- Conjunctivitis – 24 hours after being started on prescriptive antibiotic eye drops
- Fever – 24 hours after increased temperature has resolved without the use of medications (Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen) to keep your child afebrile