Reminder: Students with head lice not allowed in schools

Policy change in April 2014 prevails

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Reminder: Schools will NOT allow students with head lice to remain in school.

After Broward County attempted to make the standing policy more lenient and allow students with lice to remain in school back in March, outrage from parents and teachers quickly convinced the district to reverse the decision just a month later.

The current policy states that children will be sent home if they have lice or nits in their hair.

Head lice are very small, flat, wingless insects with three pairs of legs, each having delicate hooks.  These hooks help the insect move about the scalp or hair shaft, keeping them from being brushed or washed out.

Head lice are transmitted most often by sharing combs, brushes or other hair accessories.  They can also spread by sharing hats, caps, wigs, pillows, bedding or coats.  The insect must travel from the scalp of an individual with head lice, to the scalp of another.  However, head lice cannot survive long without a human host.  Within 24 hours they will dehydrate and die.

Symptoms of head lice include persistent itching behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, restlessness or poor attention span and in severe cases, swollen lymph glands in the neck and under the arms.  As many as 50% of students with head lice can be without symptoms, though.

If an individual is identified as having head lice, immediately remove all bedding and wash it in hot soapy water.  Clean all combs, brushes and hair accessories in hot soapy water as well.  Vacuuming is currently the most effective way to clean the home environment.

The lice will need to be manually removed from the individual's scalp. Manual removal is the safest method, but if desired, an over the counter lice product can be used.

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