How school district handles lice

To the editor:

This letter is in response to Mr. Steinberg’s comments about the lice concerns at Jefferson Elementary School and his concern that the school isn’t doing enough. I would like to let the community and parents know what we are doing.

When a child is found to have a case of live lice while in school, a parent is called and informed that the child needs to be treated before the next school day. The child can remain in school (per CDC recommendations), or the parent can choose to take the child home. We also check the siblings of this child, if they are in the NUPS system. The following day, that child is re-screened to assure there are no live lice. We also send home an educational letter to the parents of the children in that child’s class informing them that their child may have been exposed to lice and asking them to check their own children at home.

As far as spot checks, we screen children at school if they are having symptoms. We do not screen full classrooms…. that is why letters are sent to parents.

Yes, unfortunately, there are parents that we work with who are not treating their children’s lice and who don’t do the follow-up work at home that is required in order to get rid of the lice. We work with these parents on an individual basis and we have gotten social services involved, if needed.

I do agree with Mr. Steinberg that there needs to be more education done related to lice. Education for students, school staff, and parents. Letters are sent to parents at the beginning of the school year informing them of the procedure done at school for lice and educating them about lice in general. Informational letters are sent to parents when a case of lice is found. Staff are given information every year about lice and we educate them on what to do in the classrooms, etc. In our world of technology and accessibility, there are also many reputable sources out there for parents to educate themselves at home.

Lice are not and should not be considered a school responsibility only. I believe we do a good job in doing our part, but we can always improve and try to do better. But we also need all parents to do their part by educating themselves and their children, and following up and doing the necessary steps at home.

Remember, lice are a nuisance and no one wants to have them in their home, but they are not an infectious disease. Let’s keep that in perspective.

Sharon Larson, RN

ISD #88 School Nurse