School lice policies becoming more lenient? Some nurses no longer send 'lice notes' to parents

Policy shift looks to keep students in class

WASHINGTON - Some parents are scratching their heads over less restrictive head lice policies that allow children with live bugs in their hair to return to the classroom.

Some school nurses are no longer sending home "lice notes" to parents of other children in the classroom. The policy shift is designed to help keep children from missing class, shield children with lice from embarrassment and protect their privacy.

Deborah Pontius, the school nurse for the Pershing County School District in Lovelock, Nev., says lice are not dangerous or infectious, and they're easy to treat.

She says that by the time a child is sent to the nurse, classmates already would have been exposed and there's little additional risk. Once home, the parent would treat the child.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lice infestations (pediculosis and pthiriasis) are spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice. Lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly.

Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for treatment of lice infestations.

For more on how to treat a child for head lice, watch a parent's guide below courtesy of the Academy of Dermatology (mobile users:

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