Schools deal with a lot of issues and one tends to lie in students hair.
The highest risk for head lice infestation are children between the ages of 3 to 11 years old, according to the California Department of Public Heath (CDPH).
The head lice problem has seemingly always been an issue and prevention has changed throughout the years, but before we get into that, what exactly is head lice?
They are small insects that can live in people's hair and despite the fact that lice do die fairly quickly, they tend to glue their eggs to hair, so that the "nits" do not get brushed off. These nits take about six to nine days to hatch and seven or more days for the lice to become egg-laying adults.
Detection is key when it comes to lice prevention and one way to detect lice involves parting hair to examine the scalp, commonly near the ears or back of neck. Wetting hair before combing has also been an effective method to diagnose if someone has an infestation of lice.
Head lice do not jump or fly, so how do children get it? Well, they can get head lice from other classmates when items are shared including, but not limited to, combs, brushes, hats, clothing, helmets, headphones and other personal items, according to the CDPH.
The CDPH also states that there lacks evidence regarding infestation rates being reduced through using routine class or school-wide screenings - which most adults can remember being apart of. But, many schools don't do line checks anymore because they lack the resources. Therefore, detection starts at home and it's up to parents to be aware.
Though head lice doesn't transmit diseases to people, school districts do have their specific guidelines in place, and one of those many districts includes the San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento who enacts those guidelines.
"Three consecutive school days may be granted as excused absences for a student with lice. Weekends are not factored into the count of days for coding excused absences. A one-time extension may be granted by an administrator for a first-time case and with regular communication between the parent and school." according to the San Juan Unified School District website. "These absences would be coded as excused. Future absences due to lice for this student would be coded as unexcused."
The Board Policy 5000/AR 5141.33 states that students may return to school when treatment procedures have been used and when re-examination by a school designee shows that all lice and majority of nits are removed.
Remember, to prevent the spreading of head lice it must be detected. Be aware and be vigilant because school districts will comply.
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