Wisconsin school district loosens lice policies to keep students in classroomSchools throughout Sheboygan County have loosened their lice policies, allowing students with the scalp-infesting insects to remain in the classroom rather than miss school time.
By: Associated Press report, Sheboygan (Wis.) Press
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Schools throughout Sheboygan County have loosened their lice policies, allowing students with the scalp-infesting insects to remain in the classroom rather than miss school time.
The Sheboygan Area School District used to send kids home if they had lice, but the district changed its policies to prevent kids from missing time in class, the Sheboygan Press reported.
The district updated its policies after the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups suggested that students with lice not be removed from the classroom because the insects aren't life-threatening, said Sharon Daun, the district's nurse supervisor.
“What was happening was students were missing months of school,” Daun said. “I had one student who missed actually like six months of school.”
The idea behind sending kids home was to prevent a spread of the insects. But Daun said there are always lice around, and the problem is one that doesn't go away.
Other area districts are following similar policies, as are schools in at least six other states.
The Sheboygan Falls School District modified its own policy last year. Now its schools are only required to send home students with active lice, district nurse Mary Raml said. Once the student is treated, which usually only takes a day, the child is allowed back in the classroom.
The Sheboygan district used to send letters home whenever it found that a student had lice. But that practice has been discontinued, except when there are three or more cases in a classroom.
Daun said there were a few reasons for no longer sending home letters. She said some parents tended to panic and buy lice-killing products even when their kids weren't affected, and students were sometimes embarrassed if their cases became known.
Some groups, such as the National Pediculosis Association in Massachusetts, oppose the loosening of lice policies. The group says the updated policies will lead to a spread of the bugs, and it urges parents to screen their children's hair regularly.