National Association of School Nurses (NASN) believe head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) in our schools "should not disrupt the educational process," abandoning “no-nit” school policy in Rome.

Rome Sentinel reporter Dave Dymburch writes about a Rome school district substitute teacher, who doesn't agree with the new policy and feels it's increasing the spread of lice and nits. She said instead of children being sent home to start treatment, and they are now sent back to class and parents/caregivers are notified at the end of the school day of the head lice infestation. She tells the Rome Sentinel that “...there seems to be a huge increase...this year” and everyone needs to be notified of how the school is now handling the infestation of lice on a student.

School district Superintendent Peter C. Blake told the Rome Sentinel that the changes stem from new findings by the National Association of School Nurses, and students will remain in school if nurses determine they can. Blake commented, “...we base our procedures off of the recommendations of the medical profession and our school nursing staff. Unfortunately, many people don’t agree with various decisions because they either aren’t informed, don’t want to believe the new research, or simply just don’t want to listen." Blake tells the Rome Sentinel:

“Beyond the documentation stating that students should remain in school, as a district it is our priority to educate students...As long as students are deemed able to remain in school by our professional nurses, then we are going to keep them in school so that they can learn. The bottom line is that most people that complain about things like this are not medical professionals or nurses, and I will side on the advice and practices of professionals before individuals that want to react to situations emotionally without understanding research or having proper knowledge of the situation.”

The NASN says:

Head lice are not known to cause disease; however, secondary bacterial infection of the skin resulting from contaminated scratching and related lesions can occur. Research has shown that the survival of head lice when not on the head is usually less than one day, and the eggs can only hatch when incubated by body heat found near the scalp (Devore et al., 2015; CDC, 2013c). Transmission occurs primarily through head-to-head contact and infrequently through indirect contact with shared personal belongings.

Do you have any thoughts on the new policy? Please let us know in the comments.

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