District lice information needs updating
By Beth Williams, Current Staff
Have you borrowed a comb or brush lately? Then, you may have a bigger problem than messy hair.
Head lice, small, wingless insects that live on the human scalp, can spread from person-to-person through items that have been in contact with the head of one infested with lice. If you are concerned, see a school nurse immediately. The nurse will explain how to exterminate the lice quickly and effectively, and even give you a handout in case you need to continue your treatment at home.
However, might this well-intentioned official handout contain misleading information?
“I don’t like it,” said district nurse Sally Spaeth, referring to the current handout. “We are going to be changing some of the wording in here.”
Recently, it has come to the district’s attention that the information sent to students and parents explaining what lice are and how to get rid of them is flawed. There has been much concern about whether the information provided by the district is relevant and matches the advice issued by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is a government agency that conducts and supports health promotion, prevention, and preparedness.
Although not everyone at the high school will experience head lice, it is still important that the policies related to this ailment are corrected. The district does not want to give parents the wrong advice on how to deal with this problem, which could cause the lice to multiply and spread to others.
Spaeth is helping to improve the handout that is sent to parents when cases of lice are discovered in the schools.
An example of the problematic phrasing can be seen in the statement, “eggs or nits must be removed by… cutting off the hair strands that the nits are attached to.” Although the lice treatments are able to work better when the hair is shorter, all of a child’s hair does not need to be cut off in order to remove lice, according to Spaeth.
“That is kind of harsh, but sometimes a few strands of hair need to be cut in order to remove all of the lice eggs,” said Spaeth.
Randy Marquardt, the president of the school board, agrees that these policies should be updated. Even though he does not work directly with cases of lice, he is still aware of the need to improve the district’s policies often, especially ones related to the health or safety of students.
“This specific policy was reviewed before the school year by the nurses and administration,” recounted Marquardt.
Although it’s not everyone’s favorite topic, having an effective policy in place helps keep any incidents of head lice from becoming more widespread.
(Photographs by Beth Williams.)