BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Brunswick County school leaders have voted to adopt a stricter policy for control of head lice in county schools.
According to school officials, there has been a lot of concern from parents and teachers about head lice bugs and lice eggs, also called nits, in county schools.
Head lice is commonly known to be more of a nuisance as opposed to a threat to public safety, according to the CDC.
However, some people who work or have children in Brunswick County schools say that the head lice problem is becoming much more than just a nuisance.
Parents and teachers say they're seeing an infestation of the nits in children's hair, where lice lay eggs.
Vickie Smith, Principal at Union Elementary in Shallotte told the Brunswick County School Board in January that head lice has been a reoccurring problem in her school all year long.
Smith said some of the students at her school have missed multiple days of class due to head lice.
Additionally, the problem is costing parents hundreds of dollars for treatment.
Many say that the problem starts with the eggs, or nits, and the county wife policy needs to be addressed to encompass that.
Brunswick County most recently changed its policy in 2009. That policy read that only the children who had actual live lice were to be released from school. In an effort to improve student attendance, students with nits were allowed to stay in schools.
Tuesday night, school board members voted 4-1 to adopt a stricter policy regarding the control of head lice.
Under the new revised policy, students will not be allowed to attend school when lice (live bugs) or nits (eggs) are present.
In addition, since school staff members may be unable to determine whether nits are dead after treatment, the presence of any lice or nits requires that the student remains at home.
Students are not to return to school until they have received treatment and all lice and nits have been removed from the child, as verified through re-screening by school staff.
To assist in minimizing student absence during treatment of head lice, school nurses will communicate with families as a liaison between the school and home. Students who are accumulating multiple absences due to re infestation will be referred to school social workers who will make contact with the child's parent/guardian to offer support and assistance.
The new policy goes into effect immediately.
The board will review this policy again after this current school year to evaluate the number of children who missed school time because of the presence of lice or nits.
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