Lice policy for Brunswick schools set for review in January

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By Brian Slattery

Brunswick County schools lice policy will be reviewed in 2014.

The discussion was scheduled for the Brunswick County Board of Education Nov. 5 meeting.

But the issue was tabled after a discussion of removing The Color Purple from the curriculum for advanced placement classes and the county’s curriculum and media collection overtook the meeting agenda.

To do so, they had to push back a discussion until 2014 on their policy for dealing with lice in schools.

Brunswick County Schools spokesperson Jessica Swencki said the Health department determined head lice was not a health threat, instead calling it a nuisance and created new policies for the control, management and treatment of head lice.

“There is a policy in place to deal with lice, which was amended a few years ago by the National Institutes of Health,” Swencki said.

Included in the Brunswick County Board of Education policy manual, policy code 4235/6135 for the control of head lice states:

• Head lice is a common parasitic infestation among school age children. Lice DO NOT cause disease or significant health problems, however, they are a great nuisance, causing classroom disruption, unnecessary absence, and anxiety and frustration for students, parents and educators.

• Brunswick County Schools will insure staff receives annual training of the signs/symptoms related to head lice infestation. The school nurse is available to train school personnel.

• Students found with live head lice should be allowed to stay in the classroom for the remainder of the day and referred to their parents for treatment. Because no disease process is associated with head lice, schools are not advised to exclude students when nits (remnants of lice eggs) remain after appropriate lice treatment.

• Students will be re-screened at school the morning after treatment (to ensure all live lice are gone) and then again in 7–10 days to ensure no additional lice are found.

• Current data does not support school exclusions for just the presence of nits of eggs. Those students with head lice should be treated promptly by their parent/guardian to minimize the continued occurrence/re-occcurrence.

• It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to ensure correct application of shampoo product and follow through with treatment upon recommendation as provided by pharmacist, physician or school nurse.

According to the policy, Brunswick County attempts to provide appropriate health information for treatment and prevention, to prevent overexposure to chemicals and to minimize school absences.

“(Following the policy) we handle lice incidents, when they come up, through the parents,” Swencki added.

Swencki said there had been situations where there had been incidents of lice in the schools that had the board questioning the policy.

The policy also states the superintendent can develop such further procedures as are necessary for the management and control of head lice in the schools.

Now the school board’s policy subcommittee will discuss revising the policy when they meet Tuesday, Jan. 21 2014.

“They will discuss if the policy is working and get input from the principals,” Swencki said.

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.