Head lice are a common problem throughout Texas schools, childcare facilities, and camps. If your child comes home from school itching their head vigorously or complaining that they can feel things moving on their scalp, they may be infested with these tiny insects. While head lice do not pose any health risks to young children, it’s still important to remedy the situation as soon as you can. In part one of this article, we discussed the basics of head lice along with some common signs and symptoms of an infestation. In part two, we’ll look at how to check your child for head lice at home, as well as cover the Texas state laws and school policies surrounding these annoying critters.
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How To Check Your Child For Head Lice At Home
If you’re concerned your child has head lice, you can conduct an in-home inspection before you bring them to a specialist. To check your child’s head for lice, follow the steps below:
- Ask your child to sit down in a brightly lit room
- Part their hair and look for crawling lice or nits on your child’s scalp
- Live lice can be hard to find because they tend to avoid light and can move quickly. Your best bet is to look for nits. These will look like small white or yellow specks near the hair and scalp. One of the best places to look for nits is near the hairline at the back of the neck or behind the ears.
- Use a fine-tooth comb to help you search your child’s scalp section by section.
Texas State Law & School Policies Addressing Head Lice
Since head lice do not cause serious harm to children, there are no laws in Texas that address excluding children with head lice from school. While The Texas Department of Health Services (DSHS) does not have the authority to impose a set policy on the exclusion or inclusion of students with head lice in the various school districts, they do urge schools to ensure that their policies and procedures do not cause children to miss class unnecessarily. In addition to this recommendation, the DSHS also suggests that schools do not encourage the embarrassment and isolation of students who suffer from repeated cases of head lice.
According to an article that was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “No healthy child should be excluded from or allowed to miss school time because of head lice or nits. Pediatricians may educate school communities that no-nit policies for return to school should be abandoned.”
During the 2017 Legislative Session, Senate Bill 1566 was passed into law, which stated, “The board of trustees of an independent school district shall adopt a policy requiring a school nurse of a public elementary school who determines or otherwise becomes aware that a child enrolled in the school has lice shall provide written or electronic notice of that fact to:
(1) the parent of the child with lice as soon as practicable but not later than 48 hours after the administrator or nurse, as applicable, determines or becomes aware of that fact; and
(2) the parent of each child assigned to the same classroom as the child with lice not later than the fifth school day after the date on which the administrator or nurse, as applicable, determines or becomes aware of that fact.”
Setting Lice Policies for School Districts in Texas
As we mentioned above, there is no law in Texas that addresses excluding children with head lice from school. It is up to the school districts themselves to create policies and procedures with the district’s health advisory council, local healthcare providers, school nurses, and parents. School districts and campuses have the power to create their own guidelines by developing written policies that:
- Work to facilitate efficient and consistent lice policies throughout each campus
- Protect school nurses, teachers, and other school staff from lice infestations
- Create peace of mind for school administrators and parents
- Ensure all children are treated in a fair and equitable manner
Lice Treatment Solutions in Houston
If you live near Houston and you feel that you or a loved one may have head lice, contact the professionals at Lice Treatment Solutions today. We’re proud to be a leading provider of head lice treatment services throughout Texas, and we offer effective treatments that will save you time, money, and aggravation. When you visit our facility, our clinicians will carefully inspect your hair and scalp or signs of lice before recommending the best treatment for you. Call us today to schedule an appointment!