Local schools relax long-standing head lice policies

CREATED Nov 12, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov 12, 2013

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SHEBOYGAN - Many school districts are abandoning live head lice policies that required staff to immediately remove a child from the classroom.

TODAY'S TMJ4 spoke with parents at the end of the Cooper Elementary school day in Sheboygan about dealing with lice.
"They've got to be scrubbed down head to toe.  You've got to start picking through the hair," said parent Joe Wamser.  "We had a scare.  Someone at school had it."
Schools throughout Sheboygan County are loosening their lice policies, allowing students with the scalp-infesting insects to remain in the classroom rather than miss school time.
A Sheboygan Press Media report says the Sheboygan Area School District used to send kids home if they had lice. The district changed its policies to prevent kids from missing time in class.
The idea behind sending kids home was to prevent a spread of the contagious insects. But district nurse supervisor Sharon Daun says there are always lice around, and the problem is one that doesn't go away.
She says in one case a student missed about six months of school because of lice.
Other area districts are following similar policies, as are schools in at least six other states.
"If a student is found with lice, we notify the parent, we have the student treated and we send letters home to the parents," said Plymouth School District superintendent Carrie Dassow.  "We're all about education here and so, of course, it's very important for us to have children in the classroom."
While just the thought of head lice may be enough to give you the willies, they are not as contagious as some may think.  Doctors say head lice are a nuisance, but they don't spread disease.   
The American Academy of Pediatrics says 'no healthy child should be excluded from or allowed to miss school time for head lice.  No nit policies for return to school should be abandoned.'