New school policy in Seymour means students with lice don’t have to go home

Over the counter products for controlling head lice are photographed in Washington, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Some parents are scratching their heads over less restrictive head lice policies that allow children with live bugs in their hair to return to the classroom for the rest of the day. Some school nurses are no longer sending home "lice notes" to parents of other children in the classroom. The policy shift is designed to help keep children from missing class, shield children with lice from embarrassment and protect their privacy. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

SEYMOUR, Ind. (WISH) — A new school policy in Seymour means children will not have to go home if they have lice.

According to 24-Hour News 8’s partners at the Seymour Tribune, the Seymour Community School District passed the new rule on Tuesday.

The policy leaves the ultimate decision for if a student will have to go home up to the school nurse.

“Legally, that is the only person who should be making a medical call on whether a student should be at school or not be at school, unless of course it’s an emergency medical situation,” Superintendent Rob Hooker said.

The new policy comes as a recommendation from the Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hooker said.

Previously, any child with lice was sent home immediately to prevent the bugs from spreading to other children.

According to Hooker, when lice are found, they have already been in the child’s hair for at least 20 days, which means other children have already been exposed. Sending a child home does not prevent an outbreak, he said.

Students will be allowed to return to the classroom after a school nurse has combed all of the lice out of their hair.

Parents will then be notified and given the option to pick up their child right away.

The school’s nurse said students in the past who were sent home for lice missed class for weeks at a time.

Some parents who attended the April school board meeting didn’t agree with the proposal and suggested Child Protective Services be contacted if parents aren’t treating the lice at home.

Hooker said it wasn’t an option because Family Services does not want the school corporation to involve them.

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