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Akron schools relax 'no nits' lice policy

By John Published: May 10, 2011

By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer

Akron schoolchildren diagnosed with head lice may return to school as early as the day after treatment, even if lice eggs remain in the hair.

The Akron school board on Monday approved the new policy for all schools in the district.

Board member Lisa Mansfield pushed for a new district-wide policy after learning that some schools were adhering to the district's official ''no nits'' rule and others weren't.

''Some buildings might have been a little more lenient,'' Mansfield said.

The new Akron policy requires that parents be contacted to remove children found to have live lice.

Children may return to school after their hair is treated with a head lice shampoo that kills live lice and most eggs. Parents will have to fill out a form describing the treatment.

Parents also will have to indicate on the form that they've started to remove the nits which are cemented to hair shafts with a stubborn gluelike substance and to treat household items to be sure the lice don't come back.

The National Association of School Nurses urges schools to relax their no-nit requirements, noting that nits more than a quarter of an inch away from the scalp are usually not viable and may actually be empty shells.

''The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice,'' the association says on its website, http://nasn.org.


John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or jhiggins@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the education blog at http://education.ohio.com/.

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