WCSD Head Lice Policy - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

WCSD Head Lice Policy

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We reached out to the Washoe County School District over a grandparents' concern over head lice in a Reno area elementary school. 

The policy "supports the inclusion and academic achievement of students with verified cases of head lice, while implementing standard control measures to minimize the spread..."

Experts say that while they are irritating and icky, head lice are relatively harmless and could have a larger social impact than health impact. 

"They cause social isolation among kids. Which is not a good thing," says Dana Balchunas, Director of Student Health Services for the Washoe County School District, "You don't want any child to be known as the lice kid. That's kind of tragic when something like that happens."

If a child has lice at a district school, once the nurse verifies the case, the parents are notified immediately. The parent then has the option of picking the student up immediately to start treatment or the kid may return to class and start treatment once they go home at their normal time. The student is then monitored by the nurse and if it appears that treatment isn't happening, they reach out to the parents to find out why.

"Is it a financial issue, is it access to something you know a pharmaceutical product that could help?" says Balchunas, "Is it not knowing how to comb out nits and lice. What is the barrier and how can we solve this? Because it needs to be solved."

Balchunas says it's important to remember that lice cannot jump or fly so they are most commonly spread through direct head-to-head contact. Hair brushes and hats are other ways for the bugs to spread, so teach your child not to share those items. 

If more than one student has lice then the school takes extra steps to educate students and to notify parents in order to minimize spread.

To see the whole policy, click here.

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