School funding is directly linked to Average Daily Attendance (ADA). Based on the top performing public schools it costs approximately $70 to $80 per day to send a student to school. When a student is absent from school that $70-$80 is considered lost funds. If a student is absent on average 3 times in a school year that school loses $225 per student per school year.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with new recommendations stating that children with head lice and or nits pose no health threat to other students. A “no nit” policy is not necessary and the child should remain in school. Missed days of school do not out weigh the consequences of a case of head lice. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) says, “No disease is associated with head lice, and in-school transmission is considered to be rare.” While I agree with the first part of this statement, I ask you as a parent or a school nurse if you believe that “in-school transmission is considered to be rare”?
I feel in an effort to improve the ADA, and put more money back into the budgets of our schools the “no nit” policy was supported by these government agencies. To make matters worse, the over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pesticides products have become less effective and that is what these agencies recommend for treatment.
We see families affected by these policies and recommendations often. They are frustrated to say the least. The public reaction when the CDC and AAP came out with the new “no nit” policy was outrage. Here is just one reaction; CDC down graded lice as a nuisance.
Lice infestations are on the rise and school budgets are on the decline. In an effort to reduce absenteeism from school due to lice, we must rely on each other as parents to control the outbreaks. We can no longer rely on the schools’ “no nit” policies. Whether a “no nit” policy is the wave of the future or not, parent education is a must. We can erase the stigma using good communication, safe, effective treatment, and head lice detection and prevention.