Mar 15, 2016 4:11 PM

Manchester school board members re-evaluate district head lice policy

MANCHESTER — Balancing the need to keep kids in school with the desire to prevent the spread of head lice is leading the school board to review its head lice policy.

According to the Union Leader, school board member Lisa Freeman asked school officials to review the district’s policy after receiving multiple complaints from parents dealing with lice infestations this school year.

Last year, with the support of City Health Director Tim Soucy, the board voted to give nurses and principals more discretion to keep kids in school if nits (lice eggs) are discovered.

“The policy does provide for sending a child home if the child is uncomfortable or the school nurse or administrator deems it necessary,” Soucy said.

“What I’m hearing from parents is the policy is not working,” said Freeman.

The actual number of cases identified by the district is down, Soucy noted. There were 57 identified cases of head lice last year and 42 so far this year, he said.

“If the numbers are less than last year, and we are following best practices across the country, why would you go back to the old policy?” he asked. The prior policy called for students to be sent home immediately if nits or lice were discovered and students could only return to class after treatment and examination by a school nurse.

Committee members asked Soucy to attend their next meeting and bring information on how many students with lice have been sent home under the new policy.

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