SA school districts not required to send home students who test positive for lice

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SAN ANTONIO – KSAT reached out to 13 local school districts regarding the lice policy for students and found that the district’s policies don’t require students to be sent home if they’re found to have head lice.

The school districts are also not required to report the number of cases of head lice to the health department.

Of the 13 school districts KSAT contacted, five returned requests for information: 

North East
Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City
East Central

The school districts that responded provided the following:

Northside Independent School District

If a student is found to have lice at an NISD school, the student’s parents are given an option to pull their child out of class.

“We will contact the parent/guardian and give him/her the option to pick up the student to begin treatment immediately, or for the student to remain for the rest of that school day with the understanding treatment will be completed after school,” a spokesperson for NISD said.

The school nurse will check students upon their return to school, and if the student is still found to have lice they will be sent home.

NISD confirmed the district adheres to Senate Bill 1566, which requires parents of elementary school students to be notified of active cases of head lice within five days of detection.

North East Independent School District 

The NEISD policy for lice advises that parents should be contacted in the event that their child has a confirmed case of lice.

Students are not required to be sent home but a letter must be sent home with the student in a sealed envelope in order to keep all information confidential. 

The district changed its policy starting in the 2017-2018 school year in accordance with Senate Bill 1566.

NEISD confirmed the following for the 2017-2018 school year:

Elementary schools - 857 parents contacted
Middle schools - 47 parents contacted
High schools - 26 parents contacted

Scherzo-Cibolo-Universal City School District

When KSAT reached out to SCUCISD, the district sent the following:

"A school nurse or administrator who discovers or becomes aware that a child enrolled in a District elementary school has lice shall provide written or electronic notice to parents within the time frames prescribed in law."

East Central Independent School District

ECISD averages about 100 referrals for lice per school year but added that those are not all single cases. Many students have repeat cases of head lice.

According to the district's policy, a student will be sent to the nurse if he/she is suspected of having lice to protect anonymity.

If the student is found to have lice, he/she will be sent back to class and any siblings also attending school within the district will be checked.

Parents of any student with a confirmed case of head lice will be notified but students are not sent home when lice is found.

The district’s policy also states that letters to parents will not be sent home if only a single case of lice is found on campus.

The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice, according to the district's policy.

Southside Independent School District

SISD doesn’t keep track of the number of reported lice cases on district campuses for each individual school year, according to a district spokesperson.

The district policy dictates that parents of elementary school students must be notified “as soon as practicable but not later than 48 hours” after a student is found to have head lice.

Elementary students in the same classroom as the child confirmed to have lice must be notified within five days.

**If you have questions about the lice policy at your child’s school, please contact the school directly.

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