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More Cases of Head Lice Reported at Eason Elementary

For the second time in the four weeks since school started, before- and after-school care officials at Eason Elementary have had to notify parents about cases of head lice.

For the second time in the few weeks since the start of the school year, parents of students in the before- and after-school care program at Eason Elementary were told of another outbreak of head lice among students.

Gretchen Grevas Stanger, site supervisor of the before- and after-school care program at Eason, sent out an e-mail Tuesday alerting parents with kids in the program that there have been three cases of head lice reported this week.

In the e-mail, Grevas Stanger wrote: "In the past two days, I have had 3 new cases of head lice reported to me by parents of children in the Before and After School program. We currently have the head lice 'health alert' sign posted near the sign-in/out table so that you are aware of the active cases that were recently reported and what you should look for when identifying head lice in your child’s hair."

The warning comes on the heels of last week's Waukee School Board meeting where board members voted to send a proposal of the a head lice notification policy to the district's policy committee.

Currently, the Waukee schools do not have a policy in place that would require teachers and staff to notify parents when a case of head lice has been identified their child's classroom. Some parents in the district rallied to get the board to change its policy with a petition that gathered more than 200 signatures in a week.

Parents with children in the before- and after-school care program were notified of the incidents of head lice Tuesday because the program follows policies and procedures set forth by the YMCA and State of Iowa Child Care licensing requirements, not the Waukee Community Schools. 

Those requirements are:

  •  If your child is found to have head lice while at the site, you will be called to pick up your child immediately and follow the steps below.
  •  If you find head lice on your child, we ask that you notify the site immediately.

If you find head lice on your child, you must follow the steps below:

  • All cases of head lice remain confidential. 
  • Your child will need to be treated with over-the-counter medication. 
  • Your child will NOT be allowed back to the site for 24 hours from when they have been treated, and can return only if there is no longer evidence of nits in the hair.

Grevas' e-mail included the following facts about head lice:

  • Adult head lice off their human hosts will generally not survive for more than 24 hours.
  • A female louse lays 3-5 eggs per day.
  • Once laid, it takes 7-10 days for a nit to hatch.
  • Lice are mature and will lay eggs when they are 7-10 days old.
  • Head lice cannot hop, jump, or fly.
Deb Patterson September 19, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I cannot believe that the school district does not see the importance of reporting to parents. If it is confidential and they continue to deliver a free and appropriate education to the students it should not be a problem.
Richard Pollack September 20, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Why not notify parents every time there's a suspected louse in the school? There are so many reasons. Read http://idmybug.tumblr.com/post/12884392659/headlice-rumor-mongering Why not demand notification for every cold or case of flu?
Elise Thrap September 20, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Because, Mr. Pollack, a case of cold and flu is easily noticable when your child gets it. Lice, on the other hand, could be around for a very long time without being noticed. It is easier to detect and treat when we know that there the lice are present in the classroom. Germs for cold and flu are around often and the school and individual classrooms take measures to clean up and have kids wash their hands. The lice should not be around THIS OFTEN. I'm of the opinion that it would be better if parents had better notification. I've never seen a school district with this much of a problem. If the before and after school program requires it, then why not the school too?
Richard Pollack September 20, 2012 at 08:20 PM
How much of a problem are lice in your school? Has anyone assessed the prevalence objectively? If not, then it is likely (as is the usual situation) that most kids thought to have lice have been misdiagnosed. Perhaps, it is far less of a problem than many folks believe. Why not assume that your child might encounter at least one infested child each day? In that case, you could check your own child's scalp daily - or more often if you wish. You'd almost certainly get tired of this exercise after finding nothing of significance on any day, week, month or year, and whether or not you received such notifications.
Elise Thrap September 21, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I do check my child's hair every day while I do her hair or after a bath and she has had legitimate lice in her hair twice in 2 months. I likely caught them on the day that she got them because I was looking. I have educated myself and agree that more people need to be fully educated so there is not misdiagnosis and better prevention. I see that you are probably not even from here and likely do not understand the individual situation in our school and it also looks like you have your own agenda. It is a real problem!
Richard Pollack September 21, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Elise: I congratulate you on your efforts to seek and destroy head lice on your own child. I'm confused, however, by your remarks. If, as you stated, you search for lice every day as a routine, then what difference would it make if the schools distributed notifications every time they learned of a suspected case? Would you check twice a day? Next, you stated that you found lice twice in a two-month interval. Whereas it is certainly possible for a child to acquire lice twice as you suggested, it is more often the case that such a child was merely endowed with one continuing infestation. Finally, you attempt to divert the argument by attacking my geographic location (how does that really matter?), that I cannot appreciate the 'individual situation' (I've dealt with thousands of 'individual situations') and that I have my own agenda. For that last part, you're absolutely correct. My agenda is (and has been for decades) to use my insight and expertise to inform folks so they can make better decisions. For that, I plead guilty.
Lindsay Resch Sprague September 30, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Mr. Pollack, I see you are at it again! I wonder why you are makiing such a nuisance of yourself when you do not even reside in the Waukee, IA area. If we wanted an (overly) educated opinion, we would have sought you out. I admire your enthusiam on this topic, but feel your opinion is unwanted. Looks to me like you just anger people to the point of them (me) wanting more and more to go against everything you preach and fight harder for what I want for my children. Have a nice day.

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