Online petition pushes for change to Washoe County School District lice policy

MGN Online

The Washoe County School District is responding to a push to keep kids with lice out of the classroom.

An online petition has been signed by more than 1,700 people who want the district to change its policy, with some comments saying their kids got lice at school.

"We go by the latest American Academy of Pediatrics and Center for Disease Control procedures and recommendations. They state very clearly that no child should be missing curricular time due to head lice," said Dana Balchunas, Registered Nurse and the WCSD Chief Nurse.

Balchunas said the district takes every precaution to keep lice from spreading at school and it's more common for kids to get lice at home rather than at school.

"Across the country, up to 12 million children have lice every year, typically acquired at home, at get-togethers, sleep-overs and at time when kids congregate closely together," she said.

Balchunas said there is no outbreak of lice in the district.

"There is a lot of frustration surrounding lice, and that there is a big 'ick' factor. It is very time intensive to get rid of lice, but lice is not a disease; lice is just an annoying nuisance," said Phoenix Stafford, a WCSD nurse.

The school district said it does not exclude students from school or isolate them from class. If there is a report of lice, a letter goes home to parents.

"I would encourage parents to read the policy from start to finish rather than going on myth and fear," Balchunas said.

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