As some schools relax lice rules, western Montana remains mixed


MISSOULA, Mont. - Schools around the United States are increasingly adopting more relaxed rules when it comes to dealing with head lice cases.

Some nurses aren't sending home "lice notes" to classmates' parents, and some facilities are allowing kids with live lice to remain in class.  The goal is to keep affected kids from getting embarrassed, and prevent them from missing out on class.

In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed their guidelines to recommend a 'do not exclude' policy for affected students. A year later, the National Association of School Nurses changed its policy to call for infested children to stay in class, but be advised not to have direct head contact with other kids.

The CDC estimates that roughly 6 to 12 million head lice infestations occur in kids 3 to 11-years-old.

NBC Montana broke down several local school policies in our viewing area:

In Missoula County Public Schools, informational letters are sent home to classmates, and school procedure requires treatment before a return to school. 

In the Frenchtown School District, a student infested with lice can't return to school without documented treatment, and under the condition that they are "nit-free." Nits are eggs and larvae. Letters to classmates' parents notifying them of recent cases are not routinely sent out, though parents are sent yearly letters with information about lice.

In Bozeman schools, a student with head lice is sent home and parents are notified. A student can stay in class with nits, though parents are still notified.

In Butte, parents of a child with lice are encouraged to take the kid home and begin treatment. There is no 'no nit' policy.

In Kalispell, a student found with head lice is sent home, and hair treatment is required. Nits must be removed before a return to school. 

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