GUIDELINES FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS
SECTION 1 - SCHOOL CHECKING
As one would expect and desire, Yeshivat Noam requires each child to be free of lice and nits to attend class. To help achieve this goal, Yeshivat Noam maintains a proactive approach by checking students for lice/nits as described below:
Screenings generally take place on Yeshivat Noam campuses, conducted under Yeshivat Noam auspices. Experienced lice checkers perform the lice checks. All students in Buds through eighth grade are checked for lice in September. Any other checks will be done only as deemed necessary by the school nurse.
If a child has traveled outside the United States, the child’s parent is responsible to inform the nurse and the child’s teachers, so that child is brought to the nurse and checked for lice prior to attending classes.
Generally, if a student in the school has lice, the school nurse will check all students in that student’s class, as well as that student’s siblings who are students in the school.
SECTION 2 – PARENT RESPONSIBILITY
Due to the high time strain and cost associated with checking the entire student body for lice, parents must work together with Yeshivat Noam. (The cost of each screening at the Paramus campus is about $2400.) It is the responsibility of all Yeshivat Noam parents to be vigilant and check their children, on a regular basis, for the presence of lice. It is recommended that you do this once a week. Please take this recommendation seriously. Parents are encouraged to examine their children's head often to readily detect any change in the scalp. If all parents do this regularly, we will be able to prevent isolated instances of lice from becoming full-blown outbreaks that spread throughout at school, at sleepovers and in carpools.
The most important time to check your children more frequently (daily rather than weekly) is if you receive notice that the presence of lice was found in a classmate, friend, carpool partner, or other child with whom your children may have regular contact. Why? Consider this scenario: A student in grade 2
has lice. That day, the nurse will check any grade 2 classmates and that student’s siblings who are students at Yeshivat Noam. However, if another grade 2 child has only recently caught lice, his/her head may not readily reveal the presence of the lice. The school nurse cannot perform multiple checks. If parents are not partners in the checking process, early cases will not be caught until they are full blown cases which will be further spread to others within the school and within the home. This is how the outbreak occurred this past year. Parents assumed their child was clear, and then weeks later discovered the infestation. You can prevent this if you continue to check your child’s hair daily (for about 1 month) if someone s/he is in contact with has lice.
Please remember that lice infestations are not fun for parents, so we all have an interest in prevention and riddance. You may ask what the difference is between catching a case of lice within the first few days rather than within weeks of its occurrence. It may be the difference between one child in your household having lice and the entire family; it may be the difference between your child missing one day of school and multiple days; it may be the difference between seeing a few nits and witnessing your child's scalp infested with many more; it may mean that YOU get lice! Is your skin crawling and itching yet? Please help us help everyone!
To combat the spread of lice, strongly encourage your children to wear long hair in ponytails, buns, pigtails or braids. Encourage your children not to share hats, brushes, or clothing.
Be extra careful when traveling abroad as lice are much more prevalent in some countries. Remember you must inform the school if your child has traveled overseas.
SECTION 3 - WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR CHILD IS FOUND TO HAVE LICE IN SCHOOL?
If a student is found to have nits/lice, the following procedure will be followed:
- He/she will be removed from contact with classmates with sensitivity and compassion.
- Parents will be notified and the student will be sent home immediately.
- Every student in the class where a student has been found with nits/lice will be checked. Additionally, a note will be sent home to the parents of students in the affected grade alerting them of the presence of nits/lice.
- The school nurse will check all siblings of the affected student immediately. Siblings at a different campus or school should be checked by their school nurse.
- To assist and educate families, these guidelines and a list of professional lice checkers/pickers will be given to the parents when the student is picked up. Please do not ask the nurse for an individual tutorial. While she would like to be able to help each parent at this difficult time, it is simply not possible for the school nurse to dedicate countless hours (as she has done in the past) to school parents in the ins and outs of lice removal and lice checking.
- Once nits/lice are found, the school does not pick or treat them. To ensure complete removal of nits it is recommended that you contact a professional lice checker/picker.
- Once a student is sent home because he/she has been found to have lice and/or nits, the student will not be permitted back into class unless the school nurse determines the student to be lice and nit free. A student sent home because he/she has been found to have lice and/or nits, cannot return to school any sooner than the next school day.
- Upon return to school, the student must be brought directly by the parent or responsible guardian to the school nurse’s office. The nurse will then check the student for the presence of lice and nits. If the nurse finds any lice or nits, the student will not be admitted back to class and will instead return home with the parent or guardian. The final decision is with the school nurse.
- After the initial checks, the affected student(s) will be rechecked 10 days later by the school nurse, and if found to be free of lice and nits, there will be no further follow-up unless deemed necessary by the nurse.
- During an outbreak, if the school nurse considers it necessary, certain classes may be required to store their outerwear in a large plastic bag provided to the students. All girls with long hair will be required to wear their hair braided &/or pulled back. No one student will ever be targeted. The ultimate decision as to the actions to follow will lay with the school nurse.
- It is the responsibility of the parents of affected child/ren to inform any carpools, previous sleepover guests or playmates of the fact that the case of lice/nits has been discovered. The school is not responsible for checking these children, even if they are Yeshivat Noam students, as the time and cost involved to do so would be too great. Additionally, please do not ask the school nurse to check any other members of your family or household. A list of professional lice checkers is available from the school nurse if you are concerned about your ability to check for lice/nits.
SECTION 4 - LICE BASICS
Below is information provided by the school nurse. In addition to the information provided below, you may wish to review the following websites that provide pictures as well as additional information: www.Headlice.org/index.html , www.crisny.org/not-for-profit/nycap/headlice.htm
To rid yourself of an infestation, it is important to recognize and understand the lifecycle of the head louse. Head lice are tenacious little insects and they have been around for thousands of years.
Lice are six-legged, wingless parasitic insects that live on human hair and feed off blood drawn from the scalp. The female feeds on blood and then mates. Within one to two days, she will lay her eggs, nits, approximately 3-5 a day, on the hair very close to the scalp.
Nits are tiny, white or gray, oval eggs firmly attached to one side of the hair shaft at an angle. Viable nits are usually found within a half-inch of the scalp.
The eggs hatch in 7-10 days into a baby louse called a nymph. It looks like an adult head louse, but is smaller. Nymphs mature into adults about 9-12 days after hatching. To live, the nymph must feed on blood. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to grayish-white. Their hook-like claws make it difficult to remove them from strands of hair.
Females, which are usually larger than the males, lay eggs, thus repeating the cycle. One female can lay between 50 and 150 eggs in her lifetime.
Head lice are spread easily by direct or indirect contact. Though they cannot fly or jump, these tiny parasites have specially adapted claws that allow them to crawl and cling firmly to hair.
Head to head contact: This may occur as children or family members play or interact closely together.
Close proximity of stored belongings: This itchy infestation is easily spread, especially by schoolchildren through close personal contact and by sharing personal belongings. Storing clothing next to each other in closets, lockers or on side-by-side hooks at school, or storing personal items such as pillows, blankets, combs and stuffed toys in close proximity at home or school can permit lice to spread.
Sharing items: These may include clothing, hats, scarves, headphones, brushes, combs, hair decorations, towels, blankets, pillows and stuffed toys.
Contact with contaminated furniture: Lying on a bed or cushion, sitting on furniture recently occupied by someone infected with lice can spread them. Head lice live for up to two days off the body.
Signs and Symptoms:
Usually itching of the scalp and/or small, red bumps on the scalp, neck and shoulders. Tiny white specks (eggs, or nits) on hair shafts that are hard to get off.
Usually made by finding nits (lice eggs), although less frequent, it is possible to find lice as well.
SECTION 5 - STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR LICE REMOVAL
Should your child come home with head lice, do not panic. Anyone can get head lice. It has nothing to do with cleanliness, nor does it reflect on you as a parent. The most important step in treating a head lice infestation is to check and treat all family and household members. Other resources to turn to include your doctor, professionals, other “experienced” parents, and the internet.
Treatment and Management:
There are four critical steps to eliminating a lice infestation – (more detailed instructions will follow at the end of this section)
1.) You must kill all the live lice (even if you cannot see them!) and remove the nits to ensure no further infestation occurs.
Until recently, the most commonly prescribed treatments by physicians for head lice were medicated shampoos and cream rinses. These may be OTC or prescription medications and contain insecticides and should be used with caution. The head lice found today are often resistant to the poisons found in most commercial head lice products. So not only does using them expose the child to dangerous toxins, the treatment is frequently unsuccessful. This is extremely frustrating for the parent trying to rid the child and the house of head lice. With this in mind, we are offering other suggestions to this vexing condition.
There are few different methods used by professional lice checkers to remove the nits and lice. Applying oil based product such as olive oil or Crisco to the hair is becoming a popular and natural alternative to eliminate head lice infestations. These oil based products kills head lice by covering the
holes through which the lice breathe, without compromising your child's health. The individual who will pick out the nits may dictate the method you chose.
• Whether you decide to use the medicated shampoo or the oil based product, please note, there is no one-time method and each will require a full two-week course of treatment to ensure the case has been resolved. ****
2.) Check for and remove all the nits by combing and manual nit picking. It is important to remember that nits are not killed by insecticide treatment. Manual removal of the nits is a necessary component of any head lice treatment regimen.
3.) Do a reasonable job of cleaning.
Wash all clothes, bed linens and towels in hot water and dry on hot cycle for at least 20 minutes. Bed linens will need to be washed more than once because if the head is still infected after the first night/day of treatment, linens need to be rewashed. It's a good idea to strip the beds every day. Comforters should go in the dryer every day (not washed every day). Coats should go into the dryer every day upon a child’s returning home from school. After the 10 day mark, stop. Items that cannot be safely washed, such as hats, coats, scarves, Kippot, stuffed animals should be dry cleaned or stored in sealed plastic bags for a minimum of two weeks.
Clean combs and brushes in hot water with bleach. Water should be at least 130°F, and it is advisable to let combs and brushes soak in the hot water for 10 minutes. Then put them in a tightly sealed plastic bag for at least a week. If possible, you may want to throw out the brushes and purchase new ones.
All hair accessories should be washed in hot water. All items, which are not washable, should be put in a tightly sealed plastic bag for at least a week.
Vacuum everywhere to make sure your home is free of lice. Vacuum carpets, pillows, mattresses, upholstered furniture, anything that might hold lice. Do a thorough job and discard the vacuum bag promptly. Also check any helmets.
Vacuum your car. If you have vinyl seats, wipe them down thoroughly with a cleanser. Clean your carseats.
Head lice survive only on humans, and do not affect family pets. To eliminate head lice and nits from your home it is imperative that you follow the directions above. Doing a thorough job will prevent their spread of lice.
4.) Daily head checks and nit removal if necessary until infestation is gone, followed by repeated checks to detect reinfestation.
- Examine your child's head to be sure you see the nits.
- Check all other family and household members to see if they are infested. All family members with evidence of head lice must be treated. In order to properly check the hair, you want to use good lighting. Nits are tiny, white or gray, oval eggs firmly attached to one side of the hair shaft at an angle. Viable nits are usually but not always found within a half-inch of the scalp. Hint - if you can blow or flick it off, or if it crumbles in your fingers, it is not a nit. Unlike dandruff, nits adhere to the hair and are not flakey. Often, nits are found behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.
- If lice or nits are found you must start the removal process.
As mentioned previously, there are two different methods used to begin the process.
If you decide to use the medicated shampoo, follow the instructions provided by the product and then you must continue with the manual removal of the nits.
If you are choosing to use an oil-based product such as olive oil or Crisco, we are including the following shopping list and step-by-step instructions provided to us by L’via Weisinger RN, a professional lice specialist and local nit picker. A complete copy of her copyrighted L’vias Lice laws are available at [email protected]
- Big cans of Crisco® (or other cheaper brand of hydrogenated vegetable shortening)
- A few shower caps
- Saran Wrap®
- New ponytail holders/elastics
- Assorted combs of varying tooth width
- Clips/simple metal barrettes for clipping during nitpicking
- Disposable rubber gloves
- Good quality metal lice comb – I highly recommend a brand called Innomed A-200, available on line, or ask for it at your local pharmacy. (Parkview on Queen Anne Road/ The Plaza carries it)
- Liquid dishwashing detergent (Dawn®, Palmolive®, etc.)
- Cleaning supplies for your home (especially laundry detergent)
- Plastic bags (Ziploc® type and garbage bags)
- New brushes, combs, hair accessories
Now to begin the process:
- Brush the hair thoroughly to remove all knots.
- Apply CRISCO® SHORTENING (or store brand) to the dry hair/scalp, covering all the hair and scalp. Make sure the entire scalp is covered thickly (like frosting!) and all hair is saturated with Crisco® - no air pockets. (Some people have reported using olive oil instead of Crisco®, but Crisco® works much better, does not drip down the child’s back, is easier to handle in this situation and is much more effective.) Be careful to apply the Crisco®, in the direction of hair growth, top to bottom, to avoid making knots that will be hard to comb out in the morning. Comb it in with a large tooth comb to help get the Crisco® to the roots.
- Cover as much of the hair/scalp as possible with SARAN WRAP® (or store brand), obviously taking care not to suffocate your child ! Put a little more Crisco® on the nape of the neck and around the ears where the Saran Wrap® does not quite cover. Cover the head with a shower cap.
- If doing this at night, cover newly washed pillow/pillowcase and bed with clean towels – then throw them in the wash in the morning without having to change the whole bed again.
- If doing this during the daytime, leave shortening in hair for at least 6 - 8 hours.
- After 6-8 hours, remove shower cap and Saran Wrap® and comb through first with a wide tooth comb, working your way with smaller tooth combs to a metal lice comb, wiping off the Crisco® as you go along.
- Comb through with the lice comb last, small sections at a time, going as close to the scalp as possible. Thoroughly wash the combs with soap and hot water for reuse later.
- Wash hair several times with dishwashing detergent (Dawn®, Palmolive®, etc.) until squeaky clean with no oil residue. For the first wash, use very little water – stand outside of the shower (even the mist will add too much water) - and at least ¼-1/2 cup of detergent and work into a very thick lather, massaging it in for about five minutes – this will help the detergent break down the fat and save time and repeated washings later. Then go into the shower to rinse and repeat.
- Air-dry or blow dry hair. At this point you are ready to begin nitpicking. Nitpicking cannot be done if there is any greasy residue or if hair is wet! It is advisable to hire a professional to pick at this point, but here are guidelines to do it yourself:
- NITPICKING: In order to have the remaining nits removed, the hair must be clean, dry, and knot-free.
- For best results, a magnifying lamp with fluorescent lighting should be used.
- You will need to have patience to go through the child’s hair, section by section to remove the nits one by one. Work from one side of the head around to the other, clipping up each section as you finish it. When you see a nit, grasp it with your thumbnail and your index finger, snap the glue bond and slide it down the hair shaft. You can throw it in a nearby garbage can or place it on a wet paper towel on a plate to keep it from blowing away. This way you can see that you removed it and got it all the way off, and keep track of your work.
- Here is the bad news – it is not quite over. I highly recommend having the child sleep in Crisco®, as directed above, several times over the next ten days, and having the hair combed and washed out in the morning. The child must sleep with Crisco® on Day Ten. This will ensure the inability of any missed nits to hatch and survive and will reduce the risk of exposure from any undiagnosed or untreated cases or lice that have survived in your child’s environment (classmates, carpool, neighbors, etc.).
- RE-CHECK FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS. The re-check should take no longer than 15 minutes and is very important to ensure that there is no re-infestation. You should be checking your child’s hair daily, to the best of your ability, under natural or fluorescent light. If re-infestation does occur, repeat the process