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School Lice Policies in Bellevue, Washington

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School lice policies depend on a number of factors, such as where the school is located, whether it is private or not, and whether the schools is an elementary, middle, or high school. With the opening of our newest lice clinic in Bellevue, we’ve outlined the three policies used by Bellevue schools, so that you can know what to expect should lice break out at your child’s school.

There are essentially three different policies.

1. The No-Nit Policy.

This is strictest policy.  The idea here is, if a child exhibits any signs of head lice and/or their eggs, parents will be asked to pick up their child and treat them. Under the No-Nit policy, children will not be allowed to reenter school until they are 100% lice and nit fre. The child will be checked before re-entry and if there are any remaining signs of head lice, even one nit, the child will be sent home again to treat.

Most schools, public and private, do not follow this course of action any longer; in fact, it has been largely phased out in recent years. However, it’s important to note that daycares and preschools in Bellevue are under much stricter guidelines and are required to follow this policy. So, if your child is younger than first grade, be prepared for the strictest lice policy. A few Bellevue schools that follow this policy include Bellevue Montessori, the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle (JDS), and Bellevue Children’s Academy.

2. No Live Lice Policy.

This is the second most strict lice policy held by Bellevue schools.This policy states that if a child shows evidence of live lice on their head, they will be sent home. However, if school officials only find eggs or nits when checking, but no bugs, that child will not be sent home. He or she will be allowed to stay in school all day and upon pick-up, parents are encouraged to do a home treatment.

Unlike the No-Nit policy, the child is generally not checked upon returning to school. The problem with this policy is that most of the time when eggs are present, so are bugs; the bugs are just harder to see. Lice camouflage themselves and maneuver through hair very quickly, which means they are are sometimes impossible for the naked eye to see. Because the logic behind this policy is somewhat flawed, there are only a few Bellevue schools that use it.

3. The “We Don’t Care If You Have Head Lice, We Are Not Sending You Home” Policy.

We obviously made up the name of this policy, but sadly, this is the policy that most public and private schools in Bellevue follow. They do not view lice as a big issue, and do not want students to miss school unnecessarily. Public schools almost never check to see if students have head lice, even if cases have been reported. Sometimes school administrators will send a letter will be sent home to a class if three or more cases have been reported, but otherwise this policy often leaves parents frustrated and angry at the school administration. In private schools, if the problem becomes significant, administrators will alter their policy when needed and check students, sending them home when necessary.  

So, what can you do as a parent?  We often tell people that they can only control themselves and not others.  Our motto is, “once a week, sneak a peak.” If you’re diligent about checking your child’s hair for lice, you will catch any infestation early, and it will be easier to treat. Many lice cases are only noticed after months of infestation, but with persistent checking, this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you end up finding a louse or nit on your child’s head, your best bet will be to have your child treated by a professional company. Some parents try for weeks at home to get the problem under control; however, this means your child will expose their active lice case to many uninfested heads – especially if they are at a school with the third, most lenient lice policy. If you’d like to get your child checked for lice or would like to book a lice treatment appointment, call our new head lice treatment clinic in Bellevue.


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