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The Broward County school district has revised its head lice guidelines based on recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics and 2 other agencies. Laura Rodriguez reports on the change that affects South Florida students.
The Broward County Public School District has revised its administrative guidelines for dealing with head lice.
Students with lice can now attend school while undergoing treatment for the lice eggs, also known as nits.
"This has been a long debate for many years. We see many children are constantly being sent home from school because maybe they've missed a few nits," said Elisabeth Rivera, clinical manager at Lice Cleanique.
The district says its administrative guidelines have been revised based on recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics, The National Association of School Nurses and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lice Cleanique, a lice treatment center with three locations across South Florida, says close to 300 people visit their clinic every month. Most of the people infested with lice are elementary school children.
A father of a patient at the clinic said it was their third time trying to treat their daughter's lice. He said treating lice is a big expense for families.
"We're going to throw all the sheets away, all the pillows, the stuffed animals, everything has to go. So you're looking at around a thousand dollars," he said.
Parents picking up their children in Broward County Schools were surprised to hear about the new guidelines at school.
“It's disgusting and it's unhealthy,” mother Rosana Guillen said.
The parasitic insects are highly contagious and are spread by personal contact or the sharing of combs, brushes, caps and more.
"They don't fly or jump, but they can transmit from head to head," Rivera said.
In an email response to NBC 6, the Broward Public School District said: "Each school year, millions of students are affected with head lice and lose educational time due to absenteeism. No disease is associated with head lice; therefore students with head lice may attend school while undergoing treatment for the nits."
Some parents said it's not just health they are worried about.
"They're not going to feel comfortable and other kids are going to make fun of them," mother Patricia Forbes said.
If parents disagree with this new administrative guideline, the Broward County Public School District says they can voice their opinion at an upcoming school board meeting covering attendance policy.