On May 9th, 2014, the principal of the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, Ms. Johnson, was informed that a student in the eighth grade had head lice. Ms. Johnson sent an email to parents within the same day with further information about the head lice. The student was asked to temporarily leave school until their head is free of lice, complying with the “no-nit” policy that is followed by school systems throughout the nation.
The situation is troubling as anyone can get head lice if they are not careful. It is hard to spot lice because adult lice can be small as a sesame seed and eggs are almost undetectable without a trained eye. People often mistake lice for dandruff. Dandruff is white dead skin that is dry and flakes off hair follicles on the scalp, while lice do not come off as easily. Even regular showers cannot get rid of lice, because they strongly latch onto hair. In order to limit the spread of lice, do not share hair accessories like hair ties, hats, hair bands, hair clips, and hair brushes. Be careful with sharing clothing as well, because lice can move onto clothing and they can travel into the hair of the person sharing the clothing.
The good news is that head lice cannot spread disease to people and they cannot make people fatally ill. The condition is highly treatable with many types of treatments easily available, such as over the counter or prescribed creams and shampoos. In addition, lice are not as contagious as people think. One myth commonly believed to be true is that lice can jump from person to person. Instead, they crawl from one place to another, because they are not capable of jumping great heights like the tick insect.
Lice are not BSGE’s only pest problem. A week later, on May 19th, 2014, Baccalaureate School for Global Education faced a similar situation. Parents and students were notified that a bed bug was found within the school. Like lice, bed bugs are not known to cause or transmit disease, and they are dormant during the day. The pests feed on blood, with a bite similar to a mosquito’s. It is initially painless and then becomes swollen, red, and itchy. The single bed bug found did not confirm an infestation, but parents and students were informed because there may be possible future sightings of more bed bugs. The Department of Education will try to search for the bed bugs with a full inspection and have licensed pest control specialists ready to get rid of the source of the problem if there is one. Eric C. ‘16 suggests, “We should contact Roscoe, the bed bug dog.”
Parents should practice pest preventive measures and search homes for bed bugs in case it is their child bringing the bed bugs into the school building or has unknowingly brought the bug home from school.