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Head lice infest Virginia schools

By Megan Brantley, mbrantley@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 26 2013 02:14:39 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 25 2013 01:26:54 PM CDT

We have a warning for parents tonight -- we've learned Bristol, Virginia schools are seeing more cases of lice this year than last, and they're encouraging parents to check their children's heads.

BRISTOL, Va. -

We have a warning for parents tonight -- we've learned Bristol, Virginia schools are seeing more cases of lice this year than last, and they're encouraging parents to check their children's heads.

Chantell Jones is concerned about sending her kids back to school after her kids came home twice in one week with head lice. School officials are also concerned and want to make sure parents are doing their part.

Jones is a mother of five and she tells us lice can be a nuisance, because when one family member gets it the whole family has to be treated. That can be time consuming. "[I] went through it strand by strand and pulled out all the nits I could," said Jones.

Jones tells us she brought her kids home last Thursday and treated them. "[I] sent them back on a Tuesday and they came back with a head of lice," she said.

She says they got it from school.

We spoke with the Bristol, Virginia Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg who told us they have been seeing lice in the schools. He tells News 5 they follow a policy on lice that has been in place for several years, and it allows kids to still come to class. "[If they have] live lice they're not in school; [with just] nits they're in school, because nits aren't seen as being contagious," said Lineburg.

He tells us they're looking into updating the policy, but says nits will most likely still be allowed. "'We're not physicians ourselves. We're depending on folks to advise us," said Lineburg.

Lineburg says when they're aware of an outbreak; they send home a letter, encouraging parents to check their children.

But Jones says she's concerned parents aren't doing it and doesn't want to send her kids to school with the chance of getting lice a third time. "I'm almost afraid of sending my kids to school," said Jones.

Lineburg says the school is doing all they can and says they're willing to help families in any way possible. "We're concerned as well and we're doing everything in our power. We have nurses, school social workers, and parent resource centers. When we have multiple cases we try to drill down to the families in most need and help," he said.

We learned from the Bristol, Tennessee schools website that if a child is spotted with head lice, they are not sent home until the end of the day but are not readmitted until they show proof of treatment.