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Head lice protocol causes stir with parents across Ontario

By William Proulx [1]

BELLEVILLE – Parents in the area are concerned about a new policy put in place by the local public school board that would see change to its head lice protocol.

Earlier this month, Hastings and Prince Edward District School [2]  sent home a notice that said the new protocol will see children who have head lice not be forced to stay home by the school until the problem is resolved. School board officials say it is more important for students to attend school rather than miss classes due to head lice.

Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp and lay their eggs. They are commonly found among school-aged children or children attending daycare. The pesky critters spread easily – especially when people are in close contact.

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society [3]  head lice do not cause a public health risk and do not spread disease. Belleville parents are voicing their concerns in a group created on Facebook called Stop the New Head Lice Protocol [4] and by signing an online petition.

Kristy Sinclair created the online group and says she was shocked when she opened her child’s backpack and found the letter from the school board.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/section-1-kristy-sinclair-lice-0105pm.mp3 [5]

Since then, Sinclair, with the help of  others parents, have gathered over 700 signatures. She added that she hopes the group  can gain enough traction to have the rule overturned.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/selection-2-kristy-sinclair-lice-0105pm.mp3 [6]

School board communications officer Kerry Donnell, says that the board had done its research before the policy was put forward.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/kerry-donell-lice-0136pm.mp3 [7]

The changes are not only coming in the Belleville area, but are being reviewed by school boards across the province.

 

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