Schools urged not to sound lice alarm

If someone in your child's classroom or daycare has lice when should you be made aware it? A report out Tuesday says new guidance about lice from Quebec’s Ministry of Health suggests not to raise concerns or advise parents until an infestation affects 10% of a classroom or group.

That recent advice left employees and educators at the Commission scolaire de Laval scratching their heads (pun intended).

“I don’t understand the government’s logic for that at all,” said CJAD 800 medical expert Dr. Mitch Shulman. “As a parent, certainly I would want to be informed.”

The departmental guidelines suggest telling parents immediately would “dramatically increase the level of anxiety and stigma" and possibly cause "inappropriate treatments."

The guidelines also suggest doing so could hurt a child’s self-esteem, but Shulman says parents and educators should use these incidents as opportunities for teachable moments that reinforce self-esteem.

“It has nothing to do with them being weird or dirty or anything like that. That this is just something that ‘just happens.’”

Quebec health authorities say it`s not advisable to remove an infected person from school or work until the start of treatment, and as Shulman pointed out, these are only “guidelines.”