Camp Interlaken JCC’s Head Lice Policy
Head lice are a growing problem and a hot topic in schools and other programs, such as camps, where people are in close contact to one another. The nature of the life cycle of lice can make it very difficult to identify cases of lice, particularly in the early stages. Head lice are unpleasant to have and a huge burden to eliminate. And while they do not transmit disease like other pests such as ticks, mosquitos, and bats, they are highly contagious. Camp Interlaken is committed to minimizing the likelihood of transmitting head lice at camp. We know that guarantees are impossible since lice can and do arise anywhere, even in the most privileged communities, but we are determined to do the best we can. We have therefore adopted a no nit policy. Children with any evidence of lice, including nits (egg casings) alone, will not be able to participate in the camp program.
There has been a shift in what is considered the best practice in school settings regarding the exclusion of children with lice, and understand that lifeless nits may be present when the risk of transmission no longer exists. But children have more contact at camp than at school and the risk of transmission is therefore greater. Without a microscope, there is no reliable way to determine if nits are viable or not. Camp is not in a position to take chances (or to conduct microscopic screenings). With our sympathies to those children and families who will inevitably be inconvenienced, we have concluded that the no nit approach is the wisest one for the camp environment. With this in mind, camp is implementing the following policies and procedures to reduce the likelihood of a lice outbreak at camp as well as being sensitive to the workload of Camp Interlaken’s health staff.
1. Prior to camp, we strongly recommend having your child checked for lice by your pediatrician or a certified lice specialist. This is especially important if your child has had lice or been exposed to lice in the months leading up to camp.
2. Within the first 24 hours of camp, we will employ Lice Centers of America, a professional lice and nit removal and treatment service, to do an initial screening of every camper and staff member.
3. If your child is identified as having lice or nits, Lice Centers of America or Camp Interlaken health staff will contact you. As the parent, you then will have two choices:
Option 1: Camp Interlaken charges $250 for the treatment regardless of the severity. The treatment provided by Lice Centers of America includes the use of an LSI Heated Air Device, and a recheck. Camp Interlaken will not incur the cost of treatment nor provide a refund of tuition or fees for any camp activities missed.
Option 2: Parents can pick up their child within 6 hours of the phone call informing them of the lice and/or nits. Campers may only return to camp once they have been identified as free from lice and nits by a professional lice company. Proof of treatment must be presented upon returning to camp. Camp Interlaken will not incur the cost of treatment nor provide a refund of tuition or fees for any camp activities missed.
4. Campers who are identified as having lice will be separated from their cabin and will not be allowed to participate in Camp activities until they are treated. They will receive treatment in Camp’s health center where they will stay until cleared.
5. All campers and staff who arrive after the first day of Camp will be screened on the day they arrive by our health center professionals.
6. All campers who go home overnight for any reason will be re-screened upon their return to camp. If any nits are detected during a screening after the first 24 hours of Camp, families will be given three options:
a. Take the child home for treatment to be returned only when the child is identified as free from lice and nits by a professional lice company. Proof of treatment must be presented upon returning to camp. Camp Interlaken will not incur the cost of treatment nor provide a refund of tuition or fees for any camp activities missed.
b. Pay for a lice service referred by the camp which will treat the child at the camp’s health center and do all appropriate follow up care.
c. Pay for Natroba, a prescription lice and nit killing shampoo, (or other prescription lice shampoo) that the Camp Interlaken health center staff will administer.
7. Any child or staff member found to have lice will be re-screened at weekly intervals following treatment and re-admission to the program.
8. If lice are discovered during camp and after the initial screening has been conducted:
a. The other children in that camper’s cabin will be re-screened
b. The families of other children in that camper’s cabin will be advised by email correspondence.