Head lice have reappeared over the past few years in schools, camps, and workplaces across the U.S. This is a national issue that is discussed and addressed at length at several American Camp Association (ACA) conferences that we have attended over the past few years, and self-contained communities like camps are especially vulnerable and must be vigilant to control this problem.
Despite taking every precaution and doing our very best to keep this out of camp, it still made its way into GRP in the past. Due to the extreme time-consuming and costly nature of trying to get rid of it, we have taken a preventative and proactive approach that involves families and camp working together.
Lice is a very common problem and not one that occurs from being “dirty.” It also can’t live without a human host, so it’s not possible for lice to be living at camp prior to campers arriving. The only way it gets in to camp is on a person.The ACA’s educational web page on lice has excellent information for you to read about this topic.
Additionally, the Center for Disease Control as well as KidsHealth have excellent websites with plenty of information. Lastly, this wonderful and informative site called Mothers Against Head Lice will offer a wealth of information and advice.
You’ll see from reading those websites that we’re doing everything we should be doing to prevent and control the spread of lice in camp. Below is our step-by-step plan so that you’re prepared when you arrive at camp.
First, GRP’s No Lice/ No Nit Policy is located in the Parent Handbook
Head lice have reappeared over the past few years in schools and camps across the US. Self contained communities like camps are especially vulnerable and must be vigilant to control this problem.
To combat head lice, GRP medical staff will check all incoming campers on opening day. If any positive cases of lice are found, we will treat the camper on-site (pretty immediately) so that campers can stay in their cabin the first night of camp. The camper’s parents will be billed $250 for this service.
We encourage you to check your child for head lice two weeks prior to coming to camp and again immediately before camp begins. If any sign of head lice is found, please call your pediatrician to arrange for appropriate and immediate treatment well before your child leaves for camp and let us know that such treatment has taken place. If your child had head lice or was exposed to it (family member,friend, schoolmate, etc.) within four weeks of their arrival to camp, please notify us. We are committed to doing all we can to keep lice out of our community.
NOTE: There is a 3 to 7 day period of gestation during which the nits are invisible. Be diligent about looking prior to bringing your child to camp.
Check, check, and re-check your child before coming to camp. If you even suspect nits/lice, TREAT them at home and let us know.
You can also take the time to put all of your camper’s clothing, bedding, stuffed animals, etc. in a high-heat dryer for 20 minutes prior to packing them up in their trunk. As long as these items don’t come in to contact with anyone or anything else between the dryer and the trunk, this may kill any lice or nits that might be on their belongings that you aren’t aware of.
Within the first afternoon of camp, your camper will have a brief medical check-in with our medical staff, and then proceed to the lice screening station at the health hut. Your camper’s hair will be checked, and any case of lice or nits found will then be verified/confirmed by all of our medical staff and a camp director.
If any positive cases of lice are found, our medical staff will treat the camper on-site. We will begin treatment immediately so that campers can stay in their cabin on the first night of camp, and the camper’s parent will be billed $250 for this service. If a parent chooses not to pay for this service, they may take their camper home to be treated and bring them back after they are completely lice-free (see Mothers Against Head Lice for full treatment procedures at home).
Additionally, all of their clothing and linens will be put in a high-heat dryer for approximately 20 minutes. This process kills any lice that may have survived on any of their belongings.
We are committed to doing all we can to keep lice out of our community. We encourage you to have your child checked for head lice by a school nurse or pediatrician prior to camp. If any sign of head lice is found, please call your pediatrician to arrange for appropriate and immediate treatment well BEFORE your child leaves for camp and let us know that such treatment has taken place.
However, remember that lice have a gestational period during which they are invisible, therefore if your doctor says your camper is all clear, they could still appear upon arrival at camp. If your child had head lice or was exposed to it (family member, friend, schoolmate, etc.) within four weeks of their arrival to camp, please notify us.
We understand that many of you will have questions or want to contact us, and we welcome you to do so by phone or email. We are happy to answer your questions, and we encourage you to also read the websites given on this page and to consider purchasing a preventive shampoo.
Thank you for your understanding and your support in helping us have a lice-free summer at GRP! We know you understand that all of these efforts are being made solely in the best interest of the campers, so that they may have a stress-free summer that is not interrupted by lice treatments.