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Jan 19, 2012 5:10 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Lice Outbreak At Eastport Elementary School Under Control

Jan 25, 2012 12:39 PM

Eastport Elementary School had 13 confirmed cases of head lice last week, though district officials said on Tuesday that the situation is now under control, with no new cases reported this week.

Last Wednesday, January 18, Principal Salvatore Alaimo sent home a letter to all parents informing them of the outbreak and providing them with ways to prevent and treat head lice. Outbreaks have not occurred in any other school in the Eastport South Manor School District, according to school officials.

“It has been going on here for a few days now,” Mr. Alaimo said last Thursday, January 19. “This is not something new—this happens in schools all over. When we saw the randomness of these cases, we decided to be proactive and send a letter to everybody.”

Students in the elementary school’s kindergarten, second, fourth and sixth grade classes were found to have head lice last week. As a precaution, all students in each of those classes, and all students who take the same school buses as the affected students, have been checked by the school nurse.

The district also notified the district’s transportation firm, First Student Bus Company based in Ohio, of the outbreak so that the district’s school buses could be cleaned.

According to the Centers for Disease Control website, head lice “infest the head and neck and attach their eggs to the base of the hair shaft. Lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly.” Additionally, the site states that they can spread by close contact.

According to Mr. Alaimo, as soon as the first case was confirmed, the school began taking preventative measures to stop the spread of the bugs. Once a student is found to have head lice, he or she is asked to remain at home until the condition can be treated. Before returning to school or riding the bus again, students must first be cleared by the school nurse. The school will continue with the precautionary measures through this week.

Colleen Bowler Dlugolecki, the district’s assistant for community relations, said on Tuesday that 12 of the 13 students have already been cleared to return to school. She added that school janitors have thoroughly cleaned the building, targeting areas with carpeting and all tables and chairs, since the first case was reported on January 17.

According to Mr. Alaimo, as of last Thursday morning, the school has opted not to use cubbies to hang coats until further notice. Instead, all coats, backpacks, hats and gloves are being placed in separate plastic bags. Head lice can typically move from coat to coat and, in turn, from child to child.

Since the outbreak was first reported last week, parents have been visiting ESM parent boards on Facebook and sharing tips and advice on how to treat and prevent lice. One of the most popular recommendations shared among parents was using the Fairy Tales hair products line, namely a specially made shampoo that targets head lice.

“Normally, if it happens in a class, it will spread in that class ...” Mr. Alaimo said. “This is probably more than what we are used to seeing, since it is not just one class.”

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By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Jan 19, 12 6:50 PM
Some need to take more baths
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jan 19, 12 11:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Oh boy!! this news made me itch ...
By YXZ (32), Hampton Bays on Jan 20, 12 11:56 AM
Realistic: Lice does not come from being dirty.
By mgouldsbury (1), manorville on Jan 20, 12 12:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
thats really lousy news.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Jan 20, 12 1:16 PM
2 members liked this comment
Lice is common, especially in schools. "Some need to take more baths"....really? you could take a "bath" every day and still have Lice.
By BluePoint11715 (1), Blue Point on Jan 22, 12 10:44 AM
head lice is in EVERY school ..year round...weekly..why is this news?

By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on Jan 22, 12 5:25 PM