Lice Policy

This policy is based on the principal of Dignity First.  All interactions between the campers, staff, volunteers and Board Members will be conducted in this manner.  We will address issues with discretion, mitigation and support for the affected.

Head lice have not been a huge issue at BYC over the years, but there have been isolated cases.  They are, unfortunately, a part of life wherever there are communities of people. They are not a sign of dirty houses or poor hygiene practices (as once thought), but they are simply a nuisance that can affect anyone with hair.

Good information on lice is essential, and many myths abound. Parents and campers should be aware of the following:

  1. Lice are generally not a health concern.
  2. Lice are treatable, though it can take a lot of work to eradicate them.
  3. Lice don’t jump or fly – they crawl from one person to another.
  4. Head lice are most usually spread from head-to-head contact, though they can sometimes spread from sharing brushes, hats, or bedding.
  5. Head lice can be on your head, your child’s head, or your spouse’s head, but they won’t affect your pets, and they can’t “infect” furniture, bedding, or pillows. They cannot survive more than about two days off the scalp. So, if your child has lice, do not panic!

The following notes are very important for parents and campers to understand prior to camp, as they make up BYC’s policy:

  1. Parents should carefully inspect children’s heads for lice at least two weeks prior to sending them to camp, and again no less than 48 hours prior to camp.
  2. Here are some things you should know about doing lice checks:
    • Nits are very tiny, yellow, tan, or brown dots before they hatch. These are usually on hair shafts close to the scalp.  They may look like dandruff, but they don’t come off by brushing or shaking them off.  They hatch within 1-2 weeks of being laid.
    • Adult lice are no bigger than a sesame seed and are grayish-white or tan.  Nymphs are even smaller and become adult lice about 1-2 weeks after they hatch.  If not treated, this process will repeat itself every 3 weeks or so.
    • You may be able to see the lice or nits by parting your child’s hair into small sections and checking for lice and nits with a fine-tooth comb on the scalp, behind the ears, and around the nape of the neck (it’s rare for them to be found on eyelashes or eyebrows).
    • An itchy scalp can also be a sign that lice may be present.
  3. If lice are found prior to camp, the camper must be kept home and treated.
    • A 50% refund will be given, if the camp is contacted at least 48 hours in advance (instead of the regular “no refund less than two weeks before camp”).
    • If the camp is notified less than 48 hours before the camp, a 33% discount will be given.  Less time makes it very hard for BYC to fill the spot vacated.
    • If there is room in a later camp, that option may be taken instead of a refund.
    • Campers will be able to return no earlier than one week after diagnosis based on availability and upon a clean head check.
  4. Parents should talk to their camper prior to coming to camp to help them understand how to avoid lice.  Most importantly, tell them:
    • Do not touch heads with other campers (often done to pose for photos).
    • Do not share beds, pillows, hats, clothes, stuffed animals, brushes, or combs.
  5. We do not perform lice checks when campers arrive at BYC.  We believe that this brings needless stress to most children and that it can be a negative way to start camp.
  6. If a camper is suspected of having lice, prior to the camper moving forward from the registration process, he/she will be treated with the premise of Dignity First.  He/she will be taken to the nurse’s room with a minimum of two staff members (one from each gender and one being the nurse) to be checked thoroughly.
  7. If a camper is found with lice while at camp, the parents or emergency contact will be called to come and pick up the camper.  At this time, since it is too late to fill that spot, no refund will be given.
    • The parents of the other campers in the cabin will be contacted to let them know that someone had lice in the cabin.  They will be encouraged to check their children’s hair when they come home and treat them if necessary.
    • If there is room in a later camp, that option may be taken instead of a refund.
  8. Staff members found with lice will be sent home for treatment.  They will be able to return at least one week after diagnosis and upon a clean head check.

The discovery of lice can be very disconcerting, but remember, lice are simply an unfortunate part of community living, and even when proper steps are taken to avoid them, they can still show up.  Many children who come home from camps with lice may have been the ones to bring them to the camp in the first place.  Let’s work together to minimize this nuisance by carefully checking campers before they come to camp.  And then, hopefully, they will be able to not worry about them and have the time of their lives!

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