GJHS: Lice or no Lice?


Marie Calkins

Signs hang in the chairs in the GJHS library, preventing students from sitting there.

Rumors of a possible lice outbreak are flooding Grand Junction High School.
Long story short, there is no outbreak of lice at GJHS. Recently, GJHS has gotten rid of all cushioned chairs and surfaces to protect students and staff from lice transmission.
“We don’t have an outbreak going on right now. Several years ago our district decided to be more proactive about lice and bed bug infestations. So, we have a no soft surfaces policy in our district and we’ve had it for years now. We have that because we can’t effectively clean it thoroughly enough [to prevent lice], so we can’t have those cushioned items here. We went through five years ago and filled two big dumpsters with cushioned chairs from the time. But since then, new staff have been hired and brought these chairs in so we [had] to clear them out again,” said GJHS Nurse Mel McConnell.
Lice can survive on soft surfaces for up to 48 hours, therefore can transfer onto other human hosts as soon as they sit down on a surface, such as cushioned chairs.
Due to the fact that the Library has the most cushioned chairs in the school, most people thought the nonexistent “lice outbreak” originated from the Library.
“The library has all of the cushioned chairs, we got them in 1983. It’s hard to get rid of all of them. I put signs up on my cushioned chairs so people don’t sit in them and I won’t get my chairs taken away,” said Pam Middlemass, GJHS librarian.
To be an outbreak the school would’ve had to have 2 or more cases of lice from two different households in the span of two weeks. We haven’t had anything extreme enough to define it as an outbreak.