All residents of Hendricks Hall deloused Wednesday when eight of their residents reported exposure to lice and after an email from The Student Success and Wellness Associate Dean, Kim Bogan and Dean of Students, Jeff Bolster.
“There have been isolated reports of possible lice exposure,” Bolster said to Hendricks residents via email Monday around 10 a.m. “We are instituting protocols to ensure all affected individuals are thoroughly evaluated, assessed and if necessary treated. We consider this an isolated, minor student health issue. Rest assured that extensive hygienic means have been mobilized to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.”
This email informed residents that they would receive a NIX treatment kit (of shampoo and a comb) – to be applied twice within 10 days – from their resident assistant and needed clearance from a Wellness Center specialist within that time. These tests, for Hendricks residents and all other students thought to be infected, are free. After the second application, a follow-up with the Wellness Center is required.
All clothing, bedding and towels used within the first 48 hours of the reported exposure are to be washed in hot water and dried on the hot setting, with free wash and dry cycles provided by the Wellness Center to residents for this purpose. All Hendricks residents were required to shower after receiving the treatment to prevent spreading lice.
“Other than the fact that it was a giant inconvenience, we got really close as a hall because it was really awkward to shower at the same time,” said freshman Matthew Dyer, a Hendricks resident. “But it was blown a little out of proportion.”
Ana Marie Manotas, a freshman and Hendricks resident, said that the RAs and directors have been supportive and helpful throughout this process.
“It was more of an annoyance than anything with the protocol,” said Manotas. “Obviously, if we had lice, we’d know. But I understand protocol and trying to keep everyone in Hendricks safe and unaffected by the outbreak.”
Bolster said that some RAs even made the situation fun by having communal grooming parties for their hall.
Two-hundred kits were purchased from Cabrillo Pharmacy this past Sunday and cost about $18 each. So far, the university has spent about $2,500, roughly $2,000 for the kits and $380 in quarters for student laundry and other miscellaneous expenses.
Bolster and Bogan have since sent out another email from the Wellness Center called “Student Health Notification.” The email was sent to all undergraduate students, asking potentially exposed students to stop by the Wellness Center, even though a widespread problem is not expected. Students are also encouraged not to share anything that comes in contact with the head.
As of Saturday, Bolster told The Point the Wellness Center is treating 40 students with cases of lice.. The protocol was implemented after eight students in Hendricks Hall and two from another residence hall were reported to have lice.
Lice checking will continue until the protocol is met – expected to be in the next two weeks – for anyone who thinks they have lice or nits (lice eggs). Any student can receive a free lice kit and quarters for their wash and dry cycles if they go to the Wellness Center and find they have lice.
“This is where nitpicking came from,” Bolster said to The Point. “The big thing is you just got to do it. It’s not fun. You just wash your hair, comb it out. It’s not a big deal. It’s not dirty; it’s just a little bit gross and kind of inconvenient. We are going to really try to help everyone not be stressed about it or try to figure out who was it. None of that stuff matters.”
Bolster advises students to go to the Wellness Center if they have any concerns.
“It’s free to get checked out, it’s anonymous to get checked out and so better to have a peace of mind or peace of scalp as it may be,” Bolster said to The Point. “We’re not publishing lists or anything like that so I would just say go get checked out.”