At 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday, October 6, professor Neil Blackadder sent a message to the theatre distribution list reporting that several students in the department had discovered that they had contracted head lice.
On Wednesday, October 7, the school arranged for a nurse from the Galesburg Clinic to set up in Seymour Union and perform lice checks on concerned parties. The Campus Life office and the Galesburg Clinic are currently recommending over the counter kits such as “Rid” and “Nix” for the treatment of head lice.
The theatre department does not suspect the outbreak will have any influence on upcoming productions. Studio production “Kitty Kitty Kitty” cancelled one rehearsal upon discovering that multiple cast members had head lice.
“We cancelled one rehearsal so that everybody could run home and shampoo,” said director Chris Bakka, “but Kitty Kitty Kitty is not in danger.”
The initial source of the lice is unknown, but those affected suspect the outbreak has something to do with the number of students in their residences, classes, and activities who are currently studying child education at local elementary schools.
“It doesn’t matter who had it first,” said affected sophomore Liz Picurro. “It’s null and void once you know that people have it.”
Picurro rents a house on South West Street with a number of Knox students, all but one of whom have reported finding head lice. Many of the house-mates are highly involved in the theater department.
“I now know a lot more about lice than I ever did before,” said Picurro, noting the websites she had studied and the steps that those affected were taking to quash the current outbreak and safeguard against future head lice.
Picurro warns students not to panic. “In second grade, we had no idea what lice were,” she said, acknowledging students’ ignorance towards lice. “All we knew was that someone didn’t show up to class for a few days. Don’t panic!”
Senior Chanel Miller shares her residence on West Street with people affected by head lice. She did not get lice herself, but used an over the counter lice killing shampoo nevertheless.
“I feel ok, but I did the treatment just to be sure,” she said and reminded students to “Check yourself and check yourself often.”
To Picurro, the experience has not been entirely negative.
“It’s been an inconvenience, but it’s nice to see everybody come together,” she said, describing instances of people stepping forward to help nit-pick, spray for lice and bag clothes in need of dry-cleaning.