Head Lice Information

Head Lice Policy

If head lice are suspected while a student is in school, the student is sent to the health office for inspection.  The nurse will contact the student’s parent/guardian to arrange for pick up from school and instruct the parents in the effective treatment of head lice. The student is able to return to school once effective treatment has begun even if nits remain present and as long as no crawling live lice are present. The student is to be rechecked 7-10 days after treatment begins. If live lice or nits are still present at this time, then the student is to be excluded from school until they are lice/nit free.

If an active case of lice is identified, a notification will be sent to parents/guardians of students in that classroom informing them of the case of lice, signs and symptoms of infestation, and treatment protocols of lice are found.

Lice Facts

  • 6-12 million head lice infestations occur each year in the United State in children aged 3-11 across all regions and regardless of socioeconomic status
  • Lice do not spread easily: they cannot survive more than 24 hours off of a human scalp
  • Nits that are more than ¼ inch away from the scalp on the hair shaft are typically not viable and will not turn into live lice
  • Lice do not fly or jump and are only spread through direct contact and sometimes sharing of hats or brushes
  • Lice infestations can happen to anyone regardless of socioeconomic status and personal hygiene practices
  • Head lice is not considered a communicable disease and no health risks arise from having head lice (aside from itching and complications arising from persistent itching of the scalp)
  • The primary symptoms of head lice are itching of the scalp
  • More information can be found here!

Identifying a Lice Infestation

The primary symptom of a lice infestation is persistent itching of the scalp.  If you notice your child itching their scalp or hear them complaining of itchiness on their head, you should examine your child’s scalp.

Examination:

You should examine your child’s head, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, for crawling lice and nits (eggs which are attached to the hair shaft).  Lice are small, approximately the size of a sesame seed, and gray/brown in color. Nits can resemble dandruff and are small and white.  However, they are strongly attached to the hair shaft and do not fall off easily the way dandruff would.

If crawling lice or nits are found, treatment should begin immediately. Persons with live (crawling) lice or nits within ¼ inch or less of the scalp should be treated.  Nits attach to hair follicles and may persist after treatment eliminates live lice. 

Treatment:

Treatment should begin immediately once live lice are found.  Consult with your pediatrician or pharmacist to identify a prescription or over-the-counter treatment option.  Follow the instructions precisely, including following the timeline for reapplication of treatment.  Once treatment has begun and no live lice are present, the student may return to school even if treatment instructions require an additional application in the future.  Combing and manual removal of nits may be necessary.  Again, follow the instructions provided by the treatment product you choose.

Additional treatment measures, including guidance for treating linens and clothing, can be found on the CDC website.
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