Over the years, the national recommendations on how to handle head lice in schools have changed based on new research. Every case is different. School nurses will use their informed discretion about how to manage individual cases. In general, these guidelines will be followed:
1. Students who are symptomatic (scratching persistently) will be referred to the school nurse for evaluation.
2. If a student is found to have lice that can be easily combed out at school, the student may remain at school and have her/his hair combed to remove lice and nits. Additionally, the student’s hair may be tied back. Parents will be notified so that treatment can be continued at home.
3. If a student is found to have a significant number of live head lice or is very uncomfortable, parents may be called to make arrangements for the student to be transported home.
4. If a student has nits only, the student will remain in school. Parents will be notified so that treatment can be continued at home.
5. If a student has school-aged siblings, they may also be checked for head lice.
6. Parents will be given the information needed to assist them in treating their child for head lice.
7. Parents will be responsible for treating their child(ren) for head lice in a timely manner. Students should not be absent from school due to head lice for more than one day.
8. The school nurse may re-check for treatment success those students who have had head lice. Every effort will be made to protect the student’s feelings and confidentiality.
9. Classroom head checks have been found to be ineffective and are not recommended. Letters may be provided to parents to inform and educate about head lice.
10. Students should not share hats, combs, brushes, hair accessories, pillows, etc. with friends at home or at school.
There are some families who seem to have a chronic problem with head lice. In these cases, the school nurse will work with the family to try to deal with the problem in a way that will minimize loss of school time. When absences are excessive, the truant officer will be contacted. In cases of obvious neglect, a referral will be made to DHHS.