Pediculosis -Head Lice

While head lice continue to cause concern, they do not pose a health hazard, are not a sign of uncleanliness, and are not responsible for the spread of any disease. Managing cases of head lice in the schools should be based on scientifically and medically justified evidence. This protocol will standardize our approach across the district and have it reflect evidence-based practice.

The following protocol reflects a review of the research/position papers by the Center for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, The Harvard School of Public Health, and the National Association of School Nurses:

  1. If live lice are discovered, the parent is notified and given treatment guidelines. The parent has the option of picking up the child right away or getting them at the next natural break (i.e., lunch or end of the day). The parent is advised to notify close contacts of the child.
  2. If nits are found but no live lice, the parent is advised of condition and counseled to check the child for the development of infestation.
  3. The child may be checked for live lice upon return and periodically as needed.
  4. Upon initial outbreak, notification may be sent to the parents of the grade involved, detailing how to check for and treat lice. The identity of the child involved is kept confidential.
  5. No mass screenings will be conducted.
  6. Alert custodians to vacuum classroom rugs/upholstery.
  7. Provide school wide information on the identification, treatment and prevention of lice infestation at the beginning of the year and as needed.

Through education, this approach will ease anxiety caused by head lice, reduce unnecessary school absences, limit embarrassment of students, eliminate ineffective and disruptive classroom/grade wide screenings, and decrease unnecessary exposure to potentially toxic chemicals to treat head lice.

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