What is the school’s policy on head lice? If the nurse finds lice in a child’s hair are they sent home and rechecked before entering school? Is the class notified that a student in the class has lice? I’ve heard that students have lice and are sent back to class. If this is the case how can you be sure to stop the spread of lice. I realize lice does not spread disease but to treat lice you must submit your child to a pesticide, which is not something a parent wants their child to be exposed to. The “super lice” you have to get prescription with is a heavier dose.
A. The District has a protocol we follow. We are currently evaluating the protocol as a result of what the Center for Disease says is best practice.
Here are the Pediculosis Nursing Procedures:
- Upon notification by a parent of a case of pediculosis, the school nurse should explain to parent of the need to bring student to school to be cleared to return to school after treatment.
- The school nurse will check the student’s class for head lice and send notification to the affected class (Form HC3).
- The school nurse will notify the parent/guardian of any student found with live lice or nits so that the student can be picked up from school and treated for pediculosis (Form HC1).
- The school nurse will show parent what he/she has found in the student’s hair and explain the need for treatment and removal of nits prior to student’s return to school.
- The school nurse will share pediculosis fact sheet (Form HC4) with parent.
- The school nurse will inform parent of the need to bring student to school for a repeat head check prior to the student being cleared to return to school.
Here are some facts we share with parents and staff as well:
This fact sheet is being sent to all parents to provide answers to commonly asked questions concerning head lice. It is our goal that by being better informed, parents can assist the school in controlling this problem when it develops.
1. What are head lice?
Head lice are tiny gray-black opaque insects that live near the scalp of a human host. They feed on blood and lay eggs called “nits,” most commonly behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. The eggs are yellowish-white and adhere firmly to the hair shaft approximately 1” from the scalp.
2. When should head lice be suspected?
Both the insect and its eggs are visible to the naked eye. An infected person commonly has persistent itching, but not always. Sometimes small bites can be seen on the scalp.
3. How does someone get head lice?
Head lice are transmitted by direct person-to-person contact, or by using the personal belongings of an infected person (i.e. brushes, combs, hats, headbands, etc.). Head lice do not “jump” from one person to another. They will, however, live on personal articles such as bedding, hats, etc., for two-to-three days. If they do not come into contact with a human host at that time, they will die. Whenever there are groups of children gathering, there is an increased risk of a child contracting head lice. That is why we can see outbreaks when school is back in session in the fall.
4. Who gets head lice?
It is a common misconception that only people who have poor hygiene and poor living conditions develop head lice. This is not the case. It may be more difficult for people without proper washing facilities to rid themselves of the problem, but the reality is that anyone can contract head lice, just like anyone can contract viruses or bacteria.
5. If my child has head lice, what should I do?
It is recommended that parents contact their physician for advisement regarding medicated hair treatment. PARENTS SHOULD NOTIFY THE SCHOOL NURSE so the child’s classmates and other contacts can be checked. Students found to have the problem will be sent home for treatment. The school nurse will be glad to review the treatment procedure with parents and provide any additional information needed. A VERY IMPORTANT part of treatment is to make sure all “nits” are removed with a fine tooth comb. This will greatly reduce the chance of re-infestation.
6. How can we minimize the risk of our children getting head lice?
We can work together by:
a) Teaching children not to share personal articles.
b) Inspecting our children’s hair frequently.
c) Washing winter jackets, hats and scarves frequently.
d) Notifying each other when the problem exists. Parents can call the nurse directly. The nurse will send notices when a case is reported.