Head Lice - What You Need to Know
New Albany – Plain Local School District
Guideline and Practice for Head Lice Identification and Treatment
Pediculosis, head lice, is classified as a nuisance condition and is not known to transmit infectious disease person to person. The primary goal of identification and notification of lice infestation in the school setting is to ensure that the child receives safe and effective treatment. Parents and/or guardians have the responsibility to treat infestations.
The school district will follow recommendations for the school setting from the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Nurses and the Centers for Disease Control. Most cases of head lice are acquired outside of school. No healthy child should be excluded or allowed to miss school because of head lice or nits. Current research on head lice does not support that exclusion policies result in reduced transmission of head lice. The exclusion of a child from school until all nits are removed may also violate a child’s civil liberties.
Head lice screening programs have not been proven to have a significant effect over time on the incidence of head lice in the school setting and are not cost effective. The school district will emphasize prevention and education as a primary measure to control head lice in the school setting. The school nurse will assume the major teaching responsibility for educating parents, teachers and students about the transmission and treatment of head lice.
School Head Lice Control Practice:
- School staff will use the Lice Communication Flow chart when a case of lice is identified or suspected.
- Any student found to have nits may remain in the classroom and go home at the end of the day to be treated or taken home by the parent at any time. The parent/guardian will be confidentially notified by the clinic staff.
- Any student found to have an active infestation will be discouraged from close head to head contact and the parent/guardian will be confidentially contacted. The parent/guardian may take the student home once notified.
- Students with lice will be checked by the clinic staff when they return to school.
- Parents/guardians of children with head lice will be encouraged to talk to parents/guardians of close playmates.
- Parents/guardians will not be informed of the names of other children who have lice in school, as that is a privacy concern and the risk of getting lice from a classmate is very small.
- It may be appropriate to screen other children who have close head to head contact with a student with an active infestation such as household members.
- It may be prudent to check other students who are symptomatic. The teacher and the school nurse will collaborate on identification of any such students.
- The school nurses are the key health professionals to provide education and anticipatory guidance to the school community regarding best practice guidance in the management of pediculosis.
- The school nurse’s goals are to facilitate an accurate assessment of the problem, contain infestation, provide health information for treatment and prevention, prevent over exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals and minimize school absence.
- If a parent/guardian does not follow through with the proper treatment, then the child with lice may be excluded from school until proper treatment has been completed.
Please see these links for additional information.
- Pediculosis Management in the School Setting, The National Association of School Nurses
- Head Lice Treatment, The American Academy of Pediatrics
Any questions should be directed to District Head Nurse, Brian Weikert, MSN, APRN, NP-BC, LSN