Lice Management

Student Health Lice Control Procedures

There are millions of cases of head lice in our country every year.  Infestation with head lice is most common among pre-school children attending child care, elementary school children, and the household members of infested children regardless of socioeconomic status and/or hygienic living conditions. Lice do not hop, jump or fly; they only crawl. Lice do not carry disease. Head lice can cause embarrassment, misunderstanding and unnecessary days missed from school or work. Based on current research, the RTMSD has updated its guidelines for managing nits and lice within the school setting.

Educating staff, parents/guardians and students is one of the most powerful tools in controlling head lice outbreaks. Regular monitoring by parents is a good way to detect and treat early infestations, preventing the spread to others.  

Indicators of possible head lice:

A student may be suspected of having head lice/nits if the following conditions are present:

  1. A student complains of a tickling sensation or itching behind the ears, at the back of the neck and on the crown of the head.

  2. Sores on the head caused by scratching.

  3. Nits/lice are observed on the hair.

Evaluation: 

A student suspected of having head lice will be evaluated using the following procedures:

  1. Student is discretely removed from the classroom and sent to the school nurse for evaluation.

  2. School nurse will inspect the student’s head privately and unobtrusively.

If it is confirmed that a student has head lice/nits:

  1. The  parent/guardian is provided with information about appropriate treatment.

  2. A  school nurse will inspect other members of the same household attending district schools. 

  3. Any student who has likely had direct head-to-head contact with a student with live lice will be screened, however, classroom wide screening is not merited.  Please refer to the National Association of School Nurses Position Statement on Head Lice for further details: NASN Position Statement 

 

Treatment/Return to school:

  1. Parents/guardians are expected to treat with an appropriate product (recommended by the student's healthcare provider) and remove live lice before bringing the student back to school.

  2. A student may return to school the day after treatment but must be re-examined by the school nurse. If live lice are found, the student will be sent home for further treatment

  3. The student will be re examined at the discretion of the school nurse

These procedures are based upon the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Information regarding head lice will be distributed to the parents of all elementary school students at the start of the school year.  Efforts directed toward awareness and prevention will result in fewer cases of head lice.

The purpose of these procedures is to maintain a district-wide systematic response for school personnel and for educating and assisting parents of children to:

  • Manage head lice

  • Provide information regarding prevention and treatment 

  • Minimize school absenteeism

Links to Resources:

Center for Disease Control FAQs

Center for Disease Control Lice in Schools

National Association of School Nurses

American Academy of Pediatrics