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Head Lice Policy

 The school health nurse (SHN) maintains confidentiality when screening students for possible lice infestation.  The following provides the SHN a systematic care plan for identified students:

  1. Identify the student.
  2. Notify parent(s)/guardians(s) of student the positive screening results (live lice and/or nits) and the student needs to be picked up from school.
  3. Instruct parent(s)/guardian(s) on the need for treatment.
    • Reiterate to parent(s)/guardian(s) the CCPS policy.
    • When parent(s)/guardian(s) are not able to pick up student the SHN will contact administration to develop a plan.
  4. Provide parent(s)/guardian(s) with appropriate information letters.
  5. Screenings will be performed on symptomatic students only.
    Parents may request that siblings of the identified student be checked and notify the appropriate SHN when sibling(s) do not attend same school.
  6. Infested student may only return to school upon completion of treatment and must be LIVE LOUSE FREE.
    • Re-screen student prior to admission to class.
    • Notify parent(s)/guardian(s) of positive findings of live lice.
  7. Re-screen treated student ten days post treatment.
    • Notify parent(s)/guardian(s) of positive findings of live lice.

School Personnel Responsibilities

  • Distribute head lice information to all families at the beginning of the school year.
  • Notify the parents of any children identified with live lice during the school day and request student be retrieved until treatment has been initiated.
  • Assist the SHN in locating a space for the student to rest until picked up after parental notification of a confirmed live lice case.
  • Actively promote and teach preventative measures for the control of head lice in the classroom.
  • Report suspected cases to the nurse for assessment.
  • Assist in distribution of literature to families.

Parent Responsibilities

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of infestation.
  • Be familiar with the technique for examining hair for lice and nits.
  • Examine their child's head weekly for signs of infestation, this may be required more frequently during an outbreak.
  • Be aware of the importance of prompt and efficient treatment and environmental control measures in the home.
  • Carry out treatment using pediculicide and provide proof of treatment to SHN.

Head lice are small insects

They live on the hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes of humans where they feed and lay eggs.  Eggs take about 7-10 days, and may be up to 14 days to hatch.  To live, adult lice need to feed on blood.  If the lice fall off a person, then they will die within 2 days.  The adults' life span is approximately one month, and eggs can survive on clothing for a month.

Anyone can get head lice

It is common in school-age children.  You can catch head lice by coming in direct contact with an infested person's head or with personal belongings such as combs, brushes, and hats.  Head lice can spread as long as lice or eggs remain alive on the infested person or clothing. Dogs and cats do not catch head lice.

Itching on the head and neck is common with head lice

Itching may be mild to intense.  Rarely, irritated skin from head lice can get infected with bacteria.  Signs of such bacterial infection include fever, swollen neck lymph glands, and hot, red skin.

Head lice are diagnosed by the presence of adult lice or eggs

Lice may be difficult to see.  They are commonly seen at the nape of the neck and behind the ears.  Nits (eggs) may be seen as specks "glued" to the hair shaft.  Nits range in color from yellow to grey.

A person infected with head lice can be treated

Medicated shampoos or creme rinses kill lice.  Some medications also kill nits. Permethrin-based medications (such as Nix) are the treatment of choice and may be purchased over-the-counter.  Follow package directions closely.  Removal of nits is recommended in addition to proper medication.  Fine-toothed combs are available to help remove nits from hair.  A second course of therapy is sometimes needed.

A household infected with head lice can be treated

  • Spraying classrooms or homes with insecticides is not recommended.

  • Vacuum floors, rugs, pillows, and upholstered furniture.

  • Wash hats, scarves, clothing, towels and bed linen in hot water (130 F) and dry using high head for at least 20 minutes.

  • Dry clean or tie up non-washable items in a plastic bad for 2 weeks.

  • Combs and brushes can be washed with medicated shampoo or soaked in hot water (130 F)

Infestations can be prevented

  • Avoid direct contact with an infected person's hair.

  • Do not share combs, brushes, hats, scarves, ribbons, or other personal items.

  • Household members and close contacts of a person with head lice should be examined and treated if they are infested.

  • Exclude children with head lice from school or day care at the end of the program/school day, until after the first treatment is completed.