Head lice are a very common problem, and at any given time of the school year, there are a few known cases throughout our buildings.
The signs and symptoms of head lice infestation are itching, especially of the scalp as well as white nits, or eggs of the louse insect, attached to the hair shaft most frequently at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. The eggs cement to the hair shaft close to the scalp.
A shampoo treatment with an insecticide shampoo will generally kill most head lice. A second treatment is necessary ten (10) days later with some brands of insecticide shampoo. Manual nit removal and environmental cleanup of the home by the parent is the key to successful head lice treatment. We strongly encourage parents to communicate that his/her child has head lice to any close contacts that may have recently been exposed after being in your home (i.e. – a sleep over or slumber party).
While head lice are a nuisance, they do not spread disease and are not a health issue. Should a case of head lice be brought to the school’s attention, the school nurse will maintain confidentiality of the student’s identity, verify the presence of an active infestation, and bring it to the attention of the child’s parent/guardian. Our nurses will assess students for head lice who present with symptoms, notify the child’s parents of a confirmed case, assist staff and parents with educational material, reassess a student with a confirmed case to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, and refer to a health care provider as needed.
Students should not be excluded from school for having nits, as the management of this condition should not disrupt the educational process of the child. The need to exclude students from school will be determined on a case-by-case basis. This protocol is supported by the National Pediculosis Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses. Please contact your school nurse if further information or resources are needed.