Lice Information

I know how sensitive the topic of head lice is, and completely understand that even the mere mention of the word can make people's (sometimes even mine!) head itch. I also know what a huge inconvenience it can be to get rid of them, and how annoying and exhausting a persistent or recurring case may be. However, my goals as a Certified School Nurse in this area are to keep families and staff aware of the latest research that will help squash the stigma around head lice, and even more importantly minimize disruptions to precious class time that our students need.

Based on a review of the research, the following practices reflect district policy for managing head lice in school:

Routine student body or class room screenings are avoided as they bring undue attention to children with lice, disrupt the educational process, and may needlessly alarm families.
Head checks should be done by a competent screener only when a student demonstrates symptoms (usually excessively itching scalp, obvious presence of adult lice or nits), or by request.
Students with suspected live lice are sent home immediately with treatment information and a check the following morning to insure no live lice remain. Parents are advised to check their entire family for signs of lice.
Students with nits only aren't sent home. Parents are notified and encouraged to treat and comb.
Retreatments, if used, should be based on the life cycle of the louse, and performed no more often than every 7-10 days.
We rely on both one-to-one communication with those affected families and general information like newsletters or website postings. If there seems to be a prevalence in one particular class, we may send a general notice to those classes so that families can increase their diligence in checking their children.
Classrooms are cleaned and vacuumed routinely/daily.
Students' coats, hats, scarves are placed into their backpacks each morning and remain there unless they go outside or until dismissal.
Students use their own headphones in school. Pinnies are not used in PE classes.
Teachers are reminded routinely about preventive measures.
The school nurse regularly checks classrooms for compliance with preventive measures.
Students are consistently reminded by teachers and staff to avoid close personal and head-to-head contact with each other. Sharing of hats, scarves, etc. is strongly discouraged.

Many people may not experience symptoms. Some common symptoms of head lice include:

Tickling feeling on the scalp or in the hair
Itching (caused by the bites of the louse)
Irritability and difficulty sleeping (lice are more active in the dark)
Sores on the head (caused by scratching, which can sometimes become infected)
When looking for head lice you may see several different forms: eggs, baby lice and adult lice. The eggs, also called nits, are tiny, teardrop- shaped eggs that attach to the hair shaft. They are often found around the nape of the neck or the ears. Nits may appear yellowish or white, and can look similar to dandruff. Nymphs, or baby lice, are smaller and grow to adult size in one to two weeks. Adult lice are the size of a sesame seed and tan to grayish-white.

Finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or in the hair is a good indication of an infestation. Head lice move quickly and avoid light, so they can be hard to see. Misdiagnosis is common. Therefore, you may want to contact your school nurse, pediatrician or family physician if you suspect an infestation.

Lice Policy 8454

Lice Video

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