We recently had a student on campus with head lice.
Having a case of lice can be embarrassing. A common misconception about head lice is that it is a sign of poor personal hygiene. Some even believe that it affects only people of lower economic status.
These ideas can’t be farther from the truth. People of all genders, ages, races, and social classes can catch head lice.
In the past, we had a nurse visit the school to screen all students. However, both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC advocate for the following practices to be discontinued:
- whole classroom screening,
- exclusion for nits or live lice,
- notification to others except for parents/guardians of students with head lice infestations.
Classroom screenings are often inaccurate, not cost-effective, and notification to others may be a breach of confidentiality. Schools should not exclude students for active infestation or when nits remain after appropriate lice treatment. Schools should advocate for evidence-based prevention measures that include assisting parents with identification of lice/nits and teaching students, parents, staff and community effective prevention measures.
If a student is suspected of having head lice, he/she will be sent to the office to be checked by someone trained in identifying infestation. If lice are found, parents will be contacted. Parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children. This includes assisting in the prevention and management of head lice cases through regular checks of their children’s hair and starting immediate treatment when head lice are detected. It is encouraged to notify the school if lice have been identified and/or treated at home. Once treated based on the guidelines linked below, children can return to school.
How to check for head lice video