District 54 lice management practices have been changed in order to reflect standard practice as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Nurses, the American School Health Association, and the Harvard School of Public Health. This letter is to inform you of the changes and explain the reasons in order to help you understand that these changes do not put your child at greater risk for getting head lice. It is recommended that students with eggs and/or head lice remain in school and not be immediately excluded. When lice are found on a child at school, the child’s parent will be informed. If the student is not treated appropriately, then he or she will not be able to return to school.
- Although lice are “icky” they do not cause disease and are not dangerous to a child or others. Children with lice are not sick and lice can rarely be given to another child in school.
- No matter how careful staff is to protect the privacy of students, when a child leaves the class and does not come back, most students can figure out that the child has lice. This can be very embarrassing for the child and the family. In fact most of the time schools do not even know of most cases of lice because families are too embarrassed to inform us.
- By the time lice is discovered, the child has usually had them for 3-4 weeks. They have been in school this whole time and it doesn’t make sense to immediately take them out of school as soon as lice are found.
- And most importantly, school is not a high risk area for getting lice! Over the last 10 years multiple studies have proven that the school is rarely the place of lice transmission. The vast majority of cases of lice are spread by friends and family members who often play or live together. In the rare case where the spread of lice has occurred at school, it was among very young children as a result of them playing very close together (preschool or kindergarten).
What will the school do if a case of possible lice is reported or found?
- The school nurse will check any student reported to possibly have lice.
- The affected student will return to class and remain in school until the end of the day.
- If active lice or nits (eggs) are found, the parent will be confidentially notified by the school nurse. Treatment options will be discussed.
- The parent will be encouraged to talk to the parents of the child’s close playmates.
- Student may return to school the next day if treatment has been completed. If the parent does not follow through with proper treatment, the child with head lice will be excluded from school until treatment has been completed.
- Students with lice will be checked by the nurse when they return to school and one week later to be sure that all the lice are gone.
- If the child with lice is very young, the nurse may choose to check classmates in preschool or kindergarten at her discretion.