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Head Lice Guidelines

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RCS Policy 6.4031

Pediculosis (Head Lice)

No student shall be denied an education solely by reason of head lice infestation and his/her educational program shall be restricted only to the extent necessary to minimize the risk of transmitting the infestation.


It shall be the responsibility of the principal or school nurse to notify the parents in the event a child has pediculosis (head lice). A letter shall be sent home by the child to explain the condition, requirements for readmission and deadlines for satisfactory completion of the treatment.


Prior to readmission, satisfactory evidence must be submitted to school personnel that the student has been treated for pediculosis (head lice). This evidence may include but not be limited to:


(1) proof of treatment with a pediculicide product (head lice shampoo), or

(2) determination (after examination) by a school health official that there has been

Improvement since the parent/guardian was notified.


Treatment and prevention procedures shall be developed by the director of schools in consultation with the school nurse and distributed to all classroom teachers. These procedures shall also be distributed to the parent/guardian of any child that has pediculosis.


Any subsequent incidents of head lice for a student during the school year shall require submission of satisfactory evidence of treatment for head lice and be found free of lice by a school health official.


A student shall be expected to have met all requirements for treatment and return to school no later than two (2) days following exclusion for head lice. All days in excess of the allowable period shall be marked as unexcused absences and referred to the attendance supervisor at the proper time.


Slide Presentation from LiceWorld 2012

The following slide presentation was made by Dr. Richard Pollack at the 2012 Liceworld conference in Copenhagen Denmark as part of his discussion on Head Louse Biology, Myths & Lousy Policies. 

What You Need to Know About Lice

  • Head lice are small insects that live mainly on the scalp and neck hairs of humans.
  • They have been around for centuries and have even been recovered from prehistoric mummies.
  • Their presence does not indicate unsanitary living conditions or poor hygiene.
  • Head lice are mainly spread by direct head-to-head contact with an infested person's hair.
  • Lice cannot fly or jump.
  • Lice and their eggs (called nits) do not burrow into the scalp.
  • Head lice live by feeding on blood several times a day.
  • They only live on human beings and never on other kinds of animals.
  • Head lice do not spread infections and are not considered to be a medical or a public health problem.
  • The risk of transmission between students is far lower for head lice than for infections due to cold or flu viruses.
  • There is no evidence that excluding students from school reduces the transmission of lice.
  • Shared helmets and headphones rarely, if ever, harbor head lice or nits. Inspecting and cleaning these devices on a regular basis is not warranted.
  • The chance of lice spreading from items in shared lockers or coat hooks is miniscule.
  • Objects such as combs, brushes, hats, helmets, headphones and hair accessories are insignificant in transmitting head lice or their eggs.
  • The female louse lays about six eggs each day during her one month life-span.
  • An egg hatches about 8 days after being laid, but not all eggs will hatch.
  • A louse that falls from a person’s hair will rapidly starve and become dehydrated, typically dying in less than one day.
  • There is little, if any, reason for extensive cleaning of the home or bagging clothing, toys or other items.
  • Insecticides to treat the home, school, vehicles, carpets and furniture are unwarranted, and unnecessarily expose occupants to insecticidal residues.
  • The use of any product to repel lice is unnecessary and may be ineffective or unsafe, or both.
  • Most infestations of head lice begin without out any symptoms, become noticeable (due to itching) after a few weeks, but then become almost ‘silent’ again after another month or two.
  • Any head lice or nits that might detach from the hair in a swimming pool would be removed by the pool filter or die before they have a chance to contact a person.
  • (references: Richard J. Pollack, PhD, entomologist;

What to DO if Your Child Has Lice:

  • Shampoo the hair with a chemical treatment designed to kill lice.
    • Keep the box or receipt to bring to the school. 
    • Repeat the treatment in 10 days because the eggs are often resistant to these chemicals.
  • Inspect each person (adults AND children) in the home to determine if live lice are present and treat all those found to be infested the same day.
  • Comb the hair with a good louse or nit comb. 
    • Use good lighting and magnification and thoroughly comb the hair daily until no live lice or nits are discovered. 
    • Hair should be cleaned and well-combed or brushed to remove tangles before attempting to use a louse comb. 
    • Some parents report that water, vegetable oils or hair conditioners help lubricate the hair and ease the combing process; others report that these lubricants make it more difficult to see the eggs. 
    • Clean the comb frequently to remove any lice or eggs caught between the teeth of the comb. Use hot water and wipe the comb clean with a towel or a small brush. Hot water from the water faucet is usually enough to kill lice and their eggs within just a few seconds. If the water it too hot for washing hands, it is adequate to kill lice and eggs. Boiling the water is NOT necessary, and risks causing burns and damaging some combs.
  • BRING your child to school after treatment for inspection by a school official before returning to class.

(references: Richard J. Pollack, PhD, entomologist;