Head Lice Guidelines

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RCS Policy 6.4031.1

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 his/her designee to notify a student’s parents in the
event a child is found to have head lice.

Students found with live head lice shall remain in class but shall be discouraged from close direct head
contact with others.
A letter shall be sent home by the child to explain the condition and the treatment requirements for
Prior to readmission, parents shall treat their child according to these procedures. Treatment for
pediculosis (head lice) shall be conducted for any student that has an active infestation. If a student has
an active infestation, the following treatment shall be adhered to before readmission in to school:
1. Apply lice medicine, also called pediculicide, according to the instructions contained in the box
or printed on the label;
2. Have the student put on clean clothing after treatment; and
3. Comb dead and any remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine–toothed nit comb.
In order to avoid re-infestation by lice, check the hair and comb with a nit comb to remove nits and lice
every 2–3 days. Additionally, machine wash and dry all clothing, bed linens, and other items that came
in contact with the student during the two (2) days before treatment; soak all combs and brushes in hot
water; and vacuum the floor and furniture where the student sat or lay.
Evidence that such treatment steps have been taken shall be required prior to the student’s readmission
to school. Evidence may include a determination (after examination) by school official that there has
been improvement (meaning reduction/elimination of head lice and nits) since the parent was notified.

A student shall be expected to return to school no later than the day following notification of the
condition. Failure to meet these requirements shall result in the student’s exclusion until criteria are
met for readmission. The absences will not be excused.
Head lice is most commonly spread by direct head-to-head contact and by sharing clothing or
belongings. According to the CDC, the following are steps that can be taken to help prevent and
control the spread of head lice:
1. Avoid head-to-head contact during play and other activities;
2. Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes;
3. Do not share combs, brushes, or towels;
4. Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in
contact with an individual who has an active infestation;
5. Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an individual with an active
infestation wore or used during the two (2) days before treatment. Clothing and items that are
not washable can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for two (2) weeks; and
6. Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the individual who had an active infestation
sat or lay.
These procedures as to the treatment and prevention of pediculosis (head lice) shall be made available
via the RCS website. In addition, these procedures shall be distributed to the parent/guardian of any
student that has head lice.


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. https://identify.us.com/idmybug/head-lice/head-lice-documents/liceworld2012/index.html 

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; www.identifyus.com

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; www.identifyus.com)