Head Lice Procedure

  • Pediculosis, or head lice, is a common problem for children and their families across our country. The head louse is a wingless insect that lives on the human scalp and lays eggs (nits) in the hair. It cannot hop or fly, but crawls rapidly. It is transmitted by personal physical contact or common use of combs, brushes or headgear.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) support head lice can be a nuisance but are not a public health hazard. Education regarding prevention and treatment is crucial for parents, teachers and students to discourage chronic absenteeism and to support the education process. 


    Prevention and Education

    The goal of any actions by the school nurse is to contain infestation, provide appropriate evidence-based health information for treatment and prevention and minimize school absences. The school nurse will provide training for teachers and other appropriate school personnel regarding classroom prevention and control techniques at the beginning of each school year or as needed throughout the year.This training will include:

    • Classroom prevention techniques

    • Education of students about prevention

    • Confidentiality and privacy of affected students

    • Treatment options

    • Precautions and myths regarding treatment

    • Resources for treatment

    • VHCS head lice procedures


    The school personnel that receives notification of infestation will refer the information to the school nurse for follow-up with the parent. The school nurse in each school will provide educational information about pediculosis and its detection and treatment to parents as needed. 

    If a student is identified to have evidence of head lice, the parents will be notified if not already aware of the infestation. The school nurse will discuss evidence-based treatment and management of the child and the environment. Extreme care and attention will be given to avoid embarrassment to the student or parent. Confidentiality of all students identified with pediculosis is of major importance.


    Exclusion and Readmittance

    A student found to have live head lice must be treated with a recommended pediculicide or lice service before being readmitted to school. The school nurse will do a visual check on the student upon return to school after treatment.The nurse should recheck the student in one week/seven days to monitor the potential reinfestation. Should the student still have remaining nits after an appropriate lice treatment, the student may return to class with nits. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to follow procedure and return their child to school promptly. The school nurse will assist the parents as needed with evidence-based head lice management strategies to not disrupt the educational process.

     It is the position of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  that the management of head lice infestations in school settings should not disrupt the educational process, including but not limited to the elimination of classroom screening, forced absences from school and broad notification that a case of head lice has been found.