Dealing with Head Lice

According to current research and management policies from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head lice are not considered a health hazard and not responsible for the spread of disease. Research also indicates that the normal classroom environment is not a high risk for the spread of lice.

If a student appears to have symptoms of having head lice, a private screening may be performed by the district nurse or trained staff member. If live head lice or nits are found, the student will be discouraged from close, direct head-to-head contact with others, but may remain in school.

  • The student’s parent or guardian will be notified that prompt, effective treatment is necessary.
  • The student will be allowed to return to school after being treated and there is no live lice found on inspection.
  • It is unlikely that notice would be sent home to all the students in the classroom where an active case of lice is found, unless multiple students are infested. In such a case, parents will be encouraged to check their children for head lice for the next two weeks and treat appropriately.
  • School officials will never disclose the name(s) of the affected student(s).

What Parents Can Do

  1. Teach kids not to share personal grooming items, hairbands, clips, hats, or clothing.
  2. Store coats, hats, and backpacks separately.
  3. Ask kids with long hair to pull hair back into a ponytail. Store hair care items separately from each other.
  4. Do not allow kids to lie down or place their heads on the carpet. Vacuum daily.
  5. Encourage kids to use their own pillow and blankets.
  6. Discuss with kids how lice is spread.
  7. Look around. What items are shared by kids? (headsets, helmets, costumes?)
  8. Screen suspected head lice case immediately. Note scratching.
  9. Notify your school and other parents with whom your kids have had contact.
  10. Recheck (rescreen) at least once a week. Make it a routine personal care activity.
Source: Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department