Head Lice

Head Lice Procedure

Faribault Public Schools is committed to maximizing students’ academic performance and physical well-being in a healthy and safe environment. A head lice procedure based on the evidence-based recommendations of state and national health organizations will prevent unnecessary absences and the potential negative effects on academic performance. The Pediculosis (head lice) protocol for Faribault Public Schools is intended to outline roles, responsibilities and expectations of the school community to assist with controlling head lice in a consistent and coordinated manner. Head lice are a common nuisance in schools, and households. 

Within schools, head lice are a cause of student absences, student embarrassment and time consuming work by the health office staff working in identification and parent counseling regarding treatment. Faribault Public Schools recognizes that head lice infestations do not pose a health hazard, are not a sign of uncleanliness, and are not responsible for the spread of any disease. Children found with live head lice will be referred to the parent for treatment.  

Faribault Public Schools also recognizes that prompt treatment by the parent once lice are identified is important to prevent continued infestation. It is recognized that no child should routinely be absent from school due to head lice and parents are expected to treat promptly when needed and return the child to school after treatment. School staff shall maintain the privacy of students at all times.

Students are identified as having head lice in a variety of ways such as parental report, teacher suspicion and confirmation via “head checks” by school health personnel, “head checks” of common family members, and “rechecks” of recently infested students. At any time, if the nurse deems that it is necessary to send the student home because they have lice, then they may do so. Also, parents may voluntarily pick up their students if they have lice.

When a child is identified as having head lice within the school setting, the following steps will be taken with the child and involved family:

First Time Lice is identified: STEP A

  • Parents are notified and encouraged to pick their child up and get the treatment started so they are able to come back to school the next day. Picking up a child is voluntary unless the nurse deems that it is necessary to send the student home due to live lice.   If the family has other school age children, their heads are also checked for live lice and the same procedure is followed.   
  • Lice treatment information, lice treatment calendar, and parent responsibility checklist will be given as well as the importance of following the directions of the treatment. Parent education and hands on demonstrations by the nurse are done at the time of child pick up and as needed. 
  • If the child’s parent cannot be reached, the nurse will leave messages for the parents and send Lice treatment information, lice treatment calendar, and parent responsibility checklist along with a note explaining that live lice were identified and that the parent should treat the child.  The child may ride the bus home.  It is the expectation that the child will be treated before returning to school.    
  • If parents express to school health personnel that lice treatment is a financial hardship, possible resources may be available. 

Readmission to School

  • Students that have lice may return to school after the first head lice treatment has been completed.  Parents will be informed that their child must be free of live head lice in order to be re-admitted to school.  Upon arrival, the nurse will check the child’s head to ensure no live head lice are present.
  • If no live lice are found, but nits are still present, student may return to class.  
  • Nurse will recheck the student in 1 week, 2 weeks and as needed.  
  • Nurse will remind parents to continue to follow the lice treatment calendar and retreat 7-10 days after the first.   

Second Time Lice is identified:

  • Repeat Step A

Third Time Lice is identified:

  • Repeat Step A 
  • Building Principal is notified.  
  • Parents will be requested to go to the doctor to get a prescribed treatment. A meeting may be requested at this time by the RN/Licensed school nurse.   

If reinfestation occurs, initial actions by school staff will include but are not limited to: 

  • Parental contact by school health personnel with information such as “Checklist: Recommendation for Reinfestation of Head Lice” and effort will be made by school staff to provide guidance and counseling regarding the head lice condition.
  • Consideration of a home visit by RN/Licensed School Nurse if:
    -there is a request by a building principle
    -reinfestation continues
    -an assessment is made that the family is having difficulty with recommended treatment procedure
    -parent requests 

Parent notification:

  • Periodic notices may be posted in the principal’s parent newsletter, and classroom newsletters to remind them to check their children’s heads regularly for head lice.
  • When there is a student found to have live lice, a letter will be sent home with other students in the same grade to inform parents of the increased incidence of head lice and remind them to check their children for head lice.  This same note will be sent home when new cases of head lice are discovered unless the new case occurs within the same week.