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Health: Head Lice Policy

posted Sep 29, 2014, 1:28 PM by TC Administrator
Revised April 2010

Head lice persists as a problem for Iowa school age children.  Joanna Ibarra’s paper entitled “Head Lice in School Children” remains a source of insight on how best to deal with head lice.  After studying Ibarra’s research, the Iowa Department of Public Health changed the treatment approach for head lice.  

1.   Routine school-based screenings have been discontinued.  The parent is held responsible to do the screenings.  Parents should screen their children weekly for 15-20 minutes in good light. Parents should screen every evening if concerned.  School staff members and parents should assume there are head lice in the community and schools at all times.

2.   Any school personnel member may make a referral to the school nurse for an individual screen.  All screenings will be completed with privacy for the child.

3.   If head lice are found, the parent will be notified.  The treatment protocol can be reviewed at this time.  Although children are allowed to remain in school for the balance of the day, parents are highly encouraged to remove their child immediately!  Letters may be sent home with other classmates to let parents know that head lice was found in their child’s classroom.  Names of the infested child are kept confidential.

4.   Parents are encouraged to conduct the two week shampoo and wet combing technique for lice removal and elimination.  This technique has been proven effective, is the least expensive, and least toxic.  Head lice shampoo is found at local pharmacies and some grocery stores.  The shampoo is medicated and you should always read the warning label on the package before using.  Like any over the counter medication, you can consult your physician or pharmacist for questions or concerns.

5.  Most of your time and energy should be spent removing lice and nits from the child’s hair.  To prevent re-infestation, it is recommended to launder bed linens, vacuum all upholstery & carpets and place all stuffed animal in a sealed, plastic bag for 2 weeks.  Once lice are found on a member of the household, all members of the household should be checked routinely.  Promptly treat everyone on the same day if they have it.

6.  Parents, if you have found head lice on your child or treat it, please notify the school nurse.

7.   “No nit” policies have been discontinued.

8.   When head lice seems impossible to treat, call your physician.  They can prescribe head lice treatment products or validate the effectiveness of home remedies.   

9.   In the event that a child’s head lice continues for a prolonged period, or becomes a repetitive issue, Tri-Center Community School District reserves the right to keep the child out of school until free of head lice and/or nits.  Tri-Center may also insist on a doctor’s order before the child can continue to attend school.  Should it become apparent that neglect is present, authorities will be contacted immediately. 

10 Head lice infestation is a nation-wide problem.  Nits and lice are a challenge to conquer, but with patience and persistence of the family, school can be lice-free.  However, the problem must be dealt with or it will not go away.