Head lice are tiny parasites that can live on the human head. They survive by sucking blood from the scalp. Lice eggs, called “nits,” can attach to strands of hair. Lice can cause the head to itch but have not been proven to cause disease.
Head lice are very common among children and adolescents. Students of any income, social status or race can get lice. Head lice are not a result of poor personal hygiene or an unsanitary home, community or school. However, lice historically carry a stigma of uncleanliness, so having them can feel embarrassing for students, parents, families and schools.
We follow recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address head lice. These guidelines recently changed.
What happens when a student has head lice?
When a student is confirmed to have lice, the parent/guardian will be notified that day by telephone or by a note sent home at the end of the school day. When the student returns to school, an adult must accompany the student to the office. A trained staff member will check the student to verify that they are head lice-free. Any live lice found would require student to stay home.
If only nits (eggs) are found, the parent/guardian should be encouraged to remove as many of the nits as possible.
If you have any questions or need resources, please contact your school nurse.