Pediculosis (Head Lice)
Lice (also known as pediculosis) is very common in school-age children. The following guidelines are based on current research and recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Association of School Nurses.
What happens if my child is found to have head lice?
The school nurse will contact the guardian/family if lice are found on their child at school to discuss treating the child. Other siblings from the same home will also be checked by their school nurse. Information will be provided regarding treatment needs, options available and follow up. A child found to have live head lice is sent home from school to be treated. The student is to be excluded from school until this initial treatment is done. The nurse will check the student's hair upon return from school and every day until no nits are seen in the hair.
The student may return to school with nits, but not with live lice. In the event of chronic cases of lice, the nurse can use her discretion for the student to be excluded with nits only. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to remove the nits from the student's hair. Your school nurse is there to give you support and to educate you on what to do to eliminate the lice from your child and home.
How do I treat head lice?
The best defense against pediculosis (lice) at school is diligent monitoring at home. Should your child have nit (eggs) or lice:
- Treat with over the counter medications - for homeopathic/alternative treatments contact your pediatrician. If this is a persistent or recurring issue contact your treating doctor for recommendations and/or prescriptions.
- The parent/guardian is advised to continue to comb out nits daily with specialized comb. The child can come to school with nits, but should not come with active lice infestation. The nurse may send the child home to remove nits if they are abundant. Students must stay home for active lice infestation if lice are present and alive.
- Clean recently used linens, coats, hats, and clothing in hot water. Put stuffed animals in a plastic bag for two weeks. Vacuum rugs and furniture. Soak combs and brushes in hot, not boiling, water for 10 minutes.
- A second treatment may be necessary in 7 days if live lice are being found.
Should I contact my child's school nurse if I discover he/she has head lice even if I have already treated them?
Yes. Then the school nurse can check and be sure that all nits are removed and assist you in monitoring the situation until all the nits are gone.
Do head lice jump from person to person?
No. Head lice do not jump. They can move off of a host and go onto their hat, coat, couch, stuffed animal, bedding, brush, etc. and then it can be transferred to a new person when they come in contact with this item. Transfer can also happen with direct head to head contact.
Will my child's classmates be told that my child has head lice?
No. A letter home notifying parents or telling classmates is not required. It is considered essential to maintain the student’s privacy as well as the family’s right to confidentiality.
Naugatuck School District, in accordance with research data, does not support the exclusion of a student due to lice or nits after the initial treatment. We do send students home who has live lice or untreated nits for initial treatment.
Mass screenings to check all students’ heads have not proven to have any significant effect on the incidence of lice in the school.
The Naugatuck Board of Education’s Medical Director, Dr. Allyson Rovetto. is in agreement with these guidelines.