The Leicester School Committee considers the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control as well as our school nurses to establish this policy, which attempts to control the spread of head lice while minimizing absenteeism. According to the CDC, "head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice."

Students diagnosed with live head lice will be excluded from school until the appropriate treatment is provided. The school nurse will provide the parent or guardian with written and verbal instructions regarding the appropriate treatment of head lice and the proper care of the environment and personal items. A parent or guardian must accompany the student to school the next day to be examined by the school nurse. The student shall not return to school or take the school bus until the school nurse examines the student and determines that the risk of spreading is sufficiently low. Should lice be found, parents will be required to take the child home, continue treatment, and re-comb the hair to remove nits.

Both the American Association of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses advocate that "no-nit" policies should be discontinued. "No-nit" policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:
  • Many nits are more than ΒΌ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as casings.
  • Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
  • The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
  • Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.

However, the school nurse may exclude a child from school for nits if, in their opinion, the chance for spreading may be high.

In grades PreK through 5, the classroom of a particular student/students with head lice, will be checked, as well as siblings and other known close contacts within the district. In grades 6 through 12, the nurse will check the appropriate student contacts. The students' privacy will be safeguarded.

*Information within this policy was taken directly from: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/schools.html

ADOPTED: June 3, 2014