Lice Management Policy
Carpenter Avenue Elementary has developed the following head lice policy in consultation with the Parent Association, Teachers, Governance Board, School Nurse, LAUSD and the California Department of Public Health. The aim of this policy is to ensure a consistent, coordinated and cooperative approach to managing head lice in the school community.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Parents’ responsibilities are:
- to learn about head lice infestation and management by reading the Department of Health’s Head Lice Fact Sheet
- to regularly check their child’s hair for head lice infestation
- to treat their child’s hair immediately if the child has head lice, using the advice in the Head Lice Fact Sheet
- to inform the school and other close contacts if their child has a head lice infestation, and to confirm that treatment of their child’s hair has commenced.
- to be aware of and follow the school’s head lice management policy
The School Nurse’s role is:
- to provide detailed information, advice and education to parents and the school community about head lice management;
- to provide additional advice for families experiencing persistent head lice infestation
- if the number of infested children is equal to 10% of the school's population than the School Nurse must notify the District Communicable Disease Nurse.
The School’s responsibilities are:
- to develop, implement and maintain a head lice management policy;
- to ensure that parents and staff are aware of the school’s head lice policy, and that parents are provided with a copy of the Department of Health’s Head Lice Fact Sheet.
HOW HEAD LICE INFORMATION IS DISSEMINATED
The School takes the following steps to ensure that accurate up-to-date head lice treatment advice is provided to the school community;
The Department of Health’s Head Lice Fact Sheet:
- is displayed in the school office waiting area, with extra copies available for parents in main lobby
- is sent home to the parents of a child with head lice, and to the parents of the other children in the same class, accompanied by a classroom lice notification letter.
- is regularly disseminated on campus, in the school newsletter, and on through e-mail blasts.
Other head lice education and management strategies:
- A school office contact person will deal with head lice issues. She or he is responsible for organizing dissemination of head lice information and management activities, and maintaining the case log.
- Head lice information is included in parent educational workshops when available through PTA.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHILD IS FOUND TO HAVE HEAD LICE?
The School undertakes the following steps to ensure that a clearly defined process is followed when a child is found to have head lice:
- The student is given a brief, age appropriate explanation about the head lice.
- A letter to Parents of a Child Found to have Head Lice is sent home with the student. The letter informs the parents that their child has head lice and advises them that the child must commence head lice treatment before returning to school.
- Parents of the other students in the class are sent an information letter on the same day, asking them to check their child’s hair for head lice.
- The child then returns to school with the completed Confirmation of Treatment tear-off section of the Letter to Parents. Once treatment has commenced, the parents of the child with head lice should enter school only through the main office. If child reports directly to the classroom, teacher is to send the child to the office for inspection
- If the Confirmation of Treatment slip is not returned and the student is not able to confirm that treatment has commenced, then the student will not be readmitted to school.
- If nits or eggs are found during a visual dry inspection by the designated office personnel, student will be sent home for additional treatments. (parents will have access to missing assignments and homework when possible)
Day 3 TO DAY 7
- Parents continue dry and wet comb outs to ensure life-cycle of louse has been stopped
- As a last resort, only where considered appropriate by the Principal and School Nurse, the family may be referred to the Health Department, e.g. where a child is experiencing ongoing psychological distress, or if infected sores result from untreated head lice infestation and the sores remain untreated. Informing parents of this decision prior to referral is at the discretion of the Principal.
ADDITIONAL KEY POINTS:
Hairstyles: It is recommended that students with long hair wear it tied back, braided and/or pinned.
Classroom Tip: All jackets and extra clothing should be kept in backpacks.
CHECKING FOR HEAD LICEClass or whole school ‘head checks’:
School staff, Head Lice Resource Parents and the School Nurse do not routinely undertake class head checks for lice, as this is not an efficient or effective strategy for head lice control. Head lice can move at up to 30 cm per minute. They move rapidly away from searching hands and so an infestation can easily be missed. Most children do not have head lice, so valuable class time is wasted checking such children unnecessarily.
It is the responsibility of individual parents to check their own child’s hair for head lice. Screening for head lice is most effectively undertaken by parents combing their child’s hair using hair conditioner to slow down the head lice, together with a metal ‘nit’ comb, as described in the Department of Health’s Head Lice Fact Sheet.
Checking a student who is believed to have head lice:
In the case of an individual student, the School Principal will nominate a school staff member who may examine a student’s hair where there is reason to believe a student may have head lice, i.e. where eggs (nits) or crawling head lice have been sighted or where a child is scratching the head excessively.
To ensure competency, the nominated staff member will have received education in identifying active head lice infestation from the Department of Health or the Community (School) Nurse. Parents/Staff must be aware that a ‘dry’ head check may be unreliable.
Exclusion of a student from school:
Students found to have head lice may be excluded from school at the discretion of the Principal or delegate until treatment has begun and all live head lice are removed, in accordance with the Department of Health treatment advice. In practice, this means students can return to school the morning after treatment has commenced, provided that effective treatment is completed consistently over the following 10 days.
Thank you for taking the time to read the school’s Head Lice Management Policy. We hope you will find it informative and helpful. Compliance with the Policy helps the whole school community to keep head lice infestation under control and so minimize inconvenience, expense and distress for parents and students.
Joseph P. Martinez