AllentownSchool District

Lice Information

The control of lice outbreaks is directly related to staff, student and family education. Lice are not considered a public health issue and do not spread disease. Lice are not easily spread. Generally head-to-head contact is required. Nits (eggs) cannot live, once removed from the hair shaft, on another human host. Lice need warmth and blood to live and will not live off a human host for more than 24 to 48 hours. Lice cannot crawl on a smooth surface. A viable louse will not willingly leave a warm blood source.   

The American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Nurses, and the Centers for Disease Control do not support exclusion from school for lice or nits. School nurses remain the best screeners of lice infestation. The following guidelines are based on evidence-based practices and research from these sources.

If your child is found with lice in his/her hair at school you will receive the following letter in English or Spanish.

Procedure to Remove Lice:

  1.  Upon receiving a complaint of lice or upon suspecting an infestation, the school nurse/health room assistant will closely examine the scalp of the child. This exam will be done in as confidential a manner as possible.
    1.  It is not necessary to wear gloves. The nurse/health room assistant may use pediculosis sticks to help separate the hair.
    2.  It may be necessary to remove hair clips and bands to examine hair.
    3. The nape of the neck and behind the ears will be given special attention and the scalp will be checked for signs of irritation.
    4. The examiner will look closely for active/moving lice and nymphs (immature lice), along with nits that are no further than ¼” away from the scalp, showing active infestation.
  2. If an active infestation is found, the parent/guardian will be notified. The parent/guardian will be given instructions, both oral and written on the control of pediculosis.
  3. The child may return to the classroom and participate in classroom activities until the parent arrives (for those parents who want to take child home early) and/or dismissal at which time the student will follow their usual dismissal routine. 
  4. Parents will be encouraged to tell close contact such as friends and cousins and to check the entire family for active infestation. It is not necessary or advisable to screen the class or the entire school. A first time lice infestation usually is at least 3 to 4 weeks old when first diagnosed as it takes that long for itching and other symptoms to occur. Itching occurs when the mature lice bites into the host and injects saliva into the wound.
  5. Students found with active lice will be screened following treatment upon returning to school as follows:
    1.  It is required that students present to the school nurse a box top from the pediculicide used, or confirmation (sales receipt, empty bottle) that an alternative product was used.
    2.  If there is no confirmation, the student may return to class, and the parent/guardian is called to explain.
    3. On the second day after lice are found, if there is no confirmation that lice treatment has been started, the child is sent to class, and the parent/guardian is called. If the parent/guardian cannot be contacted, the Home School Visitor is to be utilized for contact. At this time a medical referral is issued with the understanding that the health provider will advise the parent/guardian how to treat the lice.
    4. If there are subsequent days from the initial examination, or if there are many infestations, the nurse will involve the Office of Children and Youth.

Parent/Guardian Education

  1. Health rooms will have printed lice information available for parents/guardians. Information may be sent home with the students, along with verbal contact to the parent/guardians.
  2. The adults will be given combing instructions. There is no chemical/natural product that will kill the nits. They must be combed out immediately following conventional or alternative product use, and every week for three consecutive weeks thereafter.
  3. Families will be informed on how to wash and/or apply heat (from clothes or hair dryers) to bedding, toys, rugs, cars, cloth furniture, and vacuum.
  4. If using commercial lice products, parents/guardians will be advised to follow directions carefully and avoid use on children under the age of four.
  5. Families will also be advised to treat the entire family and encouraged to tell close contacts at the same time, so that the infestation can be eliminated.