5008 Head Lice

POLICY NO.:  5008                             DATE APPROVED: 1999-09

SUBJECT:                    Head Lice


Schools must be proactive in implementing procedures to contain the spread of head lice.


Head Lice, or pediculoisis, can be a very difficult organism to eradicate.  Even when precautions are taken, outbreaks of head lice can occur.  When steps are not taken immediately to treat the conditions, the situation soon leads to frustration on the part of parents of children with head lice, parents of unaffected children in affected classrooms, and school staff.

1.         Preventative School Environment

a)         Basic precautions which generally prevent the transmission of lice from one child to another should be taken at each school.  These include the following:

1)         Children should place their hats and mitts in the sleeves of the coats as opposed to cubbyholes and ledges.

2)         Coats should not be piled up.

3)         Students should be reminded not to share headgear.

4)         Clothing in drama centres must be regularly cleansed.

5)         When students are registered, parental permission should be sought for head checking should outbreaks occur.

6)         Staff members should be aware, and understand, the reason for this protocol.

1.2        Staff, parent and student awareness.

1)   The staff:

–     should participate with the Public Health Nurse in the development of a school plan for the control of head lice;

–     develop an understanding of the symptoms of head lice infestation in order to notify parents or refer for follow-up;

–     distribute letters and treatment information to parents of identified cases of head lice;

–     cooperate with the Public Health Nurse in bringing parents together for group presentations in order to educate the parents about head lice.  Sample letters are attached; and

–     work with the Public Health Nurse in identifying motivational methods for noncompliance situations.

b)         Staff handbooks should contain the most relevant information regarding head lice and the highlights of this protocol.

c)         A similar level of information should be provided to parents in the schools’ handbooks for parents.

d)         Schools should communicate with each other and their school communities when problems do arise.

2.         The Board advises parents:

1)   to be aware of the symptoms of head lice and the treatment procedures.

2)   to check the heads of all family members periodically.  Increase this to daily head checks when one of the family members has been in contact with head lice.

3)   to notify the school when head lice have been identified in a school age child.

4)   to treat the infested heads appropriately.  Do not send the child to school until treatment has occurred and nits have been removed.

3.         When the presence of head lice is identified:

a)         The Principal should use discretion with respect to any general parental notification that he/she considers warranted.

b)         The Principal advises the parent of the student(s) with lice that these children  will be sent home until:

–     the condition has been treated;

–     all the nits have been combed out; and

–     the parent is committed to administrating a second treatment, if necessary, and ensuring that any new nits are removed

c)   Strategies are taken to prevent transmission within the classroom.  These may include:

–     washing any paint shirts;

–     washing any Adress up@ items, putting them in a freezer for twenty-four hours or storing them in plastic bags for two weeks;

–     washing classroom pillows/mats or putting them in a freezer for twenty-four hours;

–     washing gym bibs/pinnies; and

–     storing any stuffed toys in a freezer for twenty-four hours or isolating them from the classroom for two weeks.

(On School Letterhead)

Important Notice to Parents,

Re: Head Lice,

Dear Parent:

In the last few weeks there have been several cases of head lice in our school(s).  During a recent head check at school, your child was found to have head lice.  Head lice do not carry disease and do not have anything to do with cleanliness.

However, it is important that your child is treated before coming back to school or playing with friends in order to stop the lice from spreading.  Please follow the steps provided in the information attached.

Check the heads of all other members of your family.  Treat only those who have lice or nits.  If you are unsure contact the Peace River Health Unit and talk with a Public Health Nurse.

Yours truly,


(On School Letterhead)

Important Notice to Parents

Re: Head Lice

Dear Parent:

A case of head lice has occurred in your child’s classroom. Head lice do not carry disease and do not have anything to do with cleanliness.

Please check your child=s hair carefully for head lice or nits.  Check all other members of the family for head lice as well.  Treat only those who have lice or nits following the steps contained in the information attached.  Let the school know if you do find any head lice or nits.  You should now increase the head checks of your family from periodic to daily.

Thank you for helping us stop the spread of head lice.

Yours truly,