Martha's Vineyard Public Schools Head Lice Policy
Pediculosis is a common problem among school-aged children. Head lice poses no real health risk to the population and is viewed as a nuisance by health care professionals. However, because the condition may be transmitted to others, proper and successful treatment is essential.
In accordance with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses, the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools will follow the steps outlined below in dealing with pediculosis (head lice).
1. If a student is identified as having a case of untreated head lice, he/she will be dismissed to the parent or guardian for treatment.
2. The school nurse will assess siblings and close contacts at the school.
3. The nurse will educate the students and the parents/guardians on proper identification and elimination of the head lice and nits (eggs). Information on the treatment of head lice will be given.
4. A student must be checked the the nurse prior to returning to school after treatment. A student will be accompanied by his/her parent or guardian until the nurse has made her assessment. The nurse will determine the evidence of treatment and the child may be re-admitted at the discretion of the nurse.
5. Notification will be sent home to other parents at the nurse’s discretion.
6. Whenever helmets, hats or other head-gear are required for an activity the district will make every effort to treat them thus avoiding the spread of lice.
Everything you really didn’t want to know about lice!
Lice- more than one louse
Nit-eggs, dead or alive of a louse
Louse-small insect that lives on the scalp
Parasite-lives off another, in this case the blood of humans
Pediculosis-having an infestation of lice
Infestatation-having an insect present, in this case, in your head
Lice are easy to get
Lice are spread only by head to head contact. They are much harder to get than a cold, flu, ear infection, pink eye, strep throat, food poisoning or impetigo.
You can get lice from your dog, guinea pig or other animal
Lice are species specific. You can only get human lice from another human. You cannot get another animal’s lice
Lice are often passed via hats and helmet
Rarely, but possible. Hairbrushes, pillows and sheets are much more common modes of transmission
School is a common place for lice transmission
School is a VERY RARE source of transmission. Much more common are family members, overnight guests and playmates who spent a large amount of time together
Poor hygiene contributes to lice
Hygiene makes absolutely no difference. Lice actually like clean hair more than dirty. You get lice by close personal contact with someone else who has lice, not by being dirty
Lice can jump or fly from one person to another
Lice can only crawl. They can neither fly nor jump. They must crawl from one person to another
Any nits left in the hair can cause lice to come back
Any nits farther away than 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 on the hair shaft are ALREADY HATCHED and pose no risk to others
Eggs or nits can fall out of the hair, hatch and cause lice in another person
Nits are cemented to the hair and very hard to remove. They cannot fall off. Newly hatched larvae must find a head quickly or will die.
Lice can live a long time
Lice live only 1-2 days off the head
All members of a family should be treated if one person has lice
Only the person with lice should be treated. Lice shampoos are INSECTICIDES and can be dangerous if used incorrectly or too frequently. Household members and close contacts should be checked, but only treat those who actually have lice. The house should NOT be sprayed with insecticide, nor used on clothing or other items.
Checking a classroom when one student has lice can prevent lice from spreading
Classroom transmission is EXCEEDINGLY RARE and a waste of valuable teaching time. Checking family members and close playmates is much more appropriate
Avoiding lice is important as they spread disease
Lice do not spread any known disease. They are annoying and icky, but cause no disease.