Lice are common age-old pests that are easily transferred from person to person. All age groups and localities are susceptible. If you discover a lice problem, please call your school office to help us keep the problem under control. Parents are encouraged to check their child's head for lice at home on a regular basis throughout the school year.
For help with treating head lice, please view the videos from HeadLice.Org, the California Department of Public Health brochure, and A Parent’s Guide to Head Lice, also available at your school office.
In 2013, PAUSD adopted a board policy regarding head lice in schools (BP5141.33). Goals of the policy include community education regarding prevention and management of head lice, early detection and prompt treatment of students with head lice, minimizing disruption to the educational program, and reducing student absences.
Recent research indicates that neither NO NIT policies nor mass school screenings prevent or shorten the length of lice outbreaks at school. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO) all oppose the NO NIT policy as well as mass school screenings.
The problem of pediculosis, or head lice as it is more commonly known, is ongoing and requires education and treatment. However, head lice do not pose a risk of transmitting disease and are not a threat to health.
Education and Prevention: Best Practices For Schools
- The brochure A Parent's Guide to Head Lice (Spanish) containing information regarding prevention, screening, recognition, and treatment of head lice is available at each elementary school site for both staff and the parent community. The brochure is available in the Health Office at the secondary schools.
- Parents/Guardians are encouraged to screen their children at home on a regular basis throughout the school year. Parents may view educational videos at HeadLice.Org.
- Parents/Guardians should notify the school office if their child is found to have head lice.
- In order to prevent the spread of lice within the school setting, teachers and custodians can do the following:
- Minimize activities resulting in head to head contact.
- Assign students individual lockers or coat hooks spaced so that clothes of other students do not touch. Coats and sweaters may be placed in the student's individual backpack or chair.
- When a case of head lice has been found:
- Reconsider the use of headphones and other headgear. If they must be used, they should be wiped clean (with hot water and soap) after each student's use.
- Shared clothing, pillows, pillowcases, stuffed animals, etc. may be laundered in hot water, placed in dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes, or bagged in plastic for at least one week.
- Custodial attention to classrooms - vacuum furniture and carpets daily for two weeks.
- School staff shall refer students with signs of possible head lice to the office for further follow up.
School Staff / Office Response to Head Lice
School office staff or health technician will check students suspected of having head lice.
When live lice are found:
- Office staff will contact parents to pick up their child and provide them with the brochure A Parent's Guide to Head Lice and a Lice Treatment form with readmission requirements. Parents are encouraged to begin treatment immediately and to check all family members for head lice or nits.
- When live lice or previously untreated nits are found, copies of the Lice Exposure Notice and A Parent's Guide to Head Lice will be sent home with all children in the affected student's elementary classroom.
When only nits are found:
- Office staff will contact parents to determine if the student has been treated for head lice.
- If student has already been treated for this infestation, staff will remind parent to continue daily nit removal and observation for presence of live lice, requiring re-treatment. Student remains at school and no re-admission check required.
- If the student has NOT been treated for this infestation, parent will be given A Parent's Guide to Head Lice and the Lice Treatment form with re-admission requirements. Parents are encouraged to begin treatment immediately and to check all family members. Student remains at school until end of school day. Re-admission check is required.
Before returning to the classroom, parent/guardian will accompany child to the school office for a re-admission check by office staff or Health Technician.
- Parent/Guardian will return the signed Lice Treatment form to the office.
- If no live lice are found, student may return to class.
- If nits are present, parent/guardian is encouraged to continue daily nit removal and observation for presence of live lice requiring re-treatment. Student may return to class.
- If live lice are present, student will be sent home and further treatment discussed.