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Head lice are very common, and always exist in communities and in schools.  No school is lice free; just as no school is free of the common cold.  After a close look at the scientific evidence available and furnished with new knowledge from the experts, we look forward to better serving the students and the families of the North Sanpete School District.

The purpose of this document is two-fold: to review district protocol and to offer some additional information to you so that the entire community may become better educated on this topic.  These documents reflect standard practice as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Association of School Nurses, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

The current recommendations by medical expert’s state that students with nits and/or head lice should remain in the school and not be immediately excluded.

Why would Medical Experts recommend this?

  1. Although head lice are a nuisance, they do not cause disease and are not dangerous to the child or to others. Children with the common cold, which is easily passed from student to student, are allowed to stay in school. Children with head lice who are not sick and pose no risk of illness, should not be excluded from school.
  2. By the time head lice is discovered, this child has usually had them for 3-4 weeks. Therefore, it makes no sense to immediately exclude them from class.
  3. No matter how careful staff is to protect the privacy of student, when a student leaves a class and does not return, the assumption is that the student has head lice. This can be unnecessarily embarrassing for the child and family.
  4. Most importantly, school is not a high-risk area of getting head lice! Over the last 10 years, multiple studies have proven the school rarely is the site of lice transmission. The vast majority of cases of head lice are spread by friends and family members who play or live together. In the rare case when the spread of lice has occurred at school, it is among very young children, in preschool or kindergarten and likely a result of playing closely together in ways that result in head-to-head contact.
  5. Head lice elicit an emotional reaction. “No-nit” policies were based on that reaction, not on scientific evidence of lice transmission. Scientific research has informed us that keeping students with nits (eggs) or even head lice, out of school has no effect on the amount of head lice at school.  Experts agreed that “No-nit” policies are detrimental to the emotional and educational status of the student.

Protocol for Head Lice

Suspected Head Lice

  1. The following signs may be reason to suspect a student of having head lice.
  2. The student complains of itching on the scalp or is observed repeatedly scratching behind ears, nape of the neck or anywhere else in the scalp area.
  3. The student has a pink rash around or in the scalp area.
  4. The student has nits (eggs) on the hair shaft within ¼” from the scalp.
  5. The student has live lice present in their hair.


  1. If active head lice or nits (eggs) are found, the parent will be confidentially notified.
  2. The school will provide information to the parents about proper treatment and their responsibility to treat the student prior to returning to school the next day and subsequent treatment seven to ten days from the first treatment.
  3. Parents will be given the NSSD Lice Checklist.
  4. Parents of children with head lice will be encouraged to talk to other parents of close friends. Parents will not be informed of other children who have head lice in school, as that is a privacy concern and the risk of getting lice from a classmate is very small.
  5. Students with head lice may be checked when they return to school.
  6. Current evidence does not support the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of classroom or school wide screening for decreasing the incidence of head lice among school children. Schools are encouraged to help educate parents and staff about the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of head lice.

Additional Resources:                                                                                    

How to Check for Head Lice:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

Pediatric Nursing/September-October 2014  

Lice Treatment Options

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