Head lice are parasites that survive by injecting small amounts of saliva and removing small amounts of blood from the scalp every few hours. Generally found on the scalp, around the ears and at the back of the neck, the adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed and can be a reddish brown color. Eggs, or nits, are smaller and are silver in color. The most common symptom of head lice is itching. Lice are not a sign of poor hygiene. Lice are not known to transmit disease and complications such as a bacterial skin infection are rare.
Lice are “equal opportunity” parasites. They infest all socioeconomic groups, races, genders and ages but are more commonly found in children due to their close contact with each other. Although there is no need for embarrassment over contracting lice, a social stigma does exist. It is important that the student’s privacy be respected and all SUSD teachers and staff provide care with professionalism, kindness, and confidentiality.
Staff Procedure for Lice Infestation at School:
The flowchart for managing presumed head louse infestations in the Saugus Union School District will be used in treating the student. (see attached)
Siblings of the affected student who attend the school and close classroom contacts will be screened for the presence of lice infestation.
Educational materials will be given to the family. (Parent letter, Treatment Guidelines and “A Parent’s Guide to Head Lice” for specific student case family)
The teacher will be informed to limit head-to-head contact with the affected student. Student confidentiality will be respected at all times.
The student may return to school the next day after treatment has begun, once cleared through the health office and verification of treatment from parent has been received.
The student will be checked for lice upon return to school. One week after readmission to school, student will be checked for lice; and again, one week thereafter (i.e. If student returns on a Thursday, check the following two Thursdays). Continue to screen weekly, until nits clear, and then two weeks past clear.
Once a case is found, a letter will go home to the classroom (not the entire school) informing the classroom families to check their child for lice at home and treat if needed.
All students in the affected student’s class will only be screened if a second case is identified.
Notify Transportation if student is a bus-rider. Health office will notify parent that student is unable to ride bus until cleared of live lice. Notify Transportation once student is clear of live lice.
Persistent or chronic infestations of lice will be referred to the Site Administrator and District Nurse. Chronic cases resulting in multiple absences may be referred to the SARB for other assistance.