District 65 Head Lice Procedures
District 65 Lice Management Procedures
Evanston/Skokie School District 65 lice management procedures reflect standard practice as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the American School Health Association (ASHA), the Harvard School of Public Health, and many others. They all recommend that students with eggs and /or head lice REMAIN IN SCHOOL and not be immediately excluded. When lice are found on a child at school, that child’s parent will be informed. Health Office staff will follow up to make sure the child is treated appropriately. If the student is not treated appropriately, then they will not be able to return to school.
Why Would These Medical Organizations Recommend This?
- Although lice are “icky,” they do not cause disease and are not dangerous to the child or others. It did not make sense that children with the common cold, which is easily passed from student to student and can make them very sick, are kept in school. But children with lice, who are not sick, and which can only rarely be given to another child in school, and are in no way dangerous, were kept out of school.
- No matter how careful staff is to protect the privacy of students, when a student leaves a class and does not come back, most students figure out the child has lice. This can be very embarrassing for the child and the family. In fact, the school usually does not know of most cases of lice because families are too embarrassed to tell us.
- By the time lice are discovered, the child has usually had them for 3-4 weeks. They have been in school this whole time, and no one else in school has gotten lice from them. It doesn’t make sense to immediately take them out of school as soon as the lice are found.
- And most importantly, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is NOT a high risk area for getting lice! For more than 10 years, multiple studies have proven that schools are RARELY the place for lice transmission. The vast majority of cases of lice are spread by friends and family members who often are among very young children, as in preschool or kindergarten, and likely a result of them playing very close together.
Lice cause an emotional reaction. Old-fashioned “no-nit” practices were based on that reaction, not on scientific evidence of how lice were passed. Over the last 10 years, MULTIPLE studies have proven keeping kids with eggs, or even lice, out of school does NOT reduce the amount of lice. “No-nit practices” are bad for the health, well-being, emotional and educational status of students.
What will Evanston/Skokie School District 65 do if a case of possible lice is reported or found?
- Health Office staff will check any student reported to possibly have lice. If active lice or nits (eggs) are found, the parent will be confidentially notified at the end of the school day. The teacher will be informed immediately, and the child will not use any shared headphones, helmets, hats or clothing. The health clerk or school nurse will provide information to the family about proper treatment.
- Health Office staff and teachers will ensure that all clothes in the affected child’s locker are sent home for cleaning and that the custodian wipes out the locker with the regular cleaning solution.
- If no lice or nits are found, but the parent or child reports he or she has recently been treated for lice, the child will be checked again in one week.
- Household members and close playmates of the person with lice will also be checked. Families will be informed if their child has lice. When lice are found at school, a letter will be sent out to the whole grade reminding parents of the signs of head lice.
- Students with lice will be checked when they return to school and one week later to make sure all the lice are gone.
- If the child with lice is very young, Health Office staff may choose to check classmates in preschool and kindergarten.
- If a parent does not follow through with the proper treatment, then the child with lice will be excluded from school until proper treatment has been completed.
- Lice are very common. They always exist in children and in schools. No school is ever lice-free, just like no school is free of head colds.