Head lice (pediculosis) are parasitic insects that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes of people. Head lice feed on human blood several times a day and live close to the human scalp. They are crawling insects and cannot jump, hop, or fly. The primary way that head lice spread is from prolonged direct head-to-head contact. Indirect spread through contact with personal belongings of an infested individual (combs, brushes, hats, sport helmets) is much less likely to occur.
Head lice can be a nuisance but they cause no medical harm and can be effectively treated. The Department of Health does not track cases of head lice because lice do not carry disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness has nothing to do with getting head lice. Head lice typically is spread unknowingly between family members and friends by having close contact at home, sleepovers or camps. It is not usually spread in the school classroom.
Webster Central School District is committed to providing a healthy school environment for all students and employees. The protocol for head lice management in our schools is guided by the current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association for School Nurses (NASN).
Parents should report the presence or suspicion of head lice on their child to the school nurse. If live lice are noted by the nurse, the parent will be notified and encouraged to bring the student home for prompt treatment as recommended the student's healthcare provider and nit removal. Parents should follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent re-infestation in the home. Parents are asked to accompany the student back to school so they are present when the nurse inspects the child’s head for the first time after treatment and can discuss any concerns in person. Students are rechecked by the school nurse at days 7, 14, and 21 after initial clearance. Parents will be notified by the school nurse if there are any concerns.
The school nurse will check the heads of all WCSD siblings, symptomatic students in the classroom and those individuals identified as having direct head-to-head contact with the infested child, such as close friends or attendees of recent sleepovers. The AAP and NASN both advise against whole classroom screening, mandatory exclusion for nits or live lice, and broad notification to others that a case of head lice has been found. Families provide the most effective screening by checking their children regularly at home.
CDC Lice Information