School Lice Policy Detroit, Michigan and Surrounding Areas
Michigan is the only state we at LiceDoctors have come across that has a government manual dedicated solely to head lice policy.
Below are the policy recommendations and several school districts in suburban Detroit adhere to these:
“The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and the Michigan Department of Educati on (MDE) jointly support the following statements for the management of head lice infestations within school communities. Currently, there is no scientific evidence demonstrating that enforced exclusion policies are effective at reducing head lice transmission.10 Although the lice policy is ultimately up to the school administration, school officials are urged to consider these recommendations.
At this time, MDCH and MDE recommend a policy that focuses on the exclusion of active infestations only. Active infestations can be defined as the presence of live lice or nits found within one quarter inch of the scalp. Nits that are found beyond one quarter inch of the scalp have more than likely hatched, or are no longer viable.
Any student with live lice (or nits within one quarter inch of the scalp) may remain in school until the end of the school day (see recommended procedures, page 23). Immediate treatment at home is advised. The student will be readmitted to school after treatment and examination. If, upon examination, the school-designated personnel find no live lice on the child, the child may reenter the school.
– Any student with nits (farther than one quarter inch from scalp) should be allowed in school.
– Parents should remove nits daily and treat if live lice are observed.
Roles and Responsibilities
Parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children. This includes: Becoming educated about head lice.
Performing regular checks on all individuals in the home.
Treating a child with head lice as soon as possible and committing to following through until there are no longer signs of an infestation.
Teaching children how to minimize the chance of getting head lice by avoiding head-to-head contact, not sharing hats, combs, brushes, and hair accessories, and by containing long hair in braids or pony tails.
10 Frankowski BL, Bocchini JA (2010). Council on School Health and Committee on Infectious Diseases, “Head Lice,” Pediatrics, 126 (2): 392-403.
Student identified during school hours to have an active case of head lice:
- Student may return to class but restricted from activities involving close head-to-head contact or sharing personal items with other children. Immediate removal of the child is unnecessary—if the child has lice, they probably have been infested for weeks and prompt removal of the child could lead to embarrassment and ridicule. The child can be sent home at the end of the day and should be allowed to ride the bus.
- Notify parent/guardian directly. Offer emotional support to the parent/guardian as this is a difficult situation for all involved.
- Send home a copy of the “Quick Guide for Managing Head Lice” (see pages 25-26). Schools may also consider sending the optional parent documentation of treatment form (see page 28).
Student with suspected case of head lice returns to school:
1. Parent must accompany their child to the school office with confirmation of treatment.
2. Designated school personnel will re-examine the student’s hair:
– Student will be re-admitted to school if no live lice are found.
– If live lice are found and not removed, the student may not be re-admitted to class.
o Review with parent the manual lice removal techniques (caution: if chemical treatments were used, they should not be used again for another 7-10 days).
o Suggest parent call their pediatrician for further assistance.
o May also contact local health department or school nurse for assistance.
Any student with no live lice, but nits farther than one quarter inch from the scalp should return to class.
If nits are found within one quarter inch of the scalp, educate the parents about the need for removal of those potentially viable eggs and return the child to class. School personnel re- check for lice and nits the next school-day to verify removal of potentially viable nits.
3. Periodic checks of the student’s hair by designated school personnel should be done over the next few weeks to assure successful treatment. **Remember, confidentiality is important.
4. Request parent to continue daily lice checks and nit removal for the next two to three weeks.
5. Retreat as necessary according to product label.
Recurrent or Chronic Cases (Continued active infestation after appropriate treatment has started, persistent infestation after six consecutive weeks, or three separate cases within one school year.)
Multidisciplinary group consisting of parent, teachers, administrators, social workers, school nurse, and other appropriate individuals to determine the best approach to resolving the issue and improve school attendance.”
There may be some variation in lice policies from school to school since these are recommendations but not requirements. Check with your school nurse to ensure that you are up to date on your child’s school lice policy.Learn About Our Lice Treatment Service