Dallas, Texas and Surrounding Areas School Head Lice Policies
The Law and Policies Addressing Head Lice:
There is no statute in Texas that addresses excluding children with head lice from school. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, “There is no statute in Texas that addresses excluding children with head lice from school. Lice are not a public health threat, they do not carry disease. Therefore, the Department of State Health Services does not monitor or track cases of head lice. It is up to each school district to create head lice policies if they so choose.…and some do. Talk to the school nurse or someone else in charge to find out what the school policy is in your district.” While there is no state law regarding head lice in school, there has been a significant shift in head lice policies in the Dallas areas schools. Many schools have dropped their “no nit” policies in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the position papers of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School. The scientific evidence supports that exclusion from school for nits alone is not indicated. Because nits are not contagious and because students are usually in school for a few weeks before being diagnosed, these organizations recommend that students with nits be allowed to remain in school. The goal is to decrease number of absences of children due to head lice and nits.
Dallas County R-1 Schools Head Lice Policy
Dallas County R-1 Schools will not exclude otherwise healthy students from school due to nit infestations. “In keeping with the Dallas Co. R-I School District's policy of avoiding the unnecessary exclusion of students from school, the district will not exclude otherwise healthy students from school due to nit infestations. Students with head lice infestations will be excluded from school only to the minimum extent necessary for treatment. To avoid the unnecessary exclusion of students from school, the administration provides the following procedure: Schools will not perform routine school-wide head lice screening. However, should multiple cases be reported, the nurse will identify the population of students most likely to have been exposed and arrange to have that population of students examined.
- If the school nurse or teacher discovers head lice or nits on a student, the parent/guardian of that student will be notified, and other students who reside with the infected student will also be checked.
- The school nurse will instruct the parent/guardian concerning various shampoos, sprays and other appropriate treatments that can be purchased to eliminate head lice or nits and will also give information concerning necessary procedures to be taken in the home to ensure that the head lice are eliminated.
- If the student was infected with live head lice, the student should not return to school for 24 hours after the discovery of the head lice to allow for treatment.
- When a student who had a live head lice infestation returns to school, the student will be examined by the school nurse. If live head lice are found at that time, the parent/guardian will again be called and reinstructed concerning treatment. The student will be excluded from school for 24 hours to allow for additional treatment. This process will continue until the student is free of head lice.
- A student who was identified as having nits but not a live head lice infestation will be re-examined within five (5) calendar days of the initial identification. If this examination reveals nits are still present, the parent/guardian will again be instructed on treatment options. This process will repeat until the student is free of nits.
- The school nurse will keep accurate and confidential records of students infected with head lice or nits.
Learn more at Texas Dept. of State Health Services
Frisco Independent School Lice Policy
Policy Update 08/19/13 “Approved Local Board Policy FFAA pertaining to Health Requirements and Services, Physical Examinations, which adds a local policy that continues to mandate that students with a verified condition of live lice be excluded from school until the treatment prerequisite is met. How do You Get Head Lice?
- Head lice happen mostly with elementary school-aged children.
- Children get lice from other children through head to head contact during play or sports or nap time and most often in school settings.
- Sometimes sharing combs, hats or school lockers with a louse infested child can spread head lice.
- You can’t spread nits...only live lice.
- Head lice do not spread disease.
- Any child can get head lice. It doesn’t matter where they live or go to school; boy or girl, black, white or brown. It doesn’t mean the child is sick or unclean. It certainly doesn’t mean they have bad parents.
- Children get head lice almost as much as the common cold. Millions get it at least once a year.
HEAD LICE: Please call the nurse at if you discover that your child has lice. You will need to treat your child for lice before they can return to school. You must come to the school nurse’s office with your child so that the nurse can assure that your child no longer has live lice on their head before your child will be permitted to return to class. The nurse also has a form for you to sign before your child returns to class. This is FISD Policy." Learn more at schools.friscoisd.org
McKinney Independent School District School Health Services
This district no longer has a "no nit" policy. "Head Lice (Pediculosis) Guidelines MISD Health Services will follow the steps below in providing information about and the prevention of the spread of head lice.
- Information is available from the campus nurse and on our website about head lice and its prevention.
- The campus nurse instructs the students on prevention and the spread of head lice throughout the school year.
- The nurse checks for head lice on a particular student from the referral of a teacher or the child’s parent.
- Parents are called if their child is found to have head lice or nits and asked to pick up their child for treatment. A treatment plan and educational information is given to the parents, including a readmission criteria checklist. The child may remain in the classroom or the clinic prior to the parent’s arrival, whichever is less embarrassing for the child’s particular situation.
- MISD does not have a “No Nit” policy. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the campus nurse to recheck and observe the child for signs of treatment prior to the return to class. The campus nurse will observe to see if visible nits are removed. There needs to be a significant reduction in the amount of nits before a child will be readmitted to class. The nurse will follow up with the child, and his/her parents, if the child is not completely nit free.
- After the nurse is notified or finds a case of head lice/nits in a classroom, the entire classroom is checked. A letter is sent home if 3 or more cases of lice/ nits are found in that classroom.
- The classroom where the lice/nits are found will be rechecked in 10-14 days. If lice is found the above steps will be repeated.
- If a case of head lice goes untreated the nurse will involve the campus administrator in a meeting with the parents."
More information: www.mckinneyisd.net
Head Lice Information "Head lice, although not an illness or a disease, is very common among children and is spread very easily through head-to-head contact during play, sports, or nap time and when children share things like brushes, combs, hats, and headphones. If careful observation indicates that a student has head lice, the school nurse will contact the student’s parent to determine whether the child will need to be picked up from school and to discuss a plan for treatment with an FDA-approved medicated shampoo or cream rinse that may be purchased from any drug or grocery store. After the student has undergone one treatment, the parent should check in with the school nurse to discuss the treatment used. The nurse can also offer additional recommendations, including subsequent treatments and how best to get rid of lice and prevent their return." More information: www.midlothian-isd.net
Students will be re-admitted to school after they have been treated and live lice have been killed. "What you can do:
- Inspect your child’s hair and scalp frequently.
- Teach your child not to share personal items i.e. brushes, combs, etc.
- Encourage each family member to use only their assigned brush.
- Notify the school nurse or teacher if you find lice/nits on your child."
More information: www.garlandisd.net
Plano Independent School District Lice Policy
“Plano ISD follows the Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Department of State Health Services recommendations, the position papers of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses in the treatment and attendance guidelines for lice re-admittance to school. The scientific evidence supports that exclusion from school for nits alone is not indicated. In unusual circumstances, the Plano ISD Administration and the school principal reserve the right to modify these recommendations during unusual episodes. The best treatment is prevention. Throughout the school year, check your child's hair weekly and after overnight visits with other children. Educate your children to avoid spread of lice by head-to-head contact, sharing hats, combs, brushes, etc. Eggs (nits) not killed by treatments will continue to hatch within 7-10 days. All nits should be removed to prevent reinfestation and permit early recognition of any new infestation. Schools will take the following steps when it has been determined that lice are present: Once live lice have been identified, the parent will be contacted for treatment to begin. After treatment has begun and there are no live lice, the student should be checked by the school nurse prior to reentry to school.”
Learn more at www.pisd.edu.
In General Dallas Area School Lice Policies Becoming More Lenient Schools across the Dallas vicinity are changing their lice policies toward being more lenient and allowing students with nits into school. Some districts retain their “no nit” policies so it is important for parents to check with the district to understand what its admission criteria are.