Fresno Schools Lice Policy

cartoon graphic of school children with desk and blackboard

Fresno schools allow students with nits to remain in school

This is in keeping with the trend toward more lenient school lice policies.

“Student Health Services Department of Fresno Unified School District implemented guidelines which are consistent with practices supported by scientific information regarding head lice.  Head lice are a nuisance condition and pose no threat to a student’s health.  Therefore, to protect students from unnecessary exclusion from school, those students with suspected infestations of head lice will be assessed and referred for treatment as follows:

School personnel trained by the credentialed school nurse will screen students who present with symptoms that include the presence of a moving louse and / or persistent scalp itching.  Students who present with lice eggs (nits) only are not automatically presumed to have an active lice infestation and will not be considered to have a lice infestation unless a live (crawling) louse is found on the head.

Every effort will be made to protect the student’s privacy and maintain confidentiality.  (cf. 4119.23/4219.23– Unauthorized Release of Confidential/Privileged Information)

The student will be screened by separating the hair shafts with clean applicator sticks and systematically checking the entire scalp. The presence of a crawling louse will be diagnostic for head lice. (cf. 5141.3 – Health Examinations)

‘Head lice rarely (if ever) cause direct harm, and they are not known to transmit infectious agents from person-to-person.  Thus, they should not be considered as a medical or a public health problem.  There is no convincing data that demonstrates that exclusion policies are effective in reducing the transmission of lice.  It is our professional opinion that the no-nits policies are based on misinformation rather than on objective science.’

Pollack, Richard J., 2000, Head Lice Information Statement, Harvard School of Public Health website: Referral for treatment:

A student with an active head lice infestation will receive a written referral requesting the parent/guardian to follow-up with an appropriate treatment at home.  A student will not be referred for treatment unless at least one live (crawling) louse is identified. 

Students will not be referred for treatment with the presence of nits only. Students may remain in school until the end of the school day. 

Students with active infestations must be treated before returning to school. (Education Code 48213) (cf. 5112.2 – Exclusions from Attendance) (cf. 5145.6 – Parental Notifications) …

Return to School

Students can be effectively treated and returned to school with no more than one day of absence.  Students are considered to have been treated when no live (crawling) louse is found upon re-examination of the scalp by designated trained school personnel.  The presence of nits (eggs) alone does not constitute failure to treat and is not grounds for continued exclusion from school.

Reichert, Mackenzie, Hightower and Blake (2001) found that the presence of nits did not imply an ongoing active infestation with lice; on initial screening, only 31% of children with nits had lice.  Furthermore, not all children with nits became infested; only 18% of children with nits alone developed lice over the next 14 days.  Most children with nits alone will not become infested.  Excluding these children from school and requiring them to be treated with a pediculicide is excessive.  Pediatrics.  2001; 107:1011-1015.”

If your child is found to have head lice in the Fresno area, contact LiceDoctors at 559-785-0994 for same day service. Treatments are all chemical-free, fully guaranteed, and covered by FSAs and HSAs, and by some insurance plans.