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Honolulu School Lice Policy

Honolulu School Lice Policy
Created on 
March 27, 2017
Updated on 
December 4, 2022

Hawaii Health Department

According to the Department of Health, the Department of Education does not have a set policy on head lice, however, they report that schools in general send children home until they are lice and nit-free. As reported on the Hawaiian government site, "Should a person with head lice stay away from work or school? Yes, until they are properly treated. A person with head lice should limit their contact with others for 24 hours after starting effective treatment. The Department of Education says there is no firm policy on sending children home from school if they have head lice. However, they will be sent home until the problem is solved." More information: Explain DOE School Policy on Head Lice (Uku)

  • Children can be removed from classroom and sent home if they have head lice.
  • Emphasize the negative effect that head lice has on a child’s education.
  • Head lice cause a child to miss school and child falls behind in school work. It can be hard to catch up!
  • Head lice can lower self-esteem, when other children tease the child with head lice. Ultimately, the child may begin to dislike school.
Got uku

Although small in stature, uku (head lice) are big trouble for schools in Hawaii. Many of Hawaii’s children are missing school due to endemic uku infestation. The stigma associated with uku, and the school work missed when a child is sent home from school can have long-lasting repercussions on a child’s education. For many of us who grew up in Hawaii, a short bout of uku was part of childhood; something we can look back and laugh about. However, to many of our low-income and immigrant families already faced with language, cultural and economic challenges, the cost, knowledge and accessibility of commercial uku products can create large barriers to education. More information: www.hawaiipirc.org

Honolulu Public Schools

Girl making lei - LiceDoctors

In an era when many schools are moving away from no-nit policies, Honolulu schools retain the no-nit and no-lice policy as follows, "If your child has Pediculosis (head lice) - Any student who has head lice must undergo treatment to eliminate nits and live lice. Prior to returning to class, any student who has been sent home with head lice must report to the Health Room for clearance. For more information on getting rid of head lice, please see our Health Aide. Uku: Uku or head lice are a common occurrence among school age students in Hawaii. Any uku infestation is contagious. Head lice is transmitted by head to head contact or on shared personal items such as: hats, combs, brushes, towels, etc. Please check your children’s heads monthly and especially when he/she complains of an itchy head. Should you find any bugs or eggs start treatment right away. Please notify Health Aide of your encounter and help us keep ukus off campus. Uku Protocol: When uku, nits are found on any student’s head their parent/guardian will be called to take the student home. The parent will be advised to clean and rid the hair of all uku and nits BEFORE returning to school. Parent must accompany student to health room upon return to school where a recheck will take place. If ukus are found, the student will be sent home with their parent to continue cleaning and treatment process. If none is found, the student will be sent to class from the health room. ‘Aikahi Elementary School follows the State of Hawaii, Department of Education guidelines on head lice: Our Health Aide will check students who are suspected of having head lice. If head lice or nits are detected, parents will be contacted and the student will be excluded from school. Parents should seek medical advice from your personal physician or local pharmacist regarding treatment." More information: aikahischool.weebly.com

Head Lice (Ukus) Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy

"Despite the fact that millions of school children get head lice each year, having head lice can often be a sensitive issue. Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy is sympathetic to the circumstances families find themselves in when infestation occurs. The school will follow these procedures to best assist with the identification, treatment, control, and prevention of head lice in a consistent and coordinated manner. Evaluation: A student might be suspected of having head lice/nits if the following conditions are present:

  • The student complains of a tickling sensation or itching behind the ears, at the back of the neck and on the crown of the head.
  • The student has a telltale rash or sores on the scalp caused by scratching.
  • Nits/lice are observed on the hair.

A student who is suspected of having head lice will be evaluated using the following procedures:

  • The student will discretely be removed from the classroom and sent to the infirmary for evaluation.
  • The school nurse or office staff will inspect the student’s head.
  • The examination will be done privately and unobtrusively.
  • The individual conducting the examination will maintain a calm and reassuring attitude and remember that the student has no control over the problem.

If it is confirmed that the student has head lice or many nits:

  • The student’s parents will be notified and the student will need to be picked up by a parent.
  • Office staff will provide the parent with information on the treatment of head lice.
  • The parent will be instructed to come to school with the student the day after being treated for a recheck with the nurse between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.
  • Office staff will conduct a screening of all students in the classroom of the affected student.
  • Office staff will conduct a screening of all students in the classroom of the affected student’s siblings.

Notification: A letter will be sent to families as follows:

  • To all families in the affected student’s classroom.
  • To all families at the Village Campus when three or more cases of head lice are identified in the same day.

Return to school: The parent must accompany student to school the morning after being treated for a recheck in the infirmary between 7:30 and 8:15 a.m. The student will return to class if the office staff determines there are no live lice. Follow-Up Examination: The office staff will reexamine the student 7-10 days post treatment after the child has had the seven-day retreatment. Prevention: To prevent the occurrence of head lice in their children, parents and families should:

  • Check children’s hair at home on a weekly basis.
  • Keep your child home from school with untreated head lice.
  • Regularly inspect all household members for head lice and then treat them if necessary.
  • Notify the school if their child has live lice and advise when appropriate treatment was commenced.
  • Encourage children with long hair to attend school with their hair tied back.
  • Use only safe and recommended practices to treat head lice.
  • Make an appointment with the school’s Health Services office for a recheck the next morning after treatment.
  • Notify the parents or caregivers of your child’s friends so they have an early opportunity to detect and treat their children if necessary.
  • Maintain a sympathetic attitude and avoid stigmatizing/blaming families who are experiencing head lice infestations.
  • Act responsibly and respectfully when dealing with members of the school community around issues of head lice.

To support parents and the entire HPA community to achieve a consistent, collaborative approach to head lice management the school will:

  • Distribute up-to-date and accurate information on the detection, treatment, and control of head lice to parents and staff at the beginning of the year or more frequently if required
  • Include information and updates in school newsletters.
  • Inform parents when there are cases of head lice in their child’s class.
  • Provide practical advice and maintain a sympathetic attitude and avoid stigmatizing/blaming families who are experiencing head lice infestation.
  • Send a letter to all children involved to help reduce the stigma and maintain confidentiality when conducting head lice inspections.
  • Only exclude children from school who have live lice/nits.
  • Send children home for treatment at the end of the school day if live lice are found during the school day.
  • Designate office staff to be available between 7:30 and 8:15 a.m. to recheck children prior to returning to class.
  • Accept the advice of parents that appropriate treatment has commenced.
  • Encourage children to learn about head lice to help remove any stigma or “bullying” associated with the issue.
  • Act responsibly and respectfully when dealing with members of the school community especially around issues of head lice.
  • Continue to seek opportunities to increase our collective understanding of and response to managing head lice.

More information: www.hpa.edu

Kaneohe Schools

This district also maintains a "no nit" policy. "Pediculosis/Lice/Ukus

  • If your child has LIVE lice, he/she should be kept home from school and treated.
  • All bedding, clothing, personal and household items should be thoroughly cleaned for lice and nits.
  • Any child with LIVE lice will be sent home for proper treatment.

If a child has pediculosis (uku or head lice) the health aide will call the parent or guardian to pick up their child from school. Parents or guardians must use uku shampoo to kill the live uku and nits. They must report to the health aide in the morning with their parent or guardian and get a clearance pass to re-enter the classroom.If the child isn't cleared, s/he will return home with their parent/guardian until the head lice and nits are all removed." More information: heeiahawks.weebly.com/tips.html

Ewa Beach Schools

Schools in Ewa Beach also retain a "no nit" policy. "If a child has head lice,he or she will be sent home to be treated. After being treated the child must return to school to be checked by the school health aide. If the child is lice-free he or she will return to class with a permission slip from the health aide. If the child is found to have nits or lice, he or she will not be allowed to return to school and will be sent home again to be re-treated. Child will be allowed to return to school when he or she is lice-free and nit-free." More information: www.keoneulaes.org

Pearl City

Parents are responsible for screening children for nits and “‘ukus”. Please inform the school of any infestation so we can take preventative action for other students. Students may also be checked periodically at school. If a student has ‘ukus, a parent will be contacted and the child will be sent home with a Dept. of Health form SHS-35A. DOH recommends treatment with an over-the-counter pediculosis shampoo. Brochures and fliers, covering instructions relating to all family members and how to care for the home, are available in the health room or through the Department of Health. Children must be treated thoroughly at home and are expected back to school on the next day. Students should report to the health room for clearance before returning to class. The treatment of ‘ukus is not considered an excused absence. A student will be referred to the health room if noticeable itching occurs. More information: www.waiauelementary.org. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that schools allow children to return with the nits as long as the child has been treated. The rationale behind that recommendation is that by the time a child is diagnosed he or she has been in the classroom long enough to transmit the nits, and too many children were missing many days of school. Across the country, schools have been changing from no-nit policies to no live lice policies, allowing children into school with nits. The Honolulu area is an exception to this at present time. Honolulu schools may at some point revise their policies or they may retain them. Parents should check with the school nurse to be sure that they have the most up-to-date school head lice policy for their child.



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