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Madison School Lice Policy

Madison School Lice Policy
Created on 
March 27, 2017
Updated on 
April 14, 2017

School Lice Policies In Madison, Wisconsin and Surrounding Areas The Dane County Department of Health recommends that, "Head lice: Child may return after first effective treatment and no lice are observed." More information:

Madison Public Schools

Madison schools, in keeping with the aforementioned recommendation from the Dane County Department of Health, allow students to return to school with nits after treatment. No longer are students with nits sent home after they have been treated. "Since head lice (pediculosis) has been common in most schools, it is a good idea for you to periodically check your child’s head for lice and eggs. If your child should get head lice, please let the health office staff know." More information:

Middleton-Cross Plains Schools

This district maintains a "no nit" policy. "Presence of live head lice or eggs (before treatment) will constitute exclusion from school. Students will be readmitted when treatment is assured and live lice or eggs are not seen. (Sec. HSS 145.01, Wisconsin Administrative Code) If nits or eggs are present in the hair 7-10 days after the initial treatment, another treatment is recommended, not required." More information:

Janesville Schools

Children Raising Their Hands In A Classroom

Janesville Schools do not have a "no nit" policy; children with live lice will be sent home for treatment. "During the school year, trained staff in the schools will be checking student’s heads when there is a suspicion of head lice. This suspicion is noted because a student is frequently scratching their hair in class, a staff person notes head lice or eggs (nits) in a student’s hair, or a parent reports a case of head lice to the school. Once a case of head lice is identified or reported, staff will check the heads of other close contacts (where spread is most likely) to check for additional spread to other students in the school. Students with live lice will be sent home for treatment. Upon their return to school, students with live lice will be checked to be sure they have no live lice before returning to the classroom. Schools will also use letters (sent home with students) to notify parents of head lice in their child’s classroom and ask for the parents help in monitoring for head lice. Parents can also help by watching for the classic signs and symptoms of head lice. These include: A tickling feeling or something moving in the hair. Itching caused by the allergic reaction from the lice bites. Irritability or difficulty sleeping as adult lice is most active at night. Sores on the scalp caused by scratching. If parents note these signs or symptoms they should check for head lice. If head lice are found, check with the child’s doctor or your local pharmacy for treatment options. Report the case of head lice to your child’s school. Together we can minimize the impact of head lice and lost school time. If you have questions or concerns, please call your school nurse. More information:


Beloit schools maintain a lenient policy regarding admission to school with lice. As long as a student has proof of treatment, the child will be re-admitted to school, even if live lice are still present. The policy is as follows: "CONTROL AND TREATMENT OF HEAD LICE/NITS IN THE SCHOOLS IF SUSPECTED:

  1. If suspected of having head lice, the student shall be removed from the classroom as unobtrusively as possible for further inspection.
  2. A student may be suspected of having head lice if the following are noted: a. The student complains of an “itchy scalp” or is observed scratching his/her scalp. b. The student has nits and/or live lice. c. The student has open sores/lesions on the scalp.
  3. The student may be inspected privately by the School Nurse, or by other trained building personnel designated by the principal.


  1. The parent/guardian or the designated emergency contact person will be notified. The student shall be allowed to return to the classroom for the remainder of the day.
  2. While there is no medical reason to remove a child from school due to head lice, the student’s parent or guardian may choose to take the student home before the end of the school day.
  3. The student shall be readmitted when the school receives documentation of treatment for head lice. This may include, but is not limited to, a note from the parent stating the treatment used, or a treatment product bottle, box top, label, receipt, etc. Students will be re-inspected by the School Nurse or principal’s designee, upon return to school. If there are live lice detected and/or there is no proof of treatment, the parent/guardian will be notified and the student will be dismissed from school. The student may not return to school until there are no live lice detected or proof of treatment is provided.
  4. A student should not miss more than one day of school following head lice detection. Truancy laws will apply to students missing excessive amounts of school due to head lice infestations.
  5. Parent conferences may be appropriate when a student is frequently absent due to head lice infestations. Referrals to community agencies may be appropriate.

More information:

Wisconsin Dells

Children Laughing

Students with live lice will be sent home to be treated. After treatment, students with nits only will be allowed to return to school. "8451 - PEDICULOSIS (HEAD LICE) IF SUSPECTED: A. If suspected of having head lice, the student shall be removed from the classroom for further inspection. B. A student may be suspected of having head lice if the following signs are noted:

  1. The student complains of itching behind the ears, at the back of the neck and/or the crown of the head, or
  2. The student has a visible rash on neck or scalp, nits and/or live lice.

TO INSPECT: A. The student may be inspected privately by the school nurse, if available, or by other designated building personnel. Severe cases are obvious to identify by simply looking at the student’s head. Mild cases will require a closer inspection under good light. The following inspection procedures shall be used:

  1. Student should be brought to an area offering good light. The examination should be done unobtrusively and privately.
  2. A separate, clean implement (e.g., tongue depressor, unused pencil, toothpick) may be used to separate the hair. Gloves may also be used. Use of gloves is at the discretion of the inspector. See "B" below.
  3. Care must be taken not to convey the message that the student is too "dirty" to touch; the student has no control over the problem.
  4. The individual conducting the examination needs to maintain a calm and reassuring attitude.

B. There is no reason to fear catching lice while inspecting an individual since lice cannot jump or fly and the nits are stuck to the hair shaft. (Physicians and other health workers have investigated hundreds of suspected and infested children without catching lice themselves.) Simply washing the hands with soap and water is sufficient upon completion of the inspection. C. There are several ways to tell the difference between nits and dandruff. A nit is stuck to the hair shaft and will not shake off, as dandruff will. A flake of dandruff is non-dimensional and white, while a nit is teardrop shaped and silvery white, gray or brown in color. TO EXCLUDE: A. If a lice infestation is suspected or confirmed, the building principal or a person so delegated shall be informed.

  1. The building principal or designee may exclude a student until diagnosis and/or adequate treatment has occurred.
  2. All students with live lice shall automatically be excluded.
  3. The student will be kept at school until the parent/guardian or the designated emergency contact person is notified or until the end of the school day.
  4. Students with live lice shall not go back to their classroom.
  5. The building principal may use the school nurse as a resource in determining which students should be excluded.

B. A student should not be absent from school for more than twenty-four (24) hours from the time of parent/guardian notification of infestation.

  1. Should chronic reinfestation occur in individuals, the school may request that additional measures be taken prior to readmission.
  2. Truancy laws will apply to students missing excessive amounts of school due to head lice infestation.

C. The transportation department will be notified if students are not to be transported to school by bus. Suspension of bus transportation will only occur after the parent or guardian has been notified in person, by telephone, or by confirmed receipt of certified mail. TO READMIT: A. The parent/guardian will be given a copy of the treatment recommendations and will be instructed about the treatment verification form. B. The student will not be readmitted to school without this signed form.

  1. The parent/guardian is required to bring the student to school to be checked before being readmitted.
  2. The District does not require absence of nits for re-admittance to school, but the nits must have been treated to reduce viability.

C. Students will be reinspected in seven (7) to ten (10) days after the exclusion date, preferably by the person doing the initial inspection and/or school nurse, to determine if re-infestation has occurred. If re-infestation is suspected, follow the above guidelines for exclusion from school. CONFIDENTIALITY: A. Only information needed for the purpose of assuring notification of the appropriate parties involved and for prevention of further outbreaks should be noted. B. All information shall be kept in confidence in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. C. Treatment verification forms are to be logged and destroyed. D. Although any head lice infestation information regarding a particular student is confidential and will not be released, general information about a confirmed case of head lice in the schools may be provided to students, staff and parents. E. Each building will maintain a log of students suspected of head lice infestation with inspection, exclusion, treatment and re-inspection dates and results." More information: LiceDoctors recommends that you keep up with your school head lice policy by calling the school nurse. Districts periodically modify their lice policies.

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