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Saint Paul School Head Lice Policies


Updated on July 23, 2020

Schools in Saint Paul do not enforce strict a “no nit” policy for head lice.


“Head lice are a common problem for children in schools and child care. Anyone can get head lice.  Head lice are not a sign of uncleanliness and head lice do not spread disease.

Head lice are very small (less than 1/8 inch long), tan colored insects which live on human heads.  They lay their eggs (called nits) on the hair close to the scalp and the nits are attached to the hair by a strong "glue-like" substance which makes it hard to remove the nits.  The nits are tiny (about the size of a pencil dot) and grey or white in color.

Head lice are annoying parasites that feed on small amounts of blood once or more often each day.  The bite does not hurt but can cause itching and scratching.  Once hatched, lice can survive for up to 30 days.

Lice are spread primarily by direct, head-to-head contact with an infested individual.  Indirect spread through sharing of personal items such as combs, brushes, barrettes, hats, scarves, jackets, blankets, sheets, and pillows is less likely but possible.

Lice do not jump or fly.  They crawl and can fall off the head.  Head lice do not live longer than 48 hours off the human head. They only lay their eggs while on the head.  Nits which are more than 1/2 inch from the scalp are dead or empty and will not hatch.  The eggs do not hatch if they fall off the head. Lice do not spread to or from pets.

It takes 7-10 days from when the eggs are laid until they hatch.  Lice can spread as long as there are live lice on the head.

Prevention:   Young children frequently come into close head to head contact while playing.  Children can be taught to not share personal items such as combs and hats.  When children are scratching their heads, adults can check for head lice.  Affected children should be treated promptly.

Treatment: Special lice shampoo or crème rinse which will kill the lice can be purchased in the drug store or obtained by prescription from your clinic.  Download the "Lice Removal Pamphlet," located at the bottom of this page.

Natural alternative methods for controlling lice include: coating all the hair with petroleum jelly (or other smothering agents) by massaging the entire surface of the scalp and hair and leaving on overnight.

Manual removal of lice and nits with louse or nit combs is proposed by some as an effective but time-consuming method of treatment.  More often, it is proposed as an additional treatment to use with alternative methods or chemical lice shampoos and crème rinses.”

Source: Saint Paul Public Schools Health  & Wellness

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