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Seattle and Tacoma School Head Lice Policies

Seattle and Tacoma School Head Lice Policies
Updated on 
March 27, 2017

Seattle School Lice Policy Tends Towards Leniency

Seattle Public Schools

Tacoma Public Schools

  • “when a student is suspected of having lice or nits, please refer the student to the nurse or designated employee trained by the nurse to do such checks for a private, personal assessment. Universal precautions are to be used to avoid transmitting the lice to others.
  • When a student is confirmed to have lice – the student’s parent/guardian will be notified that day by telephone or by a note sent home with the student at the end of the school day. Provide the parent/guardian information on the care options for treatment. Siblings and close contacts of the affected student should also be screened for head lice. A student who is found to have lice may remain in school and in class until the end of the day. Discretion should be used regarding individual cases. Students should be discouraged from close head-to-head contact with others. Confidentiality must be maintained. After treatment the child should be able to return to school the next day. Encourage the family to remove as many nits as possible.
  • When the student returns to school an adult must accompany the student to the office. A trained designated staff member will check the student to verify that he/she is head lice free. The student should be re-examined 8 to 10 days after returning to school to determine that there are no more live lice.
  • If only nits (eggs) are found upon inspection of the students head, a telephone call to the parent/guardian should occur to determine if the student has been recently treated for head lice and to encourage the family to remove as many of the nits as possible.”

Northshore School District:

  • “Students with nits only will be rechecked in 8-10 days.  Parents are instructed to remove all nits.
  • Students found to have live lice; parent will be notified by phone and student may remain in school to the end of the day and a letter sent home regarding treatment.
  • To return to class students must present with evidence of adequate treatment (no lice and removal of most of the nits). Parents are asked to accompany the student to the office with the signed note stating what type of treatment was used.
  • Nurse may continue to provide follow-up checks.
  • The customary notification for the presence of head lice is to be done on an individual/case by case basis to the parent/guardian of an infested student. Classroom notifications are not done with typical head lice cases unless there are a high number of cases or other circumstances as determined by the school principal and school nurse.  Schools will remind families to routinely check their students throughout the year.
  • Entire classrooms will be screened when there are three cases in a 2-week period where the students are not in contact outside of class. (OSPI 2004)”

Lake Washington School District

  • “If your child is identified with lice, the school nurse will give you information on treatment options. All students with head lice must be excluded from school and remain at home until treatment is completed and all visible evidence of lice are removed. No child will be readmitted to school unless first checked by a district representative in the school office. A parent or guardian should accompany their child when they return to school.
  • For privacy reasons, a student with head lice will not be identified to staff or other students, except staff that provide re-checks and re-entry to school. For the same reasons, letters will be sent to the parents of a class for a single case of lice in that class. Letters are sent only to the parents of the class involved. Remember, transmission can only happen with head to head contact or sharing items that have contacted the head such as combs, brushes, or hats.”

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