Updated on July 13, 2020
In 2009, the Iowa Department of Public Health revised its guidelines for schools and head lice management. Basically, the recommendations are for schools to drop their "no nit" policies and allow students to remain in school until the end of the school day. Students are then to be treated at home and may return the next day to school.
Iowa Recommendations on Head Lice Prevention and Control for Schools
"The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) updated ―Iowa Recommendations on Head Licee? Prevention and Control for Schools and fact sheets are posted at the IDPH Epidemiology (EPI) Manual site - http://www.idph.state.ia.us/idph_universalhelp/main.aspx?system=IdphEpiManual. The recommendations are:
- Discontinue routine school-based screening;
- Discontinue ―no nit policies;
- Send children home at the end of the day;
- Do not use sprays and chemicals;
- Teach parents appropriate treatment techniques;
- Recommend family doctor consultation if medication does not work;
- Seek further information as needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website isavailable at http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head. Also, please find the updated brochure at http://www.idph.state.ia.us/hcci/common/pdf/headlice_brochure.pdf or order at www.drugfreeinfo.org."
More information: publications.iowa.gov
Sioux City, Iowa
In accordance with the Iowa Department of Public Health, students with live lice and nits may remain in school for the day and then should be sent home to undergo a treatment to eradicate the infestation. "Any student who has been identified with live lice will be allowed to stay in school for the remainder of the school day though treatment should be started before returning to school. It is in the best interest of the student to continue to participate in regular classroom and academic programming." More information: www.siouxcityschools.org
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
This district has a relatively lenient policy with respect to head lice. Generally children with live infestations may remain in school until the end of the day. The child is then expected to be treated at home and will be allowed to return to school the following day. Sioux Falls School District Head Lice Guidelines "Based on the recommendations of the National Association of School Nurses, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, and the State Department of Health the following are guidelines for managing head lice in the school setting:
- Teachers and/or parents may request that a student be checked for lice, based on excessive head scratching, student report of a “crawling” feeling, or observation of suspected lice and/or eggs.
- The student should be screened by the school nurse or a trained, designated school employee.
- Students with live lice should be allowed to remain in the classroom until the end of the day, but should be discouraged from close head to head contact with other students.
- In isolated situations students may be sent home. Sending a student home is determined on an individual basis. Common sense should prevail when deciding how contagious an individual child may be (a child with hundreds of live lice vs. a child with 2 live lice).
- Parent/guardian should be informed of the findings either by phone or note. Information on head lice and treatment should be provided to the parent/guardian. It is expected that parent/guardian will treat the child before sending them back to school.
- The student may return to school the next day. The nurse or designated staff will determine if a student has been treated based on parent/guardian report and visual inspection.
- Non-compliant cases require the use of good nursing judgment that does not punish the child.
- Classroom checks and letters informing parents of head lice may be done in the case of an outbreak and at the discretion of the school nurse. The school nurse is the best person to provide education and guidance for head lice management."
More information: www.sf.k12.sd.us
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Council Bluffs schools will send a child home from school to be treated if live lice are found. He child may be re admitted the next day. "In accordance with the Iowa Department of Health recommendations, students will no longer be excluded from school for head lice. If head lice is detected on a student, health office personnel will make every effort to reach the parents or guardian to pick up their child and initiate the recommended treatment." More information: lckr.lewiscentral.org
Ponca, Nebraska Schools
Unlike the aforementioned districts, students in Ponca are sent home to be treated and must remain at home for one day post-treatment. "Please inform the school if your child has an infectious condition or illness (chicken pox, head lice, pink eye, etc.) Students returning to school after an absence due to a contagious condition my be required to provide a doctor’s statement concerning the student’s condition and fitness. A child with head lice will be dismissed from school to a parent or guardian. The child will not be allowed back in school for a period of 24 hours from treatment." More information: www.poncaschool.org If you are in the Sioux City area and discover that your child has head lice, give us a call at 712-587-9202. We will treat your family to ensure that your child is re admitted to school the next day.