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Western Massachusetts School Lice Policy

Western Massachusetts School Lice Policy
Created on 
March 27, 2017
Updated on 
January 31, 2023

Springfield, MA public schools

source: www.sps.springfield.ma.us

Springfield schools do not allow students with live bugs to remain in school, but students with nits are allowed to return to school after treatment. Effective December 15, 2015, the following policy was out into effect:

  1. The school nurse will determine that a child is in need of treatment for head lice and is unable to obtain the medication necessary for treatment.
  2. The school nurse will dispense to the parent a box of Nix® to use on the student as supplies last.
  3. The school nurse will provide written directions to parent and review in detail the directions on how to use the medication.
  4. The student will return the following day to ensure success of treatment.
  5. Students that have been treated and verification of treatment made by the school nurse, and the student is not at risk of spreading head lice, but may have nits will be allowed to return to class.
  6. The school nurse will continue to work with the parent/guardian on removal of the nits.

The following are steps that can be taken to help prevent and control the spread of head lice:

  • The school will notify the parents/guardians of children in the classroom of a child identified as having head lice by sending home the Head Lice Information Sheet.
  • Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities
  • Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
  • Do not share combs, brushes, or towels.
  • Do not lie on couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.
  • The school nurse can offer extra help to families of children who are repeatedly or chronically infested.It may be helpful to make home visits to ensure that treatment is being conducted effectively.
clean child head


Dear Parent/Guardian: Recommended Treatment

  1. Many agents are currently available over the counter. Apply the solution following the directions.
  2. It is recommended that each family member follow this procedure, to avoid possible transmission.
  3. In addition to using the product, you can also use a white vinegar and water rinse. A 50/50 solution has been found to loosen the nits and aid in their removal. After the treatment a fine toothed comb should be used to remove the nits, working from the scalp outward.
  4. Put on clean clothes. Clothing, bedding and cloth toys can be disinfected by machine washing or drying using hot cycles.
  5. Dry cleaning, or storing articles in plastic bags for 10 days is also effective.
  6. Combs and brushes are disinfected by soaking in hot water for 10 minutes. You may choose to wash them with the chosen lice removal solution.
  7. All carpets, sofas, chairs and interior of cars must be vacuumed and the vacuum bag must be tied tightly and thrown away.
  8. Family members must be instructed on the importance of using only their own comb, brush, hat coat, etc."

Holyoke Public Schools

www.hps.holyoke.ma.us (pg 67) Students in the Holyoke school district must be checked and cleared by the school nurse prior to returning to school. “MANAGEMENT OF PEDICULOSIS (Head Lice) Students with head lice will be dismissed immediately from school and will not be readmitted until the hair has been properly treated at home. Parents/guardians will be provided with instructions on how to treat and eliminate head lice. No more than two (2) days will be allowed as excused absences for the purpose of treatment and nit removal. More than two days out of school for head lice care will be considered unexcused absences due to parental/guardian non-compliance. Before the child can be readmitted to school, the parent/guardian must make arrangements with the school nurse by calling in advance so that the child may be examined by the nurse before the child returns to class."

Northampton Public Schools

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This district has a more lenient lice policy than the two above school districts. In accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Northampton schools have dropped their "no nit" policy and allow students with head lice to remain in school until the end of the day that they are diagnosed. "The policy of the Northampton Public Schools regarding head lice is that no student will be dismissed during the school day for live lice or nits. If a student is reported to have head lice the School Nurse will do the following:

  1. The student will be examined to determine if there is an active infestation; live lice or many nits less than one-quarter inch from the scalp. (Due to the rate of hair growth nits that are farther away from the scalp will not hatch or have already hatched)
  2. If the School Nurse determines that there is an active infestation the student’s parent/guardian will be notified but the student may remain in school until the end of the school day.
  3. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to make arrangements with the School Nurse for the student to be examined before re-entry into school. The parent/guardian must accompany the child to school for this examination so that the School Nurse can check for the presence of live lice, review treatment, and provide any needed instructions or support.
  4. Only 1 day will be allowed as an excused absence for the purpose of treatment. More time out of school than this will be considered unexcused absences due to parental/guardian non-compliance and will be referred to the Principal for follow-up. It is recognized that no child should routinely be excluded from school due to head lice and parents will be encouraged to treat promptly if needed and return the child to school the next day.
  5. Chronic or repeated head lice infestations should be referred to the Director of Health Services for consultation. In the case of repeated head lice infestations the child may be excluded from school as long as the case is active (live lice) and until effective treatment has been provided.
  6. Parents/Guardians should examine all members of the household for head lice and all close contacts should be notified.
  7. The School Nurse will provide educational materials and resources to parents/guardians, students, and school staff regarding head lice infestations, management, and treatment."

Chicopee Public Schools www.chicopeeps.org (pg 12) The Chicopee district expects students to be lice and nit-free in order to return to school. "If nits and lice are present, the student will be dismissed from school by the school nurse and the child must be treated with a pediculicide shampoo before admission back to school. The student’s hair will be examined by the school nurse before re-entering school. If the nurse concludes that the treatment has been ineffective, the student will be excluded. The school nurse has the authority to require the parent to provide proof of the treatment (label or box). The first treatment should be followed by a second treatment approximately one week later to insure the remaining nits are killed. Parents should examine all members of the family for head lice and treat those who have lice or nits. The school nurse will provide assistance and information upon request of the parent/guardian."

Ludlow Public Schools

www.ludlowps.org This district maintains a "no nit" policy. "The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has identified the following as being particular problems among school population. Please contact the school nurse if your child is ill with one of these diseases. Pediculosis (head lice): Student must be nit free and checked by the school nurse before returning to school."

Lee Public Schools

www.leepublicschools.net (pg 19/20) Lee Public Schools maintain a lenient head lice policy and do not exclude students who have live lice or nits. "Although a nuisance, having head lice is no cause for alarm. If it is discovered that a child has head lice, the school nurse will contact the parent of the child and advise them of what can be done. There is no need to send a child home from school with lice, as the chance of spread is small. These recommendations come from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control."

North Adams Public Schools

bes.napsk12.org North Adams schools continue to have a no net policy as follows: "If a student is absent from school because of a contagious disease and under the care of a physician, a note form the physician is required before the student can return to school. Parents will be notified if their child is found to have head lice or nits. Children will be readmitted into school after treatment and removal of all nits have been verified by the school nurse.". LiceDoctors will come to your home and eradicate the nits and lice so that you do not have to worry about an ongoing case preventing your child from returning to school. Give us a call in the Western Massachusetts area at 413-314-2024. Whether you are in Stockbridge or Holyoke, Williamstown or Great Barrington, an experienced technician will come to your home at your convenience and solve your lice problem. That’s our guarantee!



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