Head Lice Information

NEW!!  American Association of Pediatrics releases new guidelines on head lice:  



Columbus ISD Head Lice Protocol

According to the CISD Elementary School Student Handbook 2014-15:

Head lice, although not an illness or a disease, is very common among children and is spread very easily through head-to-head contact during play, sports, or nap time and when children share things like brushes, combs, hats, and headphones.  Because lice spread so easily, the district will need to exclude any student found to have live lice until after one treatment of an FDA-approved shampoo or cream rinse, which can be purchased from a drug store or grocery store.

If careful observation indicates that a student has head lice, the school nurse will contact the student's parents and inform the parent that the child will be picked up from school and will need to stay home until after an initial treatment is applied.  After the student has undergone one treatment, the parent should check in with the school nurse to discuss the treatment used.  The nurse can also offer additional recommendations, including subsequent treatments and how best to get rid of lice and prevent their return.

More information on head lice can be obtained from the TDSHS Web site at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/schoolhealth/lice.shtm

CISD's protocol regarding head lice is designed to protect the integrity of the school day, and to minimize embarrassment and unnecessary isolation of students with pediculosis.   Evidence-based practices and recommendations from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Harvard School of Public Health have concluded that entire classroom evaluations and routine screenings are generally not productive and result in a potential loss of privacy, embarrassment for students, and decreased instructional time due to classroom disruption.

As a result, mass screenings of students (including entire classroom screenings) will not be conducted. The school nurse will screen students for pediculosis on an individual student basis as the preferred method.  Parents of students found with active lice will be called to pick up their child and the child may not be readmitted until treated with an FDA-approved treatment as stated in the CES Student Handbook.  Following treatment, parents should bring their child to the nurse's office for screening prior to readmittance to school.

Screening is performed in the health room in a confidential manner, upon referral of a student or students by themselves, their parents, and/or school personnel.  Referral is based on these symptoms of pediculosis:

  • frequent scratching of the head and/or back of the neck
  • pink to red marks on the scalp and/or back of neck
  • unexplainable sores and/or scabs on the scalp/back of the neck
  • yellowish white or brown eggs (nits) attached to strands of hair that can't be washed out or flicked off with the finger
  • white to gray crawling forms about the size of a sesame seed

The best treatment for lice is prevention.  Parents play a critical role in this process.  Some recommendations are as follows:

  • Throughout the school year, check your child's hair weekly and after overnight visits with others. 
  • Educate your children to avoid the spread of lice by head-to-head contact, sharing hats, combs, brushes, etc.
  • Keep in mind that no treatment has been found to be 100% effective.


Parent, Teacher, and Community Information Regarding Head Lice

CDC Web Site on Lice:  http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/index.html