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Head lice info for North Shore schools

North Shore school health manual - Section 13

Head lice, also known as pediculosis, can be itchy and uncomfortable but are not a major public health concern.  They do not spread illness or disease.

How does head lice spread?

Head lice are spread from person to person in direct head-to-head contact or indirectly through contact with shared items that have been in contact with heads like hats, combs or brushes.

Schools, families and the school public health nurse all have a role to play in the control and management of head lice.

Schools' role in managing head lice

  • Implement head lice management protocols and guidelines based on best practices and health recommendations. Our head lice package includes a notice to parents, alert letter, fact sheet and treatment options materials for you to use.

  • Promote best practices for head lice management as outlined by the public health nurse. This can include holding annual or biannual head lice awareness weeks where activities are designed to promote facts and dispel myths or distributing ongoing awareness materials and head check reminders via newsletters, websites, bulletin boards, health fairs, open houses, parent-teacher evenings, PAC meetings or other group events.

  • Develop a resource library or section on the school website with information and best practice guidelines for management of head lice.

Head lice resources for schools

Families' role in managing head lice

  • Take a proactive approach in understanding lice

  • Teach your child about prevention of head lice (avoiding head to head contact, sharing hats, headsets, scarves, helmets, etc.)

  • Ask questions and get information about head lice prevention and treatment options

  • Check the heads of every member of the household weekly when lice have been identified in a close contact

  • Only treat household members who actually have head lice

  • Use recommended evidence-based treatment methods

Public health's role

The school public health nurse does not perform individual or group checks, support mass screening head checks or provide treatment to individuals or groups.

Public health will:

  • Ensure schools are provided with standardized, evidence-based head lice information for staff, teachers, families and students.

  • Act as a resource for the management of head lice and speak to families and advisory committees as requested.

  • Provide support and resources to schools for development of head lice management practices. We do not support exclusion from school due to head lice.

  • Build capacity of facility staff, parents and other caregivers in the treatment and management of head lice.

For more information please call North Shore Public Health at (604) 983-6700. 

SOURCE: Head lice info for North Shore schools ( )
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