Mequon-Thiensville School District

Head Lice Guidelines: Attendance, Screening & Notification

Head Lice Attendance Guidelines

If a student is found to have nits (head lice eggs), further checking for live lice will be recommended on a daily basis for 2 weeks. Students with nits will be allowed to remain in school, rather than be sent home early.

If a student is found to have live lice, his/her parent will be notified and treatment will be recommended. The student will need to be picked up from school. Treatment needs to occur at home before the child can return to school the next day. The student will be checked the next day upon arrival at school. If found to have live lice, the student will need to be picked up again.

In previous years, the district had a “no-nits” policy. However, based on the recommendations from the above mentioned organizations, we no longer follow that policy. If students have nits, they are allowed to remain in school for the following reasons:

  • Nits that are more than ½ inch from the scalp are usually not viable and unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice.
  • Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred to other people.
  • Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks by nonmedical personnel.

Head Lice Screening at School

MTSD schools do not check classrooms or grade levels for lice. Research has shown that head lice screening programs have not had a significant effect on the incidence of head lice in the school setting. According to the National Association of School Nurses publication, by the time a child with active head lice has been identified, he or she may have had it for over a month and therefore poses little additional risk of transmission to others. Further, screenings have significant potential to violate children’s privacy.

Notification of Head Lice

There is no evidence to support the claim that letters sent home to parents prevent the transmission of head lice, and may, in fact, be a violation of privacy and confidentiality. Parents do not have a legal right to information regarding a certain student’s health condition. As such, MTSD does not share information with parents or students regarding the presence of head lice in classrooms or schools.