Effective Date: June 14, 1999
Revised Date: February 28, 2008
Responsibility: Superintendent of Program and Schools
This Pediculosis Management Guideline was developed collaboratively by the Near North District School Board, the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, the Conseil Scolaire Catholique Franco-Nord, the Conseil Scolaire Public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario #56, and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. It is being implemented in schools across the Nipissing and Parry Sound Districts.
Inquiries to Health Units, physicians and pharmacists from the community confirm that head lice infestations are ever present. Although most infestations occur among young elementary school students, head lice can be acquired in other settings and must be considered a community problem. Joint community efforts are required to address this problem effectively, although the control of each head lice infestation is ultimately a family concern. School boards and boards of health together can encourage families to take responsibility for the prevention and control of head lice.
Under current Ontario legislation, an infestation of head lice is not defined as a reportable disease. It is more appropriately defined as a nuisance and an aggravating condition. Activities undertaken by boards of health related to head lice infestations are neither prescribed by regulation nor mandated under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1983.
The Ministries of Health and Education and Training endorse collaboration at the local level to prevent and manage head lice infestations.
Activities undertaken by school boards related to head lice infestation fall within a broad responsibility to provide a school environment that is conducive to pupil learning. School boards are encouraged to participate with other community members in local programs for effective management and control of head lice infestations that involve school pupils.
3.0 Sharing the Responsibility
The primary strategy to be used in an effective program to manage head lice infestations is education. This approach will assist in eliminating many misconceptions and fears concerning head lice. It is therefore necessary for local programs to have the commitment and input of the following three groups: the Health Units, the District School Boards, and the key members of the local community (including parents, leaders of children’s groups, pharmacists, physicians, hairdressers and others).
4.0 General Screening For Pediculosis
Parents and schools are urged to check their children on a regular basis, especially:
4.1.1 Early in September
4.1.2. After the Christmas holidays
4.1.3 After the March Break In September, a general reminder notice will be sent to all families (see Appendix A).
4.2 When Nits are Detected
188.8.131.52 The principal is notified. The principal notifies the staff of the presence of head lice.
184.108.40.206 If detected at school, a letter is sent home to advise the parent/ guardian of the infested child (see Appendix B).
220.127.116.11 Each case is recorded by the school (see Appendix C) to assist with internal monitoring.
18.104.22.168 Infested students are excluded from school by the principal (pursuant to the Education Act, section 265m) until all nits are removed (regardless of the type of treatment used).
22.214.171.124 The principal may re-admit students if they have been checked for treatment and removal of nits. Checks may be done by any trained staff or volunteers designated by the principal.
126.96.36.199 In order to determine the extent of pediculosis, siblings of infested students attending the same school are screened as well as students in the same class as the infested student.
188.8.131.52 Screening may be accomplished in two ways:
- In class by a trained volunteer OR
- At home by the parents. (In this case, the request is made by sending a note home)(see Appendix D).
5.0 Recruitment and Training of Volunteers
5.1.1 Principals will canvas parents to recruit volunteers to support head lice screening, preferably in June in order that training may be completed in preparation for September.
5.1.2 All volunteers are required to attend a training session in order to ensure accuracy of interpretation of the district wide policy. It is advisable that principals restrict their choice of volunteers to those who have completed appropriate training.
5.1.3 Schools shall have volunteers sign a statement of confidentiality (see Appendix E for a sample).
5.1.4 The principal may contact the appropriate Health Unit for assistance with volunteer training.
5.1.5 In September, principals will revise/update the list of volunteers who have completed training and have signed statements of confidentiality.
6.0 Awareness Program
September (optional in January and after the March Break)
6.2 Initiatives of the School:
6.2.1 The principal shall distribute a letter to each family outlining: (see Appendix A)
The pediculosis problem in the community
The approach to be used by the community
A request that parents check their children.
6.2.2 (Optional) Upon request, a school or family of schools may host a parents’ information night which may be conducted by the Health Unit.
6.3 Initiatives of the Health Unit
6.3.1 The Health Unit shall respond to requests to speak at information sessions on the subject of identification, treatment and management of pediculosis.
6.3.2 The Health Unit shall respond to general inquiries from the community regarding identification, treatment and management of pediculosis through our CIS program.
7.0 Distribution of Shampoo
7.1 Schools will not purchase or distribute head lice shampoo. Some school parent councils provide treatment vouchers for families as deemed necessary by the principal.
7.2 Principals will encourage parents/guardians to contact local community agencies if assistance is needed to purchase head lice shampoo.