This information provides guidance to principals regarding the management of head lice infestations (pediculosis) in schools.
The presence of head lice is a very common childhood occurrence in the community. The primary responsibility for the management and treatment of head lice in students belongs with parents.
In some schools, the management of head lice infestations is a recurring and challenging matter. It requires commitment from the whole school community in a concerted effort to treat outbreaks and minimise transmission. Communication and support within the school community can be conducive to minimising future infestations. Individual schools determine the level of treatment assistance offered to parents in consultation with the school community.
When facilitating a whole-of-school approach to the management of head lice:
- advise parents of head lice outbreaks through letters to parents of students in affected classes
- regularly inform parents, particularly during peak periods of infestation, to be vigilant in checking their child for head lice or lice eggs and to treat all infected household members
- consider providing general information regarding head lice in the school prospectus, school newsletter, or on the school website for parent reference
- ask parents to notify the school if their child is affected
- ensure students suspected of having head lice or eggs present in their hair
are not excluded from class or school. However, if notified by the school, a parent may choose to remove their child from school to administer immediate treatment
- if determined necessary to check students for head lice, ensure school staff, or other authorised adults conduct a visual check (no physical contact) in a discreet and sensitive manner (authorised by the principal)
- be aware that only under exceptional circumstances and with parental approval (written or verbal), can school staff treat students' head lice using Queensland Health recommended treatments
- implement guidelines for play that minimise head-to-head contact during outbreaks of head lice and ensure care is taken regarding the provision of school hats during period of infestation (noting that head lice can only live up to one day away from the human head).