Head Lice Information for Child Care Centers & Schools

What are child care centers and schools supposed to do when a child has head lice?

Children will need to be treated for head lice if there are live, crawling lice seen on the scalp, or if there are nits/eggs that appear to be ¼ inch from the scalp. Children and students may remain at school until the end of the day. They should avoid activities that include head-to-head contact. Childcare centers may opt to send children home right away when lice are found, if head-to-head contact cannot be avoided in the classroom/center.

Children may return to school or childcare after one treatment with an over-the-counter or prescription lice-killing product. The school or center may also allow children to return after crawling lice-nits have been removed from the hair by combing or heat treatment methods.

The child cannot return to school if there are any live, crawling lice seen on the scalp. Check the child's scalp seven to 10 days after first treatment. If there are any live crawling lice, the treatment must be repeated in order to return to school.

Should children be routinely screened for head lice in school or childcare settings?

Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicates that screening for head lice has not been found to be effective and is no longer recommended.