The Gardner Edgerton Health Service Department follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johnson County Health Department of Health and Environment, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment concerning head lice.

Head lice have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness of the home or school is not a cause for having head lice. Live head lice are spread from direct head-to-head contact. Head lice move by crawling, they do not jump or fly. Although uncommon, the spread of lice by contact with clothing (such as hats, scarves, coats) or other personal items (such as combs, brushes, or towels) used by a person with lice is possible. Head lice eggs (or nits) are not transmissible.

USD 231 does not employ a “no-nit” policy due to lack of medical and scientific evidence to support the adoption of such policy.

Routine screenings for head lice are not conducted. Head lice screenings have not shown a significant effect on the incident of head lice. If head lice are identified at school, the nurse will notify the parent/guardian of the need for treatment. The student will be checked by the nurse upon return to school for the presence of live lice at regular intervals for up to two weeks.

Reference: K.A.R. 28-1-6. Requirements for isolation and quarantine of specific infectious and contagious diseases; exception; definition.

General Guidance

  • Mass screenings are an unjustified response to head lice.

  • Head lice screening programs have not been proven to have a significant effect over time on the incidence of head lice in the school setting and are not cost-effective.

  • Mass notifications are discouraged in order to protect student confidentiality.

References: Johnson County Health and Environment, Center for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency