Head Lice and School

Head lice outbreaks are common in schools because children often have head-to-head contact whilst playing. At one point or another, most schools for children aged 4–12 will experience a head lice outbreak, but the good news is that they can be treated and infestations can even be prevented if the right precautions are taken.

If you are a teacher or parent, you will most likely have come across head lice at some point through meetings, information packs, routine combings or even outbreaks. Although head lice cannot jump or fly, they are able to spread very quickly and easily through seemingly innocent and insignificant actions.

Schools are one of the main areas where head lice can spread amongst children because of how many potential carriers there are in a small area. Combine this with PE, break time and general classroom activities and it’s easy to see why school must stay vigilant and make sure that all pupils are aware of head lice.

What can schools do to prevent the spread of head lice?

Parents and schools need to work together to minimise the risks of an outbreak. Infestations can cause a great deal of disruption and stress within a school which is why schools may want to take the following steps:
Provide parents with information about head lice, how to spot the symptoms and how to treat them in the case of an infestation. This can also include giving each child a detection comb to take home.
Have the school nurse do monthly checks on all the children and deal with any cases that occur (after permission from parents).
In the case of an outbreak, send letters to all parents and encourage them to check all of their children, even if they go to different schools.
Learn more about the various treatments available.