Few conditions cause so much concern and anxiety in schools and homes as head lice.  However, it is important to know that lice DO NOT cause any medical harm. Brunswick County Schools BCS Policy Code 4235/6135: Control of Parasitic Infestation addresses the presence of head lice and nits.  The following is an excerpt:

    Students will not be allowed to attend school when lice (live bugs) or nits (eggs) are present. In addition, since school staff members may be unable to determine whether nits are dead after treatment, the presence of lice or nits requires that the student remain at home.  Students are not to return to school until they have received treatment and all lice and nits have been removed from the child, as verified through re-screening by school staff.”

    When a student is found to have lice or nits by school personnel, the student will be given a Parent/Guardian Notification Letter and a Lice Fact Sheet from the Brunswick County Health Department. Per BCS Policy Code 4235/6135: Control of Parasitic Infestation, the student is required to be picked up from school the day head lice or nits are identified.  Each student will receive 2 excused absences if needed, while treatment is provided. 


    It is the expectation that the parent/guardian will:

    1. Ensure the child’s prompt and thorough treatment by applying over-the-counter or prescription lice treatment product to the student’s hair exactly as the product directions instruct, or as instructed by pharmacist or physician.
    2. Ensure treatment is successful as evidenced by no lice present in hair or on scalp AND remove all nits, if present.
    3. Bring the child into the front office of the school to be checked by the school nurse or trained personnel to verify all lice/nits have been removed. The child MAY NOT ride the bus until they have been cleared in the office. If lice/nits are found at that time, the student must return home until all lice/nits are removed.  

    The school nurse will serve as a resource to parents and staff, providing education and hands-on instruction for lice/nit treatment and removal.

    Head lice are tiny insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. Head lice most often affect children. The insects usually spread through direct transfer from the hair of one person to the hair of another. Having head lice isn't a sign of poor personal hygiene or an unclean living environment. Head lice don't carry bacterial or viral diseases. Nonprescription and prescription medications can help treat head lice. Follow treatment instructions carefully to rid the scalp and hair of lice and their eggs. People also use a number of home or natural remedies to get rid of head lice. But there is little to no clinical evidence that they're effective.

    Head lice crawl, but they can't jump or fly. Head lice often spread from one person to another by direct head-to-head contact, often within a family or among children who have close contact at school or play. It's less common for head lice to spread without direct contact. The insects may spread from one person to another through personal items, such as:

    • Hats and scarves
    • Brushes and combs
    • Hair accessories
    • Headphones
    • Pillows
    • Upholstery
    • Towels

    Head lice may also spread when items of clothing are stored together. For example, hats or scarves hung on the same hook or stored in the same school locker could serve as vehicles for spreading lice. Household pets, such as dogs and cats, don't play a role in spreading head lice.



    Common signs and symptoms of head lice may include:

    • Itching. The most common symptom of head lice is itching on the scalp, neck and ears. This is an allergic reaction to louse bites. When a person has head lice for the first time, itching may not occur for 4 to 6 weeks.
    • Lice on scalp. You may be able to see the lice, but they're often hard to spot because they're small, avoid light and move quickly.
    • Lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts. Nits stick to hair shafts and may be hard to see because they're very tiny. They're easiest to spot around the ears and the hairline of the neck. Empty nits may be easier to spot because they're lighter in color and further from the scalp. However, the presence of nits doesn't mean there are live lice.
    • Sores on the scalp, neck and shoulders. Scratching can lead to small, red bumps that may sometimes get infected with bacteria.


    It's difficult to prevent the spread of head lice among children in child care facilities and schools because there is so much close contact. And the chance of indirect transmission from personal items is slight.
    However, it is generally a good practice for children to hang their garments on a separate hook from other children's garments and not to share combs, brushes, hats and scarves. A worry about head lice transmission is not considered a good reason to avoid sharing protective headgear for sports and bicycling when sharing is necessary.

    American Academy of Pediatrics: https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/150/4/e2022059282/189566/Head-Lice?autologincheck=redirected 


    Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs.html

    Mayo Clinic.  (2024). Disease and Conditions: Head Lice. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/head-lice/basics/definition/con-20030792


    North Carolina School Health Program Manual. (2022). School Health Services: Pediculosis. https://www.ncdhhs.gov/d3cdnuisanceconditions2pdf/open