For Schools

Recommended Best Practices

Approved Healthy Foods

Cafeteria Inspection Reports

Chemical Hygiene Officers

Chickenpox (Varicella)

Chickenpox (Varicella) is a viral infection that causes rash, fever, coughing, headache, and loss of appetite. more

Diabetes and Glucagon

Healthy Weight


Lice, Head and Body Lice (Pediculosis )

Lice, Head and Body Lice (Pediculosis ) is are tiny insects that can live on the scalp. They can create a tickling feeling or a sensation of something moving in the hair, irritability, and sleeplessness. They are spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. more

Safe and effective protocols for head lice within the school setting.

  • A single round of mass screening (lice checks) is recommended in September - October to detect children entering school with infestation.
  • Send these children home at the end of the day with an educational pamphlet on lice and nits for the parent, and detailed instructions for two-step (optionally day 0 and day 7 to 10) home treatment and nit removal.
  • Have these children return to school as soon as the first treatment is completed.
  • Do not check for nits (dead or alive) or enforce a no-nit policy for those who have been treated. It is not productive. (The average case of head lice is 3-4 months old before it is detectable).
  • Repeated rounds of mass screening are not recommended.
  • During the course of the school year, children will be brought to the notice of the school nurse as suspected cases of head lice from a variety of sources (teachers, students, other parents and affected children themselves).  Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 with these children.
  • If a child has live lice on his/her head, the possibility of transmission to others has already been present for at least a month before any symptoms or detection was possible.  Do not immediately exclude that child, especially if the child will just be sitting somewhere else in the school. This cannot be justified from either a medical, nursing or social perspective, and it sends a negative message to the child.
  • In the rare event of a major uncontrolled transmission situation, implement a protocol for aggressive control.  Components of such a protocol should include notification of parents of all children in the school to educate them about lice and to watch their children for infestation. Implement environmental measures such as separating headgear and jackets.  Ensure treatment is completed prior to having children return to school for diagnosed cases of infestation.
  • Never tell a parent to treat “just in case”.  The shampoos can be toxic and may cause real health problems.
  • Parents may have misconceptions and prejudices, which places pressure on school staff.  As with any health condition, educating and supporting the child and parent with factual, non-judgmental information is better than having policies and practices driven by misinformation.

Other Useful Information

  • Having head lice is not a serious medical condition.
  • Over-treatment with lice treatment shampoos is more serious than head lice.
  • Irrational reactions to head lice can lead to fumigating classrooms, school, buses, etc. This is expensive and unnecessary.
  • Much information about head lice is based on old, unproven information generated more than 80 years ago, some of it propagated by the companies who profit from the sale of lice shampoos and sprays.
  • Physical head-to-head contact is the usual method of transmission. Transmission via clothing, hats, furniture, carpets, pets, school bus seats and other objects is not likely. It is unlikely that a nit on a stray hair shaft will hatch, because the only optimal hatching conditions exist on the human head. Stray lice that fall off a head are either injured or dying and incapable of causing a new infestation.
  • There is no significant relationship between hair length or personal cleanliness and transmission.
  • In time, inbreeding of lice on a person’s head causes them to die spontaneously. This is why children do not become covered with them. 
  • It is not possible to tell whether treatment has been successful by the appearance of the eggs.
  • Although schools and child care centers are often blamed for head lice outbreaks, the family maintains cases leading to outbreaks in schools.
  • African Americans rarely get head lice.

MRSA (Staphyloccal Infection)

MRSA (Staphyloccal Infection) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics including methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin.more

Unless directed by a physician, students with MRSA skin infections should not be excluded from attending school. Exclusion from school should be reserved for those with wound drainage (“pus”) that cannot be covered and contained with a clean, dry bandage and for those who cannot maintain good personal hygiene. Students with active infections should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur (i.e., sports) until their infections are healed.

Guidelines for Cleaning/Disinfecting

  • It is not necessary to close schools to “disinfect” them when MRSA infections occur. MRSA skin infections are transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact and contact with surfaces that have come into contact with someone else’s infection. Covering infected cuts, scrapes, or lesions will greatly reduce the risks of surfaces becoming contaminated with MRSA.
  • Equipment and surfaces should be cleaned with an EPA-approved detergent disinfectant. For a list of EPA-registered products effective against MRSA, visit
  • Athletic equipment should be cleaned with an EPA-approved detergent disinfectant or with a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart of water between users. It is also important that surfaces underneath mats be disinfected. Athletes should remember to wear a shirt when using equipment and wipe sweat off equipment/mats with their own clean towel after exercising.
  • Uniforms should be washed after every use. Use hot water (140 degrees or more) and the laundry detergent you normally use. Dry on the hottest setting the fabric will allow. Bleach can also be used as an extra precaution. As a reminder, students should not be sharing personal items like uniforms, athletic gear, towels or toiletries.


Oral Health Information for Teachers & Schools