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Head Lice Protocol

Head lice protocol in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District has changed. Our protocol for head lice now aligns with the evidence based practices and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Nurses advocate that “no-nit” policies should be discontinued and believe a child should not miss school because of head lice. 

WAWM District Nurses will now be implementing the guidelines below to support families as they are affected by lice and nits.

  • Parents/guardians will be notified by phone and information related to detection and head lice treatment will be provided at that time or sent home with the student.

  • Students will NOT be sent home early from school; they will go home at the end of the day for treatment, and may return to school the next day after being screened and cleared (no live lice).

  • Classroom checks and letters home regarding individual lice cases will be discontinued unless three students or approximately 10% or more of the class is affected.   

Head lice are wingless insects and cannot jump or fly. They move by crawling, and are mostly spread by direct head-to-head contact – for example, during play at home or school, slumber parties, sports activities or camp. It is also possible, but not common, to spread head lice by contact with clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats or other personal items, such as combs, brushes or towels. As you and your family may deal with this uncomfortable but common issue, keep in mind that head lice infestations are not related to cleanliness and can occur in all socioeconomic groups.

Fall and spring are frequent times of the year when head lice occurrence is identified. We request that you proactively and routinely check your children's hair for the presence of lice and/or their eggs (nits). More information and resources can be found via the web links below.

Center for Disease Control: Head Lice
American Academy of Pediatrics: Treatments for Headlice
National Association of School Nurses: Head Lice 101


If a student is found to have evidence of live lice, the following steps will be taken:

  1. The student will go home at the end of the day. 

  2. The parent/guardian will be notified that day by telephone and by a note sent home stating that prompt, proper treatment is required.

  3. Re-admittance to the classroom the next day will occur after successful treatment and screening (no live lice).

  4. Notification letters will be sent home to alert parents only if three students in a classroom or approximately 10% are found with lice.