Sheila Hurst

Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Each year millions of people in the United States are infested with head lice. Despite common beliefs that schools are the epicenter of transmission, this has been not been proven to be true. Regardless of this fact many schools continue to enforce no nit/lice policies by excluding children perceived to be infected from school. Consequences of such policies include loss of school days, mistreatment, economic burden, and shame. This paper provides a review of the literature providing best evidence regarding the efficacy of no nit/lice school policies. Method: 4 Sixteen articles were extracted for final review from CINAHL, PubMed, Psychlnfo, Scopus, and Cochrane electronic databases. Additional statements and guidelines regarding head lice policies were also obtained from professional organizations. Results: There is no evidence supporting exclusion of students due to the presence of nits or lice. Such policies should be eliminated and school nurses should provide evidence-based information to school personnel, parents, and students regarding myths and facts involving head lice to include effective screening, routes of transmission, and appropriate treatment.

Keywords: head lice/pediculosis/nits, school policy, head lice transmission, school exclusion, school nurses