Please continue to email your child’s teacher, nurse@janneyschool.org, and attendance@janneyschool.org if you discover your student has lice.

What are lice?

Head lice are parasitic insects that feed on blood from the scalp of humans. While lice do not spread disease and are relatively harmless, they should be treated immediately to reduce the spread.

Who can get lice?

Anyone! Lice spread by crawling from one head to another. They can be found on all lengths, colors, and textures of hair.

How can I tell if my child has lice?

Itching or tickling on the scalp is a common symptom, though not all children with lice will itch. Some children will have red bumps, a rash, or scratches, especially behind their ears or at the nape of their neck. These are the most common areas for spotting lice and nits.

As lice are most active at night, some children with lice will have trouble sleeping. The discomfort may cause irritability.

How do I check for lice?

Begin at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Using a lice comb or other comb, look closely at the scalp and hair shafts within an inch of the scalp for lice and nits. Continue to check hair and scalp in sections until you’ve checked the entire head.

A flashlight and magnifying glass are helpful when looking for lice.

This process can take time, especially on children with long hair, and may make a child anxious. Have distractions or comfort objects ready before you begin.

What should I look for?

Adult lice can grow to the size of a sesame seed and blend easily into hair. They crawl quickly and can be difficult to spot. Nymphs, young lice, will be even smaller.

The photo shows a nymph and two adult lice, all smaller than the tip of a pen.

Nits, or lice eggs, are extremely small, teardrop-shaped sacs that are attached to strands of hair near the scalp. Empty egg sacs may appear white or translucent, while egg sacs that have not hatched may be darker.

Though sometimes mistaken for dandruff, nits will not flake off of the hair when touched – nits need to be scraped off the hair. The photo shows nits (left) and dandruff (right) for comparison.

I found lice. Now what?

DCPS Protocol
Individuals identified with lice can choose to stay at school for the remainder of that day. Returning to school is allowed following treatment. Upon return to school, individuals must show proof of treatment by submitting a note from the parent and/or picture of treatment kit to michael.barnhart@k12.dc.gov and nurse@janneyschool.org. Students may continue to be checked by school personnel for the presence of live lice and/or nits.

Lice can be treated with over the counter medications. Families should use lice kits on all members of the household at the same time. If one person in the household has lice, the entire household should be treated at the same time.

Wash all linens/fabric/laundry in the household. Vacuum carpets.

To ensure treatment was successful, use a lice comb to carefully check for nits on the scalp of every member of the household for several weeks after treatment.

If you are in need of lice treatment kits, Janney has a very limited supply to offer. Please connect with michael.barnhart@k12.dc.gov if you are in need.

If you’d rather call a professional, there are plenty of groups in the area that offer treatment. 

How can I prevent my family from getting lice?

  • Long hair should be tied up.
  • Families can use oils, which are natural deterrents, on the scalp. Tea tree oil is inexpensive and readily available at any drugstore.
  • Be mindful of play dates, sleepovers, and going to others’ homes when there is an outbreak in the community. 
  • Remind children not to share hats or hair accessories.
  • Get in the habit of checking your school-aged children for lice every few weeks. Regular checks can prevent the spread.

More info from DCHealth: Head Lice Fact Sheet