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Supporting children and students with head lice

This page outlines how education staff, care services, parents, guardians, and health professionals work together to manage a child or student with head lice in education and care settings.

About head lice

Head lice are small wingless biting insects that live and breed in hair. Outbreaks of head lice are common in education and care settings and can infest people of all socio-economic positions and age groups. 

Learn more about head lice including:

  • symptoms
  • prevention
  • treatment.

Health support plans and agreements

If the child or student has head lice, the education or care service should refer to health support planning for children and students in education and care settings to ensure that the appropriate plans and agreements are in place. This is in addition to the head lice-specific plans and agreements listed on this page. 

Responsibilities of education and care services

Education and care services are responsible for:

  • educating families and children about head lice prevention and control
  • sending periodic reminders to families to check hair regularly as a preventative measure
  • supporting parents with practical advice and support families experience difficulties with controlling head lice
  • conducting learning activities that minimise head-to-head contact during outbreaks of head lice.

Where head lice are detected or suspected, services should:

  • keep the parents of the infested child and children in close contact with information about head lice treatment
  • advise parents to check their child’s hair daily for at least 3 weeks.

Learn more about managing the control of head lice in South Australian education and care services. 

Communicating with parents and carers

Where head lice are detected or suspected, services should:

  • keep the parents of the infested child and children in close contact with information about head lice treatment
  • advise parents to check their child’s hair daily for at least 3 weeks.

The following text can be used to inform the school or preschool community of a head lice outbreak. 

A number of cases of head lice have been reported within our school community. 

Head lice are spread mostly by direct head to head contact but may also be spread by sharing of hats, combs and other hair accessories.  

Anyone can get head lice. 

Please refer to the head lice prevention and treatment fact sheet for information on head lice, how to check, treatment and prevention.  

Head lice is much easier to treat if caught early.  

To prevent the spread of head, you should check your child(ren) daily over the next 3 weeks and on a regular basis thereafter. 

Please inform the school or preschool if your child presents with head lice and make sure they are treated before returning. 

How parents and caregivers can help

Parents or guardians must:

  • notify the school, preschool or care service if their child has head lice
  • check their child and other family members regularly for lice
  • make sure their child does not attend education or care services with untreated head lice
  • inform the education or care service when their child has head lice and when treatment is started
  • use appropriate head lice treatments to address infestation.

Disability and Complex Needs Team

Phone: 8226 0515
Email: education.health [at] sa.gov.au