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Integrated Pest Management for Schools and Childcare Facilities

Pest Management Practices - Text Only Version

Writing an Integrated Pest Management Policy

Why Write an IPM Policy? IPM Policy: Factors to Consider Example Pest Management Policy from Indiana Notification

Why Write an IPM Policy?

Schools and childcare centers work hard to provide a safe and effective learning environment for children. Although it may not be the first consideration on an administrator's mind, pest management practices and policies can have an important impact on the quality of that environment. Pests in schools are associated with a variety of health threats, and may be distracting to students and staff. Effective pest management programs must incorporate a variety of strategies that are often not considered under "traditional" pesticide-based pest control regimes. These strategies, including sanitation and exclusion, are themselves important aspects of day-to-day operations, but also provide great pest management benefits when applied in an effective and organized way. Other less familiar practices, such as monitoring for pests, can greatly enhance pest control efforts and make pesticide treatments (if needed) more effective. Growing national concern over the use of pesticides and other chemicals around children has led to increased involvement of parents in evaluating pest management practices of schools and childcare facilities. Parents have a right to know what kinds of policies are in place with regard to pest control and pesticide use in these facilities. Adoption of a pro-active, IPM-based pest management policy will help administrators to organize and implement an effective, multiple-strategy pest control program while improving many aspects of day-to-day operations. In addition, it will assure parents, staff, students, school board members and community members that the facility is dedicated to providing a safe and effective learning environment for children. It will also be helpful to the pest management professional who works with your school or childcare facility. Return to top of page

IPM Policy: Factors to Consider

An excellent guideline to pest management policy considerations is provided in the University of Wisconsin's School IPM Manual. Return to top of page

Example Pest Management Policy from Indiana

Laws pertaining to the use of pesticides in and around schools and childcare facilities vary from state to state. It is important when drafting a pest management policy for your school or childcare facility to consider all applicable state and local laws. The following example pest management policy from Indiana is provided for reference only. It may provide a starting point for the development of a policy that is appropriate for your facility and particular set of circumstances. The following policy recommendations have been drafted by the Indiana Pesticide Review Board and revised and adopted by the Indiana School Board Association as appropriate for use in Indiana schools. This document outlines practices intended to protect the health of children, faculty and staff in public schools. These guidelines address adoption of a pest control policy, notification of staff and parents prior to pesticide applications, and qualifications of pesticide applicators, among other issues. This advisory policy and recommended practices are consistent with the principles of Integrated Pest Management. In fact, adoption of a pest control policy is one of the most basic components of any IPM program. Although not yet required by law in Indiana, these model recommendations have been written in the hopes that school corporations will adopt them or use them as a template to craft a pest control policy that is tailored to their needs. Advisory policy from the Indiana School Board Association [PDF file] Return to top of page

Notification What is notification? Several states have passed legislation requiring that schools provide advanced notice to parents (and often to staff) of any pesticide applications within schools or on school grounds. Specifics of how such notification should be given and what (if any) pesticide applications may be exempted from the notification requirement vary from state to state. Why provide notification? Regardless of state or local requirements (or lack of requirements), advanced notification of pesticide applications can play an important role in an IPM program. Parents may be interested in a school or childcare center's pest management policy and may wish to be informed in advance of pesticide applications. Providing parents with information about the facility's proactive pest control program, and offering the opportunity for notification of pesticide applications will demonstrate the school or childcare center's commitment to providing a safe environment for children. Important considerations When drafting a pest management policy that incorporates a notification requirement, several factors should be considered: 1. Assure that notification procedures are consistent with state and local laws, if applicable. 2. Provide for emergencies! Remember that certain pest problems can pose an immediate threat to the health of students and staff. There are instances when advanced notification is impractical or even dangerous. Provide a contingency plan that allows the application of pesticides without advanced notification where the there is an immediate threat to human health. It can be stated, for example, that in the case of emergencies, notification of pesticide application will be provided as soon as possible following the application. 3. Assure that notification procedures do not inhibit standard sanitation practices. For example, in defining what constitutes a pesticide for the purposes of notification, it is important to exclude germicides, disinfectants, bactericides, sanitizing agents, water purifiers and swimming pool chemicals used in normal cleaning activities. 4. Assure notification procedures do not inhibit sound pest management practices. - For example, just because advanced notice is required by a pest management policy does not mean a pesticide should be applied on a regular preventive basis, so that school office staff will know when to send out notices. Remember that monthly services provided by pest management professionals may include a pesticide treatment in some cases but not others. In an IPM program, pest management professionals are inspecting on a regular basis but only need to apply a pesticide when a confirmed pest problem is present and when other strategies (such as improved sanitation or exclusion) have been tried or are not appropriate. One solution is to provide advanced notice of pest management services, stating that "if a pest problem is encountered, a pesticide treatment may be applied." Also, provide a contact person who will be available to provide more information if it is requested. - Work with your pest control service provider to draft a notification policy that is practical and allows for effective pest management. Most pest control services will be delighted to be consulted in the process and can provide expert input that will strengthen the resulting policy. - The promotion of "least hazardous" pesticide products and methods of application can be encouraged by providing exceptions to the notification requirement when these practices are used. An example is the use of manufactured enclosed paste or gel bait insecticides where students do not have access to the bait. 5. Provide for a practical plan to carry out the notification requirements of the policy. (see suggestions below) 6. Do not overlook pesticide applications that are made by appropriately trained teachers or staff. For example, the use of herbicides by grounds maintenance staff to control weeds on turf or fencerows. How should notification be provided? There are several mechanisms for providing advanced notification of pesticide use, and some are more practical and less burdensome than others. It is important to provide some guidelines for how notification will be given. Be certain that guide- -lines are consistent with any state laws or requirements and that they are practical enough to be carried out by staff. The following approach, taken from Indiana's advisory pest management policy for schools, may serve as a useful example: 1. Inform parents and staff members annually of the school corporation's pest control policy at the time of student registration (beginning of the school year or semester) by a separate memorandum or as a provision in the student handbook. 2. Provide the name and phone number of the person to contact for information regarding pest control practices, including pesticide applications. 3. Establish a registry of parents and staff members who want to receive advance notice of all pesticide use and provide such notice. 4. Provide notice of planned pesticide applications to parents and employees who have requested advanced notice. The school corporation will provide notice at least two (school) days prior to the date and time the pesticide application is to occur. The notice will include the date and time of the pesticide application, the general area where the pesticide is to be applied and the telephone number to contact the school for more information. 5. Maintain a written record for 90 days of any pesticide applications.

Notification tools and examples: A generalized example of notification procedures, including a summary of a school pest management policy, a request to placed on a pesticide registry, and a letter of intent to apply pesticides can be found in University of Wisconsin's School IPM Manual. Minnesota Department of Health provides several examples of model notices consistent with their state laws. Some of these may be adapted to meet the needs of schools and daycares in other states.

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