Policy H524: Pest Management in the School and on School Grounds
The Hancock School Committee recognizes that structural and landscape pests can pose significant problems for people and school unit property, but that use of some pesticides may raise concerns among parents, students, and staff.. It is therefore the policy of the Hancock School Committee to incorporate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles and procedures for the control of structural and landscape pests. A copy of this policy shall be kept in every school and made available upon request to staff, parents, students, and the public.
IPM is a systematic approach to pest management that combines a variety of methods for managing pests, including monitoring; improved horticultural, sanitation, and food storage practices; pest exclusion and removal; biological control; and pesticides.
For the purpose of this policy, “pests” are populations of living organisms (animals, plants or microorganisms) that interfere with use of school facilities and grounds. “Pesticide” is defined as any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pests and any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant or desiccant.
The objective of the school unit’s IPM program is to provide effective pest control while minimizing pesticide use. The goals of the IPM program include managing pests to reduce any potential hazards to human health; preventing loss or damage to school structures or property; preventing pests from spreading beyond the site of infestation to other school property; and enhancing the quality of life for students, staff and others.
The Superintendent and/or designee shall develop and implement a Pest Management Plan consistent with the following IPM principles and procedures:
1. Appointment of an IPM Coordinator
The Superintendent/designee will appoint an IPM Coordinator for the school unit. The IPM Coordinator will be the primary contact for pest control matters and will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the IPM plan, including making pest control decisions.
The IPM Coordinator will consult with the building principal and/or Superintendent before a decision is made to do a pesticide application for which notice is required and before providing notification of the planned application.
The IPM Coordinator’s responsibilities may include:
A. Recording and monitoring data and pest sightings by school staff and students;
B. Coordinating pest management with pest control contractors;
C. Recording and ensuring that maintenance and sanitation recommendations are carried out where feasible;
D. Ensuring that any pesticide use is done according to the school unit’s Pest Management Plan and Chapter 27 Me. Dept. of Agriculture Board of Pesticides Control Rules (“Standards for Pesticide Applications and Public Notification in Schools”);
E. Making the school system’s pest management policy available in every school building;
F. Having available for parents and staff a copy of the Maine regulation pertaining to pesticide applications in schools (Chapter 27 Me. Dept. of Agriculture Board of Pesticides Control Rules (“Standards for Pesticide Applications and Public Notification in Schools”) and a record of prior pesticide applications and information about the pesticides used.
G. Initiating and coordinating notification of parents and staff of pesticide applications according to the school unit’s notification procedure and posting notification signs as appropriate; and
H. Recording all pesticides used by either a professional applicator or school staff and maintaining other pest control data.
2. Identification of Specific Pest Thresholds
Routine inspection and accurate identification of pests are needed to recognize potential problems and determine when action should be taken.
Action thresholds for specific sites will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the IMP Coordinator in consultation with the building principal and/or Superintendent, and if necessary, with the advice of a professional pest control expert.
As pest management objectives will differ from site to site (e.g., maintaining healthy turf and specific playing surfaces on athletic fields; carpenter ant control in buildings or maintenance of ornamental plants), differences should be considered before setting an action threshold.
3. Pesticide Applicators
Any person who applies pesticides in school buildings or on school grounds, including school personnel, must possess a Maine pesticide applicators license and should be trained in the principles and practices of IPM. All pesticide use must be approved by the school unit’s IPM Coordinator. Applicators must follow state regulations and label precautions and must comply with the IPM policy and pest management plan.
4. Selection, Use, and Storage of Pesticides
Pesticides should be used only when needed. Non-chemical pest management methods will be implemented whenever possible to provide the desired control. The choice of using a pesticide will be based on a review of other available options (sanitation, exclusion, mechanical means, trapping, biological control) and a determination that these options have not worked or are not feasible. When it has been determined that a pesticide must be used to achieve pest management goals, the least hazardous effective pesticide should be selected. Application should be conducted in a manner that, to the extent practicable using currently available technology, minimizes human risk.
Decisions concerning the particular pesticide to be used and the timing of pesticide application should take into consideration the use of the buildings or grounds to be treated.
Pesticide purchases should be limited to the amount expected to be used for a specific application or during the year. Pesticides will be stored and disposed of in accordance with label directions and state and federal regulations. Pesticides must be stored in an appropriate, secured location not accessible to students or unauthorized personnel.
5. Notification of Students, Staff, and Parents of Use of Pesticides
A notice will be provided to staff, students, and parents within the first two weeks of the school year briefly explaining the school unit’s IPM/pesticide use policy including provisions for notification to parents and staff of specific planned pesticide applications in school buildings or on school grounds.
When required by regulations, the school will notify staff, students, and parents/guardians at least five days in advance of planned pesticide treatments in the school or on school grounds, including playgrounds and playing fields.
When required by regulations, signs will be posted at each point of access to the treated area and in a common area of the school at least two working days prior to the application and for at least 48 hours following the application in accordance with applicable Maine Board of Pesticides Control regulations.
When a pesticide has been used, records pertinent to the application including labels and material safety data sheets will be maintained at the school for two years following application. Records are to be completed on the day the pesticide is applied. Pest surveillance records should be maintained to verify the need for pesticide treatments.
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