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Information for Participants Implementing Integrated Pest Management in Schools

Parents

Parents often provide the most influential voices on issues regarding school policies. Your support of the use of integrated pest management (IPM) in your child’s school or school district can begin at the grassroots level through activities undertaken by organized and concerned parents. If your school or school district is not currently using IPM, information here can help you learn more and initiate a program.

First Step for Parents: Educate Yourself About IPM

It is important to have at least some knowledge of the current pest control program used in your child’s school. A good starting place for this information is to contact the supervisor of pest control. Speak with the supervisor or the facilities manager about:

  • Your interest in IPM.
  • The principles of IPM.
  • Why IPM is an improvement over conventional pest control.

Only by knowing the facts will you be able to persuade others to join your efforts. There are several resources available to you. In addition to the information on these Web pages:

  • Reach out to others in your community.
  • Learn more about the current options for pest management at the school.
  • Call your local:
    • county extension agent;
    • county/city environmental resources department personnel; and
    • school health personnel to learn more.

Ideas to Get a School IPM Program Implemented

  • Get the Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) Involved. Parents should get involved with your child’s school PTA and bring up the issue of IPM at a meeting. The more parents interested in IPM the higher chance of success in getting IPM into your school. Also, contact your school’s principal to raise awareness that parents are concerned about current pest management practices in the school and that IPM is an option. The principal may be interested to meet with the parents to hear more about IPM strategies and alternatives.
     
  • Get an IPM Policy Statement Adopted. One of the most important steps in getting IPM into your school is to get the local school board to approve an IPM policy statement. View an example of an IPM Policy Statement to understand how to develop one for your school.
     
  • Work with Others to Establish a Pilot IPM Program. Depending on the type of pest management currently being used in your school district, the transition to IPM can require just a few adjustments or a major overhaul. To make the transition smooth and successful, perhaps a team may begin to implement IPM at one location in your school district for a trial period. The trial or "pilot" could consist of switching several schools over to IPM, switching one entire school, or focusing on just a few isolated structures (e.g., media center and administrative wing) at one school. Remember, IPM is a process. For the trial to be successful, a period up to one year may be necessary. Engage your IPM Advisory Committee in the development of the pilot.
     
  • Start Up or Join the School IPM Committee. Eventually, it will be important for the school district to have sort of school IPM committee made up of concerned parents, pest managers, administrators, school nurses, etc. Establishment of such a committee will increase sustainability of a school IPM program. The role of the committee is to evaluate the IPM program periodically and incorporate the suggestions and improvements into your overall policy. Many schools already have a safety or healthy school committee and so you can fold in the school IPM focus.

​For More Information

Learn more about your options, IPM strategies, and success stories, and find school IPM handbooks, sample contracts, and sample pesticide application letters-to-parents in IPM Tools; Documents to Support IPM Implementation

Read about key factors in implementing IPM.

List of school IPM legislation in the states Exit

School Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff often spend more time in the classrooms than their students and can experience similar risks when exposed to pests and pesticides. By learning and practicing a few key strategies, such as keeping the classroom free of clutter, faculty and staff can become IPM leaders in their schools.

School staff can help enhance the effectiveness of IPM programs by taking some simple actions.

For More Information

Learn more about your options, IPM strategies, and success stories, and find school IPM handbooks, sample contracts, and sample pesticide application letters-to-parents in IPM Tools; Documents to Support IPM Implementation

Read about key factors in implementing IPM

List of school IPM legislation in the states Exit

School Administrators

School administrators can promote a healthier, pest-free school by supporting an IPM pilot. Like most other projects that take place within the school, IPM requires the support and training of many different groups including: students, parents, teachers, school nurses, and facility managers.

First Steps for School Administrators

  • Educate yourself. As an administrator, the faculty, staff, students, parents and other administrators will expect you to be knowledgeable about IPM. You must be able to answer various questions about IPM and be able to convince others of its value; learn all you can about IPM.
     
  • Communicate with Pest Managers.

    In-House Pest Control. If pest control is handled by in-house staff in your school district, contact the supervisor of pest control. It is important to convey your interest in IPM. If the pest management supervisory is unfamiliar with IPM, discuss with the pest management supervisor all the benefits of IPM, including the reduced health risks associated with IPM implementation. Be sure to provide some of the school IPM references to the pest management supervisor. Upon completion of the initial contact, allow a short period for the pest management supervisor to review the materials you provided. Offer to meet with the pest management supervisor and even walk through your school discussing IPM strategies while pointing out specific areas of concern.

    Contracted Pest Control. If pest control is handled by a private pest control operator, contact the person listed in the school’s pest control contract as the supervisor or contact person. This information usually can be found by contacting the school district’s purchasing agent. Discuss with the supervisor the overall method of pest control currently being used by your school. Let the supervisor know that you are interested in getting IPM implemented at your school. The supervisor should be willing to cooperate with your efforts, depending upon certain contractual obligations. Keep in mind that you are the customer, and the pest management industry is customer driven.

Approaches to Implement IPM in Your Schools

There are many approaches to implementing IPM in your school or school district. IPM requires in-house or contracted out pest management.

Pest Management In-House

Many schools choose to manage pests and pesticides in house utilizing most of their facility management staff. The school ensures that their staff are trained and certified in pesticide applicator training and certified by the state if it is required. These same staff also are responsible for implementing the IPM practices including sanitation, exclusion and monitoring of possible pests.

Contracting Out Pest Management Services

Some school districts choose to contract out their pest management services to a pest management professional. EPA recommends that schools seek a third-party certified pest management professional that knows and practices IPM to implement their pest management plan. There are a number of third-party certified programs including GreenPro and GreenShield that pest management professionals have subscribed to.

For more information on certification programs:The following links exit the site Exit

Communication to Enhance the Process

Several lines of communication can smooth the path to IPM implementation. For example:

  • Contact Neighboring Schools. There is no sense in "re-inventing the wheel." Contacting school administrators from neighboring schools or neighboring districts can be extremely helpful. Your counterparts may have already gone through the process of converting to an IPM program and be able to offer valuable suggestions. If they haven’t, they may become interested in IPM and be willing to combine their efforts with yours. Some school districts have an IPM certified program through the IPM STAR Program through the IPM Institute of North America.
     
  • Inform the School Board. It will be important for you to make a brief presentation to the local school board and initiate the process of establishing an official school IPM policy statement. See the example School IPM Policy Statement. Adoption of an official policy statement is important because it gives school officials the authority to make decisions regarding pest management. In the case of an IPM policy, it provides administration the foundation from which to implement IPM.
     
  • Establish Contacts with Local Authorities. Your local county extension agent should have considerable expertise in insect pest identification and pest management. The extension agent may also be able to assist in developing and supporting an IPM program. Because the Cooperative Extension Service is also a governmental resource, the extension agent has the ability to contact outside IPM experts and bring the information to the local level.
     

    There may also be individuals with the county administration that could provide expertise. Many local resources such as the county health department or environmental services employ professionals who possess experience in pest related health risks, pest management, and sanitation. All of these individuals can provide support for an IPM program in schools.

  • Ensure Sustainability. It is important to create a mechanism through which the IPM program can be maintained. The best method of accomplishing this is to create a school IPM advisory committee. This committee should have representatives from pest management (whether in-house or contracted), teachers, school administration, sanitation staff, and concerned parents (PTA). Because IPM is a process, it will be important for this committee to help make decisions on pest management that may be unique to your school or school district. Additionally, periodic feedback from these individuals will help improve the IPM program.

For More Information

Learn more about your options, IPM strategies, and success stories, and find school IPM handbooks, sample contracts, and sample pesticide application letters-to-parents in IPM Tools; Documents to Support IPM Implementation

Read about evaluating the costs of IPM in schools.

Read about key factors in implementing IPM.

List of school IPM legislation in the states Exit

Pest Management Professionals (PMPs)

As a pest manager, you may find IPM a viable option as an alternative to traditional pest control. If you currently supply services to schools, day care centers or other sensitive areas and are NOT using IPM, you should consider the advantages of an IPM program. If you are well trained in the practice of IPM and wish to begin introducing it into some facilities, the following information may be helpful.

If the concept of IPM is new to you, the following four-step process is essential to implementing IPM in schools and other sensitive areas.

The four steps of IPM are:

  • monitor and identity pests;
  • set action thresholds;
  • prevention; and
  • control.

More information on the four steps of IPM.

Other Actions for PMPs

  • Learn the basics of School IPM – where to begin, how to tailor your services, where to get certified and how to communicate the benefits of IPM.
     
  • Become certified. Green Shield and Green Pro are two legitimate programs that certify PMPs with verifiable IPM skills. Green Shield is managed by the IPM Institute of North America, and Green Pro is supported by National Pest Management Association.
     

    For more information on certification programs: The following links exit the site Exit

  • Use the information in the pest-specific fact sheets - to remind your clients how to keep their classrooms and school hallways pest-free.
     
  • Find School IPM Handbooks, sample contracts, and sample pesticide application letters-to-parents in IPM Tools; Documents to Support IPM Implementation.
     
  • Schedule a meeting with school administrators/officials. In most schools the administrators are very busy and have little time to spare for building operations and maintenance. However, many administrators area very interested in issues concerning the safety of students and staff.
     

    After you discuss with the school board members and school principals, you will probably be directed to the individual responsible for outsourcing services for the school district as a whole: the purchasing agent or purchasing officer.

    This mechanism may vary however, as some districts allow the individual schools to outsource certain services independently. When discussing the issue of IPM with the purchasing agent you should alert the agent that an IPM program is a very different method of controlling pests than traditional pest control and therefore requires very different contract language.

    Within this website are guidelines for purchasing agents when constructing IPM contracts. While these guidelines are not suitable to every situation, they provide a good outline for a workable IPM contract within a school district. You may wish to provide the purchasing agent with a copy.

  • Volunteer to organize an IPM Advisory Committee for the School or District. The creation of an IPM advisory committee is an essential step in getting a successful IPM program implemented in a school. Depending on the school district, this committee may be district-wide or include just a single school. This step will be easier if there is already a good relationship with your School Board and or the school principal.
     

    A School IPM Advisory Committee should be made up of volunteers from several areas. These may include:

    • The PTA.
    • One or two members of the school district’s administration.
    • Local health department.
    • Building services department or facilities department.
    • County extension service.
    • Pest control industry.
    • Sanitation services.
    • IPM coordinator [if one exists with the school or county administration].
    • Any other interested group.
    • This diverse group can successfully develop an IPM program and performance measures for an ongoing program assessment.

      Example discussions for the advisory committee:

    • Which pesticides are to be used.
    • When applications are to be conducted.

Decisions made by the committee must then be relayed to the purchasing agent and/or the IPM coordinator, if the school has established that position. Much of the work for this committee will be to educate members of the faculty, staff, students, and parents about the concept of IPM and the advantages associated with its implementation. It may be appropriate at this time to discuss current pest control techniques being used in the school. If pest management is being conducted by in-house personnel, a manager or supervisor of that staff should be included as a member of the IPM Advisory Committee. As a result, any recommendations made by the school IPM advisory committee can be rapidly communicated to the pest management staff.

Also, any issues from the pest management staff can be quickly brought before the committee. If pest control is currently being conducted by a private pest control operator, it is very important that recommendations from the IPM advisory committee are passed onto both the purchasing agent and the pest control operator. If recommendations from the advisory committee are viewed as outside of the scope of service provided by the pest control operator, these recommendations should be adequately detailed and given to the purchasing agent to consider incorporating into the next pest control contract to be bid out. However, some of the recommendations may be easily implemented as part of the existing contract.

  • Set up Communication Links. For IPM to be implemented successfully, a number of individuals will have to put forth some effort. All of the groups (parents, faculty/staff, and school administrators) have an important role in establishing IPM and they must be involved.

However, there are others who can provide valuable assistance to the school IPM advisory committee. Among these are administrators and other staff from districts that are already using IPM. Contacting the principals, school staff, cooperative extension agents and pest management staff from a neighboring school or district that currently uses IPM can be very helpful. Those individuals may have already solved many of the problems which you will encounter. The more experience you bring into the discussions on IPM within your school district, the greater the chances it will succeed.

For More Information

Learn more about your options, IPM strategies, and success stories, and find school IPM handbooks, sample contracts, and sample pesticide application letters-to-parents in IPM Tools; Documents to Support IPM Implementation

Read about key factors in implementing IPM.

List of school IPM legislation in the states Exit

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