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Roundtable on School Integrated Pest Management

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Background

EPA’s vision is that all of the nation's students attend schools with integrated pest management (IPM) programs. To achieve this goal, we are gathering the support of national organizations with influence within the school community (administrators, business officials, facility managers, nurses, teachers, and parents) to lend their support to the IPM approach and to spread the IPM message throughout their membership.

In 2015, EPA, with public input, conceived of a School IPM Roundtable in which influential organizations would gather to express their support for IPM as the preferred approach managing pests in schools.  In addition, they would commit to explore actions their organizations could take to promote the uptake of IPM in schools.

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Preparation

EPA met with potential participants to offer information on IPM, discuss their role in its implementation in schools, and solicit their participation in the Roundtable. The EPA Regional Offices simultaneously engaged the state affiliates of the organizations as they agreed to participate to facilitate local preparedness to amplify Roundtable outcomes.

The goals of the Roundtable were to:

  • Launch the School IPM Initiative for national organizations who influence school district decision making
  • Learn about the participants’ networks and communication channels
  • Determine what information and resources the participating organizations would find helpful
  • Share information and resources EPA and other participants have on IPM in schools
  • Learn from experts about their experiences implementing IPM in schools

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The Event

On May 25, 2016, EPA convened 29 representatives of 17 national school, health and pest management associations and federal government agencies in Washington, DC to discuss ideas for implementing a set of principles promoting the adoption of IPM practices in the nation’s schools. A meeting summary documents the event, captures key discussion and presentation points, and provides links to resources referenced. A blog by EPA Assistant Administrator Jim Jones, Endorsing a Path to Healthier Schools, provides context for the event and highlights its importance to the school community.

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Principles of Agreement and Recommendations

At the Roundtable, participants agreed that IPM is a science-based approach to pest management that seeks to control pest problems proactively, avoiding the unnecessary use of and exposure to pesticides while achieving acceptable control of pests indoors and outdoors.

Participants endorsed the following Principles of School IPM:

  • We understand that children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental hazards due to their developing systems and greater exposures
  • We support and will promote and communicate making sound IPM practices the standard in all schools
  • We will encourage implementation of school IPM policies and practices and will encourage our members to routinely re-evaluate and improve their practices, as needed.

The Roundtable also produced a set of recommendations for schools regarding their pest control programs:

  • Assess current pest management practices and recurring pest problems
  • Designate and train an appropriate staff person to coordinate IPM activities
  • Adopt and implement an IPM policy or plan to prevent and effectively address pest problems
  • Conduct regular inspections and monitoring for pests and pest conducive conditions
  • Adopt in-house IPM pest prevention and control practices indoors and outdoors and/or contract with pest management firms to perform IPM services
  • Provide IPM education corresponding to the roles of those in the school community
  • Visit epa.gov/managing-pests-schools for free tools and information

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Participants

The following groups, representing school administrators, facility managers, teachers, and health professionals, participated in the Roundtable where they endorsed Principles of School IPM, committed to, and agreed to actively implement school IPM throughout their memberships over the next three years.

Allergy and Asthma Network Exit
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Exit
American Academy of Pediatrics Exit
American Academy of Sanitarians Exit
American Association of School AdministratorsExit
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Exit
Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Center for Environmental Health
Children’s Environmental Health Network Exit
Healthy Schools NetworkExit
IPM Institute of North America Exit
National Association of City and County Health Officials Exit
National Association of School Nurses Exit
National Association of State School Nurse ConsultantsExit
National Education Association Exit
National Environmental Health Association Exit
National Pest Management Association Exit
National School Boards Association Exit
National School Plant Management Association Exit
Public Health Foundation Exit
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

*Endorsed the Principles of School IPM but were unable to attend the Roundtable.

Subsequent to the Roundtable, the following organizations have endorsed the Principles of School IPM:

North Central IPM Center Exit
Northeastern IPM Center Exit
Southern IPM Center Exit
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension System Exit
Western IPM Center Exit

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Outcomes

The 2016 School IPM Roundtable brought together disparate groups to pursue a voluntary enterprise that addresses pest problems proactively and reduces unnecessary exposure to pesticides.  These organizations provided their endorsement of a Principles of Agreement on school IPM.  They also committed to disseminate the endorsement, along with information on resources available to support school IPM implementation, to their members and associates. The event included an exchange of ideas on how the participants could track implementation of school IPM as a result of the endorsement.

EPA will be working with these organizations in the coming months and years to act upon the ideas and commitments coming out of the Roundtable.

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