What is the School Children’s Health Act of 2006?
The NC General Assembly enacted the School Children’s Health Act or “SCHA” to address several important issues related to the children’s health including the pesticide use on school property. It requires schools to implement IPM programs by October 2011 (see Section C) and to notify parents and staff of all pesticide applications on school grounds (see Section B).
What types of pesticides are included under the School Children’s Health Act?
The SCHA governs the use of all major groups of pesticides including insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators on school property. It excludes disinfectants.
Are private schools, day-care facilities, universities and community colleges required to comply with the School Children’s Health Act?
No. The SCHA applies only to grades K-12 of public schools and charter schools. However, we encourage all such facilities to adopt an IPM approach to controlling pests.
Does the SCHA apply only to the use of pesticides inside schools?
No. The SCHA applies to the use of pesticides on all school properties such as schools, administrative office buildings, and maintenance facilities. The SCHA also covers the use of pesticides for both the building interiors and exteriors, as well as to all school landscapes and grounds, including athletic fields.
Does the School Children’s Health Act apply to an office facility that does not directly accommodate children?
Yes. The act requires notification of the facility’s employees as well as any parents/guardians who may request notification.
Where can I get a copy of the School Children’s Health Act?
You can read or download a copy of the School Children’s Health Act from: http://schoolipm.ncsu.edu/laws.htm
or the state legislature website: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByChapter/Chapter_115c.html. Look for section 115C‑47(47)
B. IPM Policies
Does the School Children’s Health Act (SCHA) require our school district to pass a board approved policy before we begin implementing the notification procedure?
Although the local school board is required to adopt an IPM policy to provide guidelines for pesticide use in schools, passing an IPM policy does not necessarily have to precede implementing the notification requirement. However, a written policy makes it easier to implement the notification requirement and other aspects of the IPM program.
Where can I find sample IPM policies or guidelines?
A model policy that was developed in collaboration with the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) legal division and is available on the N.C. State University’s School IPM web site http://schoolipm.ncsu.edu/contract.htm.
Are we required to use a commercial pest control service?
No. The SCHA does not require school systems to use commercial pest control services. However, if you use in-house staff to perform these tasks, some types of applications (e.g., to athletic fields) require specific pesticide applicator licenses. Direct questions about pesticide applicator licensing to the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division. Regardless of applicator licensing requirements, anyone applying pesticides on school property must be properly trained to do so.
When did the notification requirement become effective?
All public schools were required to begin the notification process effective October 1, 2006.
Who must be notified?
Schools are required to notify the parents/guardians of school children, as well as the teachers and other staff in their school system.
Who is responsible for notifying the parents, guardians, and staff at a particular school (or facility) about pesticide applications?
The school principal (or site director) or the principal’s/director’s designee is responsible for the notification process. Some school districts may designate the maintenance director or IPM coordinator to handle the notifications. The choice of the designated contact may depend in part if there is a request for notification about treatments at school sites other than the one attended by their child (or one other than where a staff member works). This process should be outlined in the school district’s IPM Policy.
How often must parents/guardians and school staff be notified?
At least once every year (annually) for all scheduled pesticide applications. At the same time, schools must also inform these same groups of their right to receive 72 hour advanced noticed before any treatment using a non-exempt pesticide or non-exempt method of application that did not appear in the annual notice of scheduled applications.
Must every parent, guardian, and school staff be notified of pesticide applications at every site in the school system?
At a minimum, parents and guardians must be notified about school buildings, grounds, and sites where their children attend. They may also request notification for any other site(s) of concern to them. Similarly, staff members must be notified for the facility (or facilities) where they work and for any other sites of concern to them.
Are schools required to post notices in areas of a school/building when it is scheduled to be treated
No. At this time, the SCHA does not require that schools post notices in areas of school property that may be treated during routine pest control services. With an IPM approach, pesticides are used on an as-needed (rather than routine) basis and so it’s quite possible that pesticide may note even be applied in any or all parts of the school property during a service visit.
Self-contained baits (such as cockroach bait stations, ant bait stations), disinfectants, biological cleansers, and pesticides applied to cracks and crevices (i.e., not to exposed surfaces), and all formulations and application methods for products classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Toxicity Category IV pesticides (i.e., pesticides that do not require “Caution” signal word on the product label) are exempted from notification.
Does the notification requirement apply when we use products purchased at local retail stores?
Yes. Notification is required non-exempt products (or application methods) regardless of whether you use professional products or those available to the general public at retail stores.
Are we required to notify parents and staff about herbicide treatments to football fields or other areas of school?
Yes, herbicide treatments (granular or liquid formulations) on school grounds are subject to the notification requirements.
Where does the principal or principal’s designee obtain the information for pesticide use notification purposes?
The superintendent is required to designate an IPM coordinator for the entire school district. Principals can get pesticide use information from the school district’s IPM coordinators. If your school district does not yet have a designated IPM coordinator, contact the facilities or maintenance director for pesticide use information.
Where can I find sample notification letters or forms?
Sample notification forms are available at the NCSU School IPM website: http://schoolipm.ncsu.edu/resources.htm. Four sample forms are available:
Form 1: Sample Annual Notification form
Form 2: Sample Request for Notification form
Form 3: Sample Emergency Notification form
Form 4: Sample Non-exempted Pesticide Application form
How does the principal determine who wants the 72-hour advance notification?
The annual or universal notice (Sample Form 1) should be accompanied by instructions for requesting 72-hour advance notification (Sample Form 2: Request for Advance Pesticide Use Notification available at http://schoolipm.ncsu.edu/resources.htm) for non-exempt pesticide applications (click HERE for exempt products and applications). The principal (or designee) can then prepare a registry of names and contact information of parents, guardians, and staff requesting the advance notification for future use. Some school districts may find it easier to notify every parent, guardian, and staff member about a non-exempt unscheduled pesticide application any time that one occurs at their school/facility. The advantage of this approach is that it eliminates the need to keep track of who has requested advance notification. One possible disadvantage is for individuals who request notification about buildings other than their child’s school or their work site. This is a matter that your school board may wish to address in formulating its IPM policy.
Note: If no one requests notification of unscheduled pesticide applications, then the school is not obligated to send out notices other than the annual notice.
Is there a specific method of notifying parents, guardians, and staff about pesticide applications?
There is no prescribed or required method for notifying parents, guardians, and staff about pesticide applications. Annual notifications can be handled along with other routine information that is distributed at the beginning of the school year. The 72-hour advance notice may pose more of a challenge. In many cases, school districts already have an effective means of notifying parents, teachers and staff about time-sensitive issues. Here are some examples of methods through which schools can notify parents, guardians and staff:
- Voice-mail: Many schools now use voicemail notification systems to leave messages for parents and staff.
- Bulletin boards: Written notices posted on school bulletin boards (for annual notification rather than unscheduled/emergency applications)
- Individual notices (primarily for staff) through interoffice mail, e-mails, and in-house PA/TV announcements.
- Email or faxes to Parents and guardians. Mail sent home with students may be delayed if the student forgets to bring it home or show it to his/her parents.
- Web sites: Pesticide use information can be posted on school Web sites, although there is no guarantee that users will check the site in a timely manner for specific pesticide applications. The sample notification forms, list of pesticides, MSDS & labels, and other relevant information can also be posted on the web site for easy access.
- Student-Parent Handbook: Pesticide notification information can be included in school documents. (this could be used for annual notification)
- Employee Handbooks: Pesticide notification information can be included in school documents.
If we follow all the notification guidelines and the 72-hour advance notification, can the parents, guardians or staff who receive advance notification prevent the school from applying the pesticides?
If a pesticide treatment is deemed necessary, then schools should work with the parents, guardians, and staff to provide alternate arrangements such as allowing the student or employee to remain home or work elsewhere around the timeframe when the treatment is made or try to postpone the treatment to a date when the building will be closed for an extended period of time (for example, on a weekend or holiday).
Note: Except for true emergencies rarely is there a need for a non-exempt treatment to take place during school hours. In many cases, an exempt product/application can be done as a temporary measure. Regardless of the situation, most pesticide labels require (or at least recommend) that the room/area be unoccupied during and immediately after the treatment.
Is notification required for a members of a visiting school attending a sporting or other event or for private athletics organizations (such as youth football or little league baseball groups) using the school’s facilities?
No. Because these groups are not sponsored by the local school, the school is not obligated to notify them of the pesticide applications but can do so as a courtesy or general policy.
Do the notification requirements also apply to staff at non-school administrative sites?
YES. The School Children’s Health Act covers all school district property. As such staff at all school district sites, whether they work in a school or an administrative building must be notified accordingly when pesticides will be applied in their workplace.
Should parents, guardians and staff be notified in summer when students are not at the school site?
Parents and guardians do not need to be notified in summer, unless the students are using the buildings, fields or facilities for normal academic instruction (summer school or year-round instruction), or for school-sponsored or organized extracurricular activities. However, staff working year-round in the schools or locations must be notified.