New pest management requirements for schools

The State of Maine has revised its integrated pest management (IPM) and pesticide regulations pertaining to all public and private schools serving any grades kindergarten through 12.  These changes were made to improve communication and provide training and tools for IPM coordinators. There are three important changes. 

First, all public and private school administrative units are now required to report to the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, annually by September 1, the name and contact information (e-mail address and phone number) of the staff member assigned the responsibility of IPM Coordinator. The preferred method is to use the Maine Department of Education MEDMS system. Alternatively, this information (school unit name, IPM Coordinator name, and IPM Coordinator e-mail address and phone number) may be reported directly to the Board of Pesticides Control at pesticides@maine.gov or 207-287-2731. This information is required to provide necessary educational information and training and ensure compliance with regulations.

Second, all IPM Coordinators are now required to complete three approved IPM training courses as follows.  Online training modules and announcements of approved training opportunities will be available at www.maine.gov/schoolipm.

1.       “Introduction to Maine School IPM” training module must be completed by October 1, 2013 or within one month of appointment.
2.       “Comprehensive Maine School IPM” training module must be completed by September 1, 2014 or within one year of appointment.
3.       An approved one-hour continuing education training must be completed annually.

Third, there are important changes to pesticide application approval and IPM record-keeping requirements.

  • The IPM Coordinator must now give specific authorization before a pesticide may be applied in buildings or on grounds and must ensure that required notification provisions are implemented. Some types of pesticide applications are exempted from these requirements. More information and sample notices are available at www.maine.gov/schoolipm or by contacting the Maine Board of Pesticides Control at pesticides@maine.gov or 207-287-2731.
  • A notice describing your school’s IPM program must now be included in the school policy manual or student and staff handbooks.  Specific information is required.  A sample notice is available at www.maine.gov/schoolipm.  This information must be kept up to date, but an annual notice to parents and staff is no longer required.
  • A Pest Management Activity Log must be kept current and on file for at least two years. Specific records about IPM steps taken and pesticide use must be kept.  A sample logbook page is available at www.maine.gov/schoolipm.

These changes were adopted in response to proposed legislation that would have banned pesticide use on school grounds.  Compliance will ensure schools are using good IPM practices to prevent and safely manage occasional pest problems, and providing safe and healthy facilities that promote learning, while keeping costs under control. The School IPM Program, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is available to help with pest problem-solving advice, training resources and more (www.maine.gov/schoolipm, e-mail: kathy.murray@maine.gov, phone: 207-287-7616).  For more information contact the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (pesticides@maine.gov or 207-287-2731) or Pat Hinckley at the Department of Education (pat.hinckley@maine.gov or 207-624-6886).

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