Integrated Pest Management
Ridgewood Public School’s Integrated Pest Management Program
For Policy 7422 School Integrated Pest Management Plan
1.     FIRST STEPS: Pest Prevention and Control: Wherever possible, the Ridgewood Public Schools will take a preventive approach by identifying and removing, to the degree feasible, the basic causes of the problem rather than merely attacking the symptoms (the pests), whether they be inside/outside pests or outside weeds. This prevention-oriented approach is also best achieved by integrating a number of strategies. It is easier to spot a potential problem when the interior and exterior of the school is clean and uncluttered, and the grounds are trimmed and well kept. Weeds are also considered as pests, as part of the State of NJ’s definition of “pests” under IPM and therefore herbicides are considered as pesticides because herbicides kill the pests which are weeds.
The Ridgewood Board of Education prides itself on being one of the leaders of the use of “Green” chemical technology in New Jersey’s Public Schools. Already leading the way for over a decade, Ridgewood Public Schools has already implemented “Green” standards by insisting that the contracted cleaning contractors use “Green” cleaning chemicals, methods, and standards whenever and wherever possible. Over 90% of the cleaning chemicals that the custodians use to clean our buildings are “Green” certified.
With the “Green” cleaning chemicals already in place, this follows through that wherever possible, the Ridgewood Board of Education’s IPM Program should employ a multi-tactic approach, by integrating several strategies to combat a particular pest or weed. Control strategies that remove a pest’s food, water, and shelter (harborage), and limit its access into and throughout buildings and on school grounds will be employed as follows:
a. Cultural control: for example, improve sanitation; reducing clutter; people changing habits like leaving food in the classroom, having unnecessary plants and animals (pets) inside the buildings; maintaining plant health by taking care of the habits and conditions; fertilization, plant selection (right plant/right place), and sanitation to exclude problematic pests and weeds.
b. Physical control: for example, pest exclusion; removing pest access to the school building by sealing openings with caulk and copper mesh; repairing leaks and screens
c. Mechanical control: for example, insect monitors, light traps, rodent traps; till soil prior to planting to disrupt pest life cycles. ; removing pests by hand such as killing bugs by hand, vacuuming etc. and pulling weeds by hand and/or line trimming and edging.
d. Biological control: use of pest’s natural enemies. For example, introduce beneficial insects or bacteria to the environment or, if they already exist, provide them with the necessary food and shelter; and avoid using needless broad-spectrum chemicals that will inadvertently kill beneficial.
e. Least hazardous chemical controls “LOW-IMPACT” When all other methods have proved ineffective, the decision to use ‘low-impact” pesticides come into play. Low-Impact chemicals are a “Green-style” chemical used to disperse or destroy the pest or weed. When the predetermined unacceptable limit or (threshold) is reached for each pest in each condition at each site, then, and only, then will a determination is made to proceed to the next step
2.     Establishing Thresholds: Thresholds will be established in each facility for not only insect and rodent pests, but also herbal pests. There will be a determination to use the type of method to control the pest, by using these established thresholds as measurements of the action that needs to be taken. Documentation of the ascension up the threshold limits will be made in each of the binders kept in the buildings themselves to show the efforts made to correct the issue through its progression. Day-by-day monitoring of the corrective action (or its attempts of correction) will be monitored by the appropriate GCA Staff member (insect and rodent issues head custodian/herbal issues Grounds Mgr.) At no time will there or should there be a process in place that would arbitrarily jump right to the highest level of control, especially if that control could be harmful to building occupants or the environment. This process through the threshold climb will be accomplished by them in writing, in that particular building’s binder either by notes or memo for record.
Pesticides & herbicides will be selected and utilized ONLY when other control methods are not effective or practical in resolving a pest problem. Pesticides & herbicides will not be used on School property unless both the pest has been identified and its presence verified and all other above mentioned efforts have been exhausted and have been documented that they have been ineffective. It is neither possible, nor desirable to completely exterminate every pest or weed from every area on school property, by “blanket” applications.
3.     NEXT STEPS: “Above Low-Impact” (ALI) Chemical Control: Whenever the “First Steps” are not successful the determination to use ALI is to be made in the conjunction with the Licensed contractor’s recommendations, the District’s IPM coordinator with a sign-off by the Building Principal and the Asst. Superintendent for Business. All of these people have to be in agreement that it is in the best interest that this step continues. If any one of these members does not agree, this method does not continue. If it is deemed to continue, the Building Principal will make the final decision and will be supplied with the necessary information regarding the product recommended to be used to control the pest. The Building’s Principal and his/her staff will be responsible for making whatever copies and/or correspondence that need to be relayed to the building occupants and the student’s parents and guardians and then GCA will post the fixed NOTICE signs at the appointed spots in or on the facility. The NOTICE signs alone do not suffice as the only notification to building occupants, students, or their parents and guardians.
a.     If this method is to proceed it requires prior notification of all pesticide use (all Above Low Impact pesticides) to all staff and parents or guardians of each student enrolled at the school, at least 72 hours before the use of pesticides on school property. Also requires the posting of signs of this information at least 72 hours prior to the application. These requirements apply at any time of the year children may be present.
Posting of Signs:
·       Placement: prominent in/adjacent and at entrance to treatment area (school building or school grounds entrances, for example).
·       time posted: from 72 hours prior to 72 hours after treatment
·       size: at least 8.5" by 11".
Content of notification and signs:
·       common name of pesticide,
·       EPA registration number,
·       EPA statement on sensitive persons (see Act above for wording)
·       location description, date, and time of application (one date for indoor application; three dates for outdoor applications in case of cancellation),
·       potential adverse effects of product,
·       reasons for the application,
·       contact information for the IPM Coordinator of the school or school district, and
·       Further label information or precautions for public safety.
1.     Emergency application of an “Above Low Impact” (ALI) pesticide may only be made when the health or safety of a student or staff member is immediately threatened or there is a serious potential for it. The Building Principal can determine this level and notify the proper administrators to invoke the immediate treatment. This will be followed up by a Post-application notice to the students and staff. As an example: You might see this occur because of a serious threat by “stinging” insects near a play area or entry door, but nevertheless, the paperwork still needs to be accomplished even if it is a “post-notification” and the process must be documented.
Post-application notice (content and method of notification as described above in for “ALI” pesticide used) to parent or guardians of students and staff must be made within the earlier of either 24 hours or the next school day. The reason for the emergency and measures how this will be avoided in the future may be included.
Posting of signs (as described above for non-low impact pesticide use) must be made from the time of application until 72 hours after treatment.
2.     Timing of Pesticide Applications:
Indoor applications of non-low impact pesticides shouldn't be made when students are present on school property unless there is a separate ventilation system for the treated and the untreated areas, and smoke or fire doors separating the areas. Further, applications of non-low impact pesticides on school property must be made in advance of when students will be present for instruction or extra-curricular activities, allowing for any label-prescribed entry restrictions; if there is no re-entry interval listed on the label, a minimum of 7 hours must be allowed prior to student re-entry on school property.
If there is an application of a low impact pesticide on school property, it must be made so that adequate settling or drying occurs in advance of when students will be present for instruction or extra-curricular activities.
Frequently Asked Questions by the Community
Why are we so quickly jumping to spraying pesticides and herbicides and why have we not tried all other methods first? Answer: We are not quickly jumping to spray herbicides and pesticides, part of Section #1 & 2 above explains the process carried out to ensure we are doing all we can even before “Low-Impact” pesticides are used, let alone moving to a stronger “Above Low-Impact” chemical.
Why are we, all of a sudden now using pesticides to control our indoor pests? Answer: We have had an IPM Policy and Program since its beginning and it has been especially fully operational for indoor pests from at least the time of its inception in 2002. Most of the general public has not been fully aware of it, because most pests have been controlled by either physical or mechanical means long before even the “Low Impact” pesticides were even used, not requiring the need for notification.
Why are we now, all of a sudden, using pesticides/herbicides to control our weeds outdoors? Answer: Even though we have had an IPM Program and Policy since 2002, up until 2009 we have had little or no need for   elevating our outdoor program beyond “Low-Impact” because the Village of Ridgewood Parks & Grounds Division was contracted to do our grounds services and did not apply anything to our grounds that was considered to be above a “low-impact” rating. Because of the new grounds maintenance contract through GCA for the athletic fields and Jacobsen for the buildings’ lawn maintenance, the Board of Education has decided to elevate the look and conditions of athletic fields and grounds, therefore occasionally requiring the need to go to a level above the “Low-Impact” category.
Are School & District Administrators aware that there will be chemicals used on their properties above a “Low-Impact” rating? Answer:  Yes, not only is the IPM Coordinator (Manager of Maintenance and Custodial Services) is aware, but also Assistant Superintendent for Business and the Building Principal of each affected facility and will be made aware by signing the form authorizing the use of an “ALI” chemical on the properties.
How can I know it’s safe? Answer: Different chemicals affect people in different ways. No one can say any chemical will have a serious effect or a non-serious effect on people, animals, or the habitat. All “Above Low-Impact’ chemical applications notifications will be properly posted as per the IPM Regulations. The notification includes all pertinent information required and the listed items regarding its potential hazards to the environment are taken from the manufactures recommendations, labels, and MSDS. However, generally, labels which state the effect of the chemical in its most concentrated form. In other words, as if you were the actual applicator and came in contact with the product at full strength from the container itself. Most warning labels have to take under the consideration as if you were exposed to the chemical its full strength.
Will I have enough time to ensure that I and my child will be notified? Answer: Normally, if and when there is a need for the use or disbursement of what is determined to be an “ALI”, you will have 72 hours prior to the application to be notified. Unfortunately, there may be incidents which described above, that necessity of the danger of personal injury outweighs prior notification, such as in the case of “stinging” insects that you may have to receive “post-notification”
If there is to be an “ALI” application of chemicals, what type of notification will I get? Answer: You will get a notification sent home with at least one of the siblings from each of the affected facilities stating the location, and date of the application of the “ALI” including all of the pertinent information. You must use your own judgment as to how you intend to proceed as a result of this notification.
Is there information and are there phone numbers which I can call if I feel there are reactions from exposure? Answer: Yes there will be emergency numbers which you can call regarding poison control centers, immediate exposure treatment, and emergency numbers for the IPM Coordinator. However, those are emergency numbers only. Please call Board Offices or check with your Building Principal if you have reservations regarding your child coming in contact with the product before the application of the chemical is applied.
To see additional information regarding our IPM Program, please feel free to contact the Ridgewood Board of Education’s IPM Coordinator, Mr. Allan Martin at [email protected].