Superintendent's Memo #163-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

July 16, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Application of Pesticides on School Property

During the 2009 Session, the General Assembly and the Governor approved HB 1836, which required the Department of Education to make information available to school boards regarding Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs and the application of chemical pesticides and other pest control measures on school property.  For purposes of that bill, integrated pest management means "a managed pest control and suppression program that uses various integrated methods to keep pests from causing economic, health-related, or aesthetic injury and minimizes the use of pesticides and the risk to human health and the environment associated with pesticide applications." HB 1836 also required all public schools to maintain pesticide application documentation that included the target pest, the formulation applied, and the specific location of the application.   However, the latter requirement was changed during the 2010 Session through SB 197, which requires each school division, instead of each school, to maintain pesticide application documentation that includes the target pest, the formulation applied, and the specific location of the application.

As required by HB 1836, the Virginia Cooperative Extension has developed guidelines for IPM in cooperation with the Virginia Pesticide Control Board.  The Integrated Pest Management Guidelines for Virginia Schools (K-12) (guidelines) explains how school personnel can properly address the management of pests while reducing the use of pesticides on school grounds.  You will find a copy of these guidelines at Attachment A.  Use of these guidelines is not mandatory; however, the Department encourages school divisions to use them to minimize the use of pesticides and the risk to health and safety and to the environment.

Under Virginia law (Code of Virginia at §§ 3.2-3900 et seq.) public school employees who apply pesticides to school property must be certified as government registered technicians or commercial applicators through the Office of Pesticide Services within the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  These certification requirements are intended to ensure that any pesticide applications in schools or on school property are made by a properly qualified individual and to ensure the safety of staff, students, and the public.  See Pesticide Applications on Public School Property, Attachment B, for more information about the requirements.

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Dini M. Miller, Department of Entomology, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061 by telephone at 540-231-4045 or e-mail at dinim@vt.edu for inquires regarding the guidelines and implementation of an IPM Program.

In addition, if you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the Office of Policy at Policy@doe.virginia.gov or 804-225-2092.

PIW/SGP/jcj

Attachments:

  1. Integrated Pest Management Guidelines for Virginia Schools (K-12) (PDF)
  2. Pesticide Applications on Public School Property (PDF)
  3. Letter from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service to Dr. Patricia I. Wright (PDF)