West Chester Area School District policy

The following WCASD policy on pests and weeds was circulated in August, 2019. Download the pdf here: Pesticide Ltr-Eng 8.2019. Compare “PA Public School Code sections on pesticide notification” on our site (note that the law defines “pesticide” to include “herbicide”). We support the IPM approach; for the sake of children, staff and the environment, we hope that every school in the system will conform scrupulously to it and that no spraying will be considered necessary. The unwelcome use of herbicides at one school is documented in the photo below from summer 2019.

The West Chester Area School District uses an integrated pest management (IPM) approach for managing insects, rodents and weeds. Our goal is to protect every student for pesticide exposure by using an IPM approach to pest management. Our IPM approach focuses on making the school building and grounds an unfavorable habitat for these pests by removing food and water sources and eliminating their hiding and breeding places. We accomplish this through routine cleaning and maintenance. We routinely monitor the school building and grounds to detect any pests that are present. The pest monitoring team consists of our building maintenance, office and teaching staffs and includes our students. Pest sightings are reported to our IPM coordinator who evaluates the pest problem and determines the appropriate pest management techniques to address the problem. The techniques can include increases sanitation, modifying storage practice, sealing entry points, physically removing the pests, etc.

From time to time it may be necessary to use chemicals to manage a pest problem. Chemicals will only be used when necessary and will not be routinely applied. When chemicals are used the school will try to use the least toxic products when possible. Applications will be made only when non-authorized persons do not have access to the area(s) being treated. Notices will be posted in the areas 72 hours prior to application and for two days following the applications.

Parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school may request prior notification of specific pesticide applications made at the school. To receive notification, you must be placed on the school’s notification registry. If you would like to be placed on the registry, please complete the online form on the district website, under Departments, Facilities & Operations, IPM Notification Request form. This request must be made annually. If you do not have internet access, please call the Facilities Receptionist at 484-266-1252, to request notification.

If a chemical application must be made to control an emergency pest problem, notice will be provided by email to any parent or guardian who has requested such notification. Exemptions to the notification include disinfectants and antimicrobial products; self-containerized baits placed in areas not accessible to students, and gel-type baits placed in cracks, crevices or voids.

Schools and parks in West Chester Borough

Don’t Spray Me! believes pesticides and herbicides should not be sprayed on any sort of educational institution or in parks where the public, including children, may go unawares shortly after spraying. The PA School Code requires notification of families and employees of public schools (but not all schools) before spraying occurs. Stay tuned for more!

The map below, by Paige Vermeulen, shows schools (from day cares to university) in yellow, parks in green, and a 300 foot buffer zone in orange. Why 300 feet? Because spray drifts, and Bayer says its product DeltaGard kills mosquitoes at 300 feet (see more here).

Pesticides Putting Pajaro Valley Schools at Risk, Teachers Say

By Georgia Johnson, Good Times, 9/25/18

Fear flourishes amid industry reassurance, conflicting data

When third-grade teacher Melissa Dennis started working at Ohlone Elementary in Watsonville, she pictured her students playing in the adjacent strawberry fields, picking berries and running through rows of strawberries. But the more she talked to other teachers, the more she realized the reality might not be so idyllic.

“I started hearing about teachers in the past who had been organizing against pesticide use,” Dennis said. “I started thinking maybe I should be careful about drinking the water. But I never thought about the air.”

Ohlone Elementary was built right in the middle of farmlands. No one seems to knows why this location was chosen; the fact that surrounding farms use hundreds of gallons of pesticides and fumigants annually would make it seem less than ideal. Scientific findings on the dangers of pesticide exposure are complicated and sometimes confusing, but for residents, teachers, and farmworkers, the proof is in their experience and stories.

“When you read the label on the products, it says ‘these pesticides are toxic for small mammals, insects, frogs, birds,’” Dennis says. “They use thousands of pounds of this stuff all around us. What are human children but small mammals?”

Dennis eventually joined Safe Ag Safe Schools (SASS), a Salinas-based subgroup of Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), with a few other Pajaro Valley Unified teachers who say they have witnessed multiple cases of brain tumors, neurological problems and severe respiratory illness in young children at their schools. Just yards away from many of these schools, tarps stretch across pesticide-treated fields and teachers keep the windows of their classrooms shut….

read more at Good Times