Healthy Schools Act
About the HSA
The California Healthy Schools Act requires school districts to implement and abide by an Integrated Pest Management plan, defined as “a pest management strategy that focuses on long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems through a combination of techniques such as monitoring for pest presence and establishing treatment threshold levels, using non-chemical practices to make the habitat less conducive to pest development, improving sanitation, and using mechanical and physical controls”. All pesticide usage must be accompanied by notification to registered subscribers, warning signs posted at all areas that are to be treated, and the capability to provide up to four years of pesticide usage upon request.
Compliant IPM plans
- List all EPA pesticides, herbicides, and disinfectants that your district uses
- Exclude prohibited pesticides, herbicides, and disinfectants
- Post HSA compliant warning signs before pesticide and herbicide applications at least 24 hours in advance, and leave them posted for at least 72 hours after application
- Send explicit notifications of all pesticide and herbicide applications to registered parents and staff 72 hours before application
- Track DPR approved training on pesticide, herbicide, and disinfectant use for staff
- Accurately keep four years of pesticide and herbicide usage records and provide them in response to public information requests
- Annually report pesticide and herbicide usage to the Department of Pesticide Regulation
IPM Codex makes compliance simple
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pesticide?
Under state and federal law, a pesticide is any substance that controls, destroys, repels, or attracts a pest.
What is a pest?
A pest is any living organism, including insects, plants, fungus, rodents, bacteria, birds, algae, or the like, that is unwanted.
Does that mean that weed killer and disinfectant sprays are a pesticides?
Yes, it does. So are bleach, fungicides, and even disinfectant or sanitizing wipes. In the definition of “pesticide”, ALL life is considered, including bacteria and fungus, not just insects or animals.
What about hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap?
These are exceptions, as any substance intended to be applied to the human body is exempt from the classification.
What is the Healthy Schools Act (HSA)?
The Healthy Schools Act of 2000 (Assembly Bill 2260) put into place the right-to-know requirements such as notification, posting, and recordkeeping for pesticides used at public schools and public child day care facilities. The legislation also put into law the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) existing School IPM Program and requirements for reporting pesticide use.
The Healthy Schools Act was amended in 2005 to prohibit the use of certain pesticides at schools and public child day care facilities that have conditional, experimental use, or interim registrations or have been canceled, suspended, or phased out. The law was amended again in 2006 to include private child day care facilities (except for family day care homes). For more information, including a copy of the laws, go to DPR’s School IPM Web site: www.cdpr.ca.gov/schoolipm.
The Health Schools Act was amended again in 2014 to require annual reporting of pesticide usage, require training of any person that may apply pesticide at a school or child care facility, and remove the requirement that the state reimburse local agencies or school districts for costs incurred by compliance with the Healthy Schools Act.
Who is responsible for enforcing requirements of the HSA?
According to the Healthy Schools Act FAQ question 4-1, because the HSA contains no specific enforcement for the requirements and it falls under the Education Code, the school district superintendent and the district’s elected school board members are responsible for enforcement. A school district’s legal counsel should be consulted for specifics.
What is required for HSA compliance?
As of July 1, 2016, nine factors are required for HSA compliance:
- An IPM Coordinator
- Avoiding prohibited materials
- A posted IPM Plan
- A list of pesticides used by the district
- Notification of upcoming and emergency pesticide usage to registered individuals
- Posted warning signs around all treatment areas where pesticides will be applied in the next 24 hours, or have been applied in the last 72 hours
- Maintenance of four years of pesticide usage records
- Reporting of pesticide usage to the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR)
- DPR approved IPM training of all personnel who utilize any pesticide products
Does this mean that people who use disinfectant wipes need to participate in DPR training?
Yes. School districts are responsible for insuring that anyone who will utilize any pesticide product receive appropriate DPR approved training.
DPR approved training certificates are valid for one year.
What does “anyone” mean?
According to the 2016 yearly address from the Director of the DPR, Brian R. Leahy, “EVERYONE working at schools and daycare centers who uses any pesticide product” with the additional statement that “this means volunteers and teachers’ aides, as well as janitors, groundskeepers, or pest control applicators hired by the school.”
You can find the document with this information at the DPR’s website, linked below.
Does this mean that people who won’t use pesticides don’t need to be trained?
Technically, yes. However, this leaves a great deal up to chance. If an untrained person uses a pesticide, the school district, not the person using the pesticide, is responsible for the infraction, and could face a fine of up to $5,000 from the DPR, as the school district is required to provide the training.
Recommended best practice is that anyone spending significant time working on school grounds should take the training course, whether or not they intend to use pesticides at any time. Without the training, they can’t know that they’re in violation, and that responsibility falls to the school district.
What law details this requirement?
Education Code Section 17614(a):
Commencing July 1, 2016, and except as provided in subdivision (b), the school designee, and any person, including, but not necessarily limited to, a schoolsite or school district employee, who, in the course of his or her work, intends to apply a pesticide at a schoolsite subject to this article, shall annually complete a training course provided by the Department of Pesticide Regulation or an agent authorized by the Department of Pesticide Regulation. The training course shall include integrated pest management and the safe use of pesticides in relation to the unique nature of schoolsites and children’s health.
Can IPM Codex help keep track of who is trained?
IPM Codex will help track who is trained, keep you informed of who needs to be trained soon, and alerts you to who does not have a currently valid certification.
Here are some resources that may be useful in your IPM program administration.
Official Department of Pesticide Regulation Basic Level IPM Training Course
This simple course is the DPR provided path to basic level IPM certification required of personnel utilizing pesticide products. It requires approximately an hour to complete, and provides a certificate in PDF format upon success.
Department of Pesticide Regulation “From the Director” for 2016
Highlights from this address from the director address concerns with schools, pesticides, and upcoming training requirements.