Online course helps control pests, protect children

Mar 11, 2015

IPM for schools
Free UC IPM course helps pest management professionals understand the Healthy Schools Act and provide IPM services to schools and child care centers

Pest management professionals can learn about the requirements of California's Healthy Schools Act by taking a free online course provided by the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM), part of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR).

To minimize children's exposure to pesticides, California requires pest control operators providing services in schools and licensed child care centers to comply with a series of laws called the Healthy Schools Act.  The laws promote integrated pest management (IPM) in public K–12 schools and licensed private child care centers.

The free course Providing Integrated Pest Management Services in Schools and Child Care Settings explains what the Healthy Schools Act requires of schools, child care centers and pest control companies when managing pests in these environments.  

"Taking the online course makes it easier to understand and comply with the laws," said Andrew Sutherland, UC ANR Cooperative Extension IPM advisor. "Pest management professionals can take the course at their convenience. It tells them everything they need to know about the Healthy Schools Act and IPM in order to do business with a school or child care center."

The course also includes a section on how companies can prosper by incorporating IPM principles and practices into their businesses.

"This is an opportunity for operators to take their businesses to the next level by adopting IPM practices," Sutherland said. "IPM effectively and efficiently manages pests, builds professionalism within providers, and captures value for the customer while minimizing pesticide applications, pesticide exposures and associated negative impacts on children's health, the environment and the larger community."

Licensed pest-management professionals can receive continuing education units by completing the online course: one "Rules and Regulations" and one "IPM" from the Structural Pest Control Board; and one "Laws and Regulations" and one "Other" from the Department of Pesticide Regulation.

UC Berkeley's Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health is developing a database of individuals who complete the course so that schools and child care centers can connect with pest control providers who are familiar with IPM and the Healthy Schools Act.

The training module was developed by Sutherland and collaborators at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, with input from California pest management professionals and child care providers. 

To take the free Providing Integrated Pest Management Services in Schools and Child Care Settings course, see the UC IPM website

This project was funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation Pest Management Alliance Program. For more information about the Healthy Schools Act, visit the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's School IPM web page

An initiative to maintain and enhance healthy families and communities is part of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.

By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach