In an effort to look out for the best interests of their students and staff, Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) officials are addressing alternatives to weed abatement chemicals used on school grounds.
“The health and safety of SCUSD students and employees is our top priority,” said Grounds Manager and IPM Coordinator Peter Auth, “and if Roundup, which contains glyphosate, is under consideration by the California EPA as being potentially hazardous, then we believe it is in our students’ and employees’ best interest to discontinue its use effective immediately.”
Auth said that the District is always looking at alternative methods to herbicides.
“We always take the health of our students, employees, and residents very seriously, so we take appropriate action when we think there’s a reasonable threat to safety,” said Auth. “As part of our ongoing commitment, the Grounds department will continue to review new products, technologies and industry standard practices as they become available in order to continue our effort to reduce herbicide use while providing the safest, well-maintained landscape, and facilities for all to enjoy.”
The District has adopted integrated pest management practices over the last year, which Auth considers more environmentally friendly. For example, the grounds department is taking a greener approach to how they abate weeds and unwanted vegetation by using a recently purchased Saturated Steam Machine.
Auth also noted that the District has attempted to decrease the use of herbicides by using alternative methods such as a mulching program using recycled chips from tree pruning that are placed in planter beds to retain moisture and prevent weed growth, as well as incorporating organic weed eradicators to maintain landscape areas.
“We are always researching and collaborating with other school districts, industry professionals, and the public to educate ourselves of better ways and methods that replace chemicals and use safer alternatives,” said Auth. “As your Integrated Pest Management coordinator, my unwavering commitment is to protect students, employees and provide campus safety. This principal goal was our guide when we made the decision to discontinue the use of Roundup”