Parents Allied with Children and Teachers

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PACT Charter School
7250 E. Ramsey Parkway
Ramsey, MN 55303

 702_Animals in the School Policy

 Date created: 

 Committee Approval by: 

 Date Approved:

 Reviewed:

 20060304

 JSC

 20130919

 2015-16

 BRD

 20131114


PURPOSE

  1. To decrease student exposure to potentially harmful allergens,
  2. To inform staff regarding precautions and necessary conditions regarding animals, and
  3. To provide a basic minimum standard for our district.


Animals in the Schools: Requirements at PACT Charter School

The following requirements concern the presence of animals in school, which represent a minimum standard of care for optimal student health.

Exclusions

  1. Fur-bearing and warm-blooded animals, especially cats and dogs, are triggers for many students with asthma and allergies. Therefore, cats or dogs are not allowed in the school building(s) with the exception of service animals.
  2. Any animal brought to school by a student, parent or teacher, should be brought in a cage or muzzled and on a leash. Dogs and cats may not be brought into the building. Instead, they should be shown to the students outside. Anybody bringing any animal to school is strictly liable personally for the injury of the person bitten by it. Proof of insurance may be required.
  3. Because other fur-bearing and warm-blooded animals also cause problems for students with asthma and other allergies, no fur-bearing animals should reside for any length of time in classrooms, but only visit briefly.

For those teachers who choose to continue to have animals residing or visiting in classrooms, the guidelines that follow apply. 

Sanitation

  1. Proper hand cleansing is mandatory for school staff and students after handling animals, cage debris, or animal supplies.
  2. Students should never be allowed to clean up any excretory waste from the animals unless they have been given proper instructions and protective equipment.
  3. The area for cleaning cages and all animal care equipment must be maintained completely separate from any food preparation, food storage, or eating area for students.
  4. Cages must be kept clean. Daily cleaning is preferred, but each animal's cage should be set on a schedule for cleaning.
  5. Staff will use a 1:10 solution of (1) bleach and (10) water for all clean up of excretory waste products and other cage cleaning. Use bleach solution only when all students are out of the room.
  6. Urine from rodents is a trigger for many students with asthma/allergies. Student exposure should be limited and then only in line with policies stated in the Communication section.
  7. Pet food should be stored in an airtight metal or plastic container.

Indoor Air Quality

  1. Locate animals away from supply and return vents to avoid circulating allergens throughout the room or building.
  2. The areas near where the animals are housed must be kept sanitary and clean to minimize pollutants becoming airborne. Locate animal cages on hard surface floors (not on carpet).

Containment and Care

  1. Use safe, lockable and appropriate cages for all animals visiting the classroom. Animals can be allowed to roam around a confined classroom space if it is for instructional purposes and supervised by the instructor. Animals should not be allowed to roam freely in the school building.
  2. Teacher or classroom supervisor MUST be present when animals are taken out of a cage and handled by students. Proper safety equipment as recommended by the instructor should be used whenever animals are handled. Students may not handle animals posing a threat of harm to a student, as determined by the classroom teacher.
  3. Immediately remove any animal that displays aggressive behavior. Administration must be notified.
  4. Animals should be fed the appropriate food on a regular basis and should have fresh water at all times.
  5. Use a metal screen or net to keep flammable bedding material from touching lights or heat source.
  6. Ensure all classroom animals are properly cared for on weekends, holidays and summer and winter breaks. Dead, sick, or diseased animals and/or feces ridden cages are not conducive to a healthy environment and should be disposed of promptly. 

Communication

  1. Medical documentation for animal allergens will be noted as part of the Emergency Health Information and forwarded to the teacher. Teachers will ensure minimum exposure to students with documented allergens.
  2. The  classroom instructor will send out a notification at the beginning of each school year notifying parents of the presence of animals, if any, in their child(ren)'s classroom(s). This can be included in the course syllabus or introductory classroom information.

Animal and Student Health

  1. Animals must be in good health and have appropriate and up-to-date immunizations.
  2. Students will cleanse hands after handling animals in the classroom.
  3. If a student is injured by an animal, they will be sent to the health office for proper care and documentation.

Additional Resources

  1. Managing Asthma in the School Environment. United States Environmental Protection Agency. EPA 402-K-00-003 April 2000
  2. Guidelines for Having Animals in the School Setting. Health Facts. October 1999. Olmsted County Public Health Services.
  3. Healthy Learners Asthma Initiative / Minneapolis Public Schools, Health Related Services www.healthylearners.org or 612-668-0850. February 6, 2003.
  4. RCW 16.08.040 addresses the liability issue of a dog that bites: "The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as any be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness."