Academic field trips can be an important—and enjoyable—element of education. They often significantly enhance the content of a course by providing a type of information hard to convey in the classroom. Site visits contextualize or enhance historical or scientific data; interviews with participants, or observation of species, phenomena, or events often become an important part both of course content and the study of a discipline’s methodology.
For purposes of this document, an academic field trip is defined as a course-related activity that serves educational purposes and occurs outside of the classroom at a location other than on the campus at which the course is regularly taught. Course activities, whether inside the classroom or not, involve varying degrees of risk to participants. Faculty assigning fields trips must discuss with all potential participants the specific nature of known risks and obtain consent prior to permitting a student to attend a field trip. Academic field trips are, by definition, district-sponsored events and must conform to the following guidelines:
Student's Right of Non-Compliance
Any student who at any time believes that the risks associated with the field trip, whether physical or psychological, are excessive may withdraw from participation at that time without penalty. Students who have withdrawn from an activity due to their perception of the risks involved must inquire of the instructor whether there are alternative means of fulfilling the requirements. If there are none, the student may petition for withdrawal from the course without penalty or appeal for an appropriate modification of the activity.
Faculty members incorporating field trips into their curriculum will:
- Forward to their department chair prior to the beginning of each semester a list of those courses or course sections that incorporate field trips as part of the curriculum.
- Make any field trip a component of the course requirements and include this activity in any course syllabus. Student Accident Insurance, which can provide medical expense benefits to an injured student, is only available if the field trip is listed as a course requirement.
- Inform and discuss with students the known risks associated with the field trip.
- Training in the use of necessary safety equipment must be provided to participants prior to departure.
- Instruct and discuss with students how to properly and safely handle situations reasonably likely to occur during the field trip.
Considered ADA issues, including reasonable accommodations or an alternative assignment or activity for those who cannot participate in the field trip.
Possession and use of drugs or alcohol are prohibited.
Inform and discuss with students their right to not participate in a field trip based on their perception of the risks involved,
- Begin and end all field trips on campus whenever possible to ensure a proper head count and submission of waiver forms.
- Exercise a degree of supervision over the activity appropriate for the degree of hazards involved.
- Maintain an accurate copy of the Academic Field Trip Participant List on the field trip and in the department office. Ensure that only those students who have signed an Academic Field Trip Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement participate in the field trip.
- Call 911 immediately concerning any incident involving serious injury or death, multiple injuries, extensive property damage or whenever appropriate. Contact the Campus Safety Department at your college as soon as possible.
Students participating on a field trip will:
- Obtain appropriate safety instructions from the field instructor and certify having received such instruction on the Academic Field Trip Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement.
- Follow the directions or instructions given to you by the instructor regarding the rules of safe conduct for the field activity.
- Inform the instructor if any part of the instructions are not understood or cannot be followed by the student, regardless of reason.
Assumption of Risk
Having been informed of the known risks associated with the field trip, students agreeing to participate in the activity assume the potential risks and consequences described. Although the student participants have assumed the risks involved, faculty members must use prudent and reasonable care in the conduct of the field trip.
Whenever possible, chartered buses or district-owned vehicles should be used for transportation on an academic field trips. Driver's transporting students in district vehicles must be at least 21 years old and must be authorized to drive district vehicles by Risk Management.
Students who make their own personal transportation arrangements (i.e. private car, carpool with other students, public transportation, etc.) to and from home/other site and the field trip meeting place are to be given notice that personal travel is done at their own risk. The district takes no responsibility for students that make their own travel arrangements to and from a field trip meeting site.
Medical Coverage for Accident/Injury Student Participant’s:
In the event of an accident/injury during an academic field trip, the student’s personal health care plan provides for primary medical coverage and payment. If the student’s health benefits become exhausted, the district's Student Accident Insurance helps pay for additional related injury expenses up to the maximum benefit*. Enrolled students without a private health plan may seek basic medical attention from the campus Student Health Center.
*Please note that the district's Student Insurance policy covers accident injuries only. The policy DOES NOT provide coverage for any illness or disease.
If you are an employee of the district participating in a field trip (i.e. staff, faculty, or approved student volunteer*, etc.) you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits that may assist to pay for medical expenses related to your injury accident. Contact Risk Managagement for further information.