Field Trip 101 for Your Church or School
Field trips are fun, educational and a nice break from day-to-day classroom activities, but planning and supervising them can be stressful. We get it, so we’ve included a list of field trip essentials and considerations to help you minimize potential liability and safety risks, worry a little less and enjoy your outings.
Liability Release Forms
Make sure you have a completed liability release form for every student who participates in your field trip. The release should provide a complete picture of the risks involved and be reviewed by legal counsel to be sure it covers the necessary issues for your activity. Forms can be collected either on paper or electronically, as long as they are documented appropriately. While these forms may seem like a hassle, they are essential for all participants’ safety — and for protecting your school. Need an example of a liability release form? Take a look.
Even with a liability release form, there is additional information that needs to be shared with and gathered from guardians. That’s where a permission slip comes into play. Your permission slip should include the following:
- Emergency contact for the student
- Any allergies (food, medication, animals, etc.) the student has
- Field trip location
- Field trip supervisor phone number
- Type of transportation
- Time and date of arrival and return
- Explanation of field trip activities
- List of chaperones
- Guardian approval
We’ve included an example of a permission slip here. Reminder, this is not all encompassing for every situation. Please review the information before each trip.
One pair of eyes for adult supervision is simply not enough for an entire group of students. Make appropriate adult-to-student ratios that are manageable. Recruit volunteers who have been screened to help supervise students. (And remember to provide a list of the volunteers to all the parents.) All volunteers need to understand your school rules and expectations and follow them closely.
Most states require that students be transported in school buses. If your school does not have its own fleet, charter with a bus company that can fulfill these requirements. Do not rely on private vehicles or 15 passenger vans for student transportation.
Accidents happen, even when you’re being careful. Keep a first aid kit handy for injuries, and document any injuries that occur, as well as how they were treated. Even the smallest incidents need to be tracked. While medical emergencies like cardiac arrest are not nearly as common as bumps and bruises it may be valuable to see if your field trip location has an AED.
Do you have a specific question regarding field trips?
Call the Risk Management Phone Number at 800 321-5754 we are glad to help!