Definition: A school-sponsored field trip is an excursion of students that is organized on school property and/or on school time and/or utilizes school funds or equipment and receives the approval of the Superintendent or his/her designee. School sponsored field trips may be conducted during school or non-school time.
The School Committee delegates to the Superintendent authority to approve field trips that are for one day. All overnight field trips and out of state field trips must be approved by the School Committee. Field trips can bring the school and community closer together, which can result in real life experiences that enrich the curriculum for students and also bring about better public relations. The committee will also encourage field trips as an integral part of the instructional programs in the schools.
In order to control the quality and number of field trips, the following procedures are to be followed:
- The teacher planning the trip must submit a statement to his/her administrator explaining specifically how the field trip implements the curriculum.
A list of students who are going on the trip must be submitted to the principal and all teachers at least two weeks before the trip. A principal may removea student from the list if he or she:
- is currently in academic difficulty in the class;
- has been absent more than a reasonable number of days;
- has chronically violated the discipline code, in accordance with regulations set forth in 34 CFR 104.37(a)(a).
- All work missed because of a field trip must be made up promptly according to the school’s current make-up policy as stated in the student handbook.
- The Building Administrator must submit approved field trip applications for in-state, non-overnight field trips to the Superintendent for approval at least five school days prior to the date of the trip.
The use of vans or private automobiles for trips planned to include out of state, late night or overnight student travel should be avoided. Such trips should generally use commercial motorcoaches. Trips planned to include out of state, late night or over night student travel should involve DPRE-trip checks of companies, drivers and vehicles. School officials should ensure that the selected carrier is licensed for passenger transportation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The district should not contract with any carrier that has an FMCSA safety rating of “conditional” or “unsatisfactory.” FMCSA carrier ratings are available at http://www.safersys.org.
If Gardner Public Schools is unable to conduct their own in-depth reviews of bus carrier qualifications, they may elect to use ratings and prequalifications established by other public entities, such as the department of defense’s approved list of motor carriers for troop transport. (http://www.mtmc.army.mil/content/504/approvedlist)
The contract with the carrier should prohibit the use of a subcontractor unless sufficient notice is given to the district to allow verification of the subcontractor’s qualifications.
Overnight accommodations should be made in advance with student safety and security in mind. Whenever possible, the trip schedulers should avoid planning student travel between the hours of midnight and 6:00 am, due to the increased risk of vehicular accidents during this time period.
Whenever possible, overnight trips should be scheduled on weekends or during school vacations to minimize lost classroom time. Non-academic field trips are considered “optional school programs” and do not count toward meeting structured learning time requirements under 603 CMR 27.00. However, academic field trips may be considered structured learning time (see the department’s student learning time regulations guide). School districts may consider travel for field trips as included in students’ schedules, but the department recommends that schools consider scheduling additional structured learning time when significant travel time is anticipated (i.e., time outside the hours of the regular school day).
Trip itineraries must leave enough time for drivers to rest in conformity with federal hour-of-service requirements and common sense.
Trip scheduling should take into account the likelihood of delays due to weather, traffic, stragglers and other unanticipated factors.
If substantially all members of a class are participating in a trip, the school should provide appropriate substitute activities for any students not participating.
The amount of time to be devoted to fundraising should be reasonable and commensurate with students’ obligation for homework, after-school activities and jobs and will be done at the discretion of the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, or principal.
Group fundraising activities are preferred. Students should not be assigned individual fundraising targets.
If students are charged individual fees for participation, the district should make every effort to provide scholarships where needed.
Students shall be accompanied by a sufficient number of chaperones, taking into account the trip scheduling and logistics. All overnight trips/activities require an administrator to be present. All chaperones, including parents and volunteers, must have a CORI check in accordance with M.G.L. c71 s.38r.
. Massachusetts CORI regulations will be followed.
All participating students must submit a signed parent/guardian permission form. Such form shall include appropriate authorization for emergency medical care and administration of medication.
Additional useful resources
Federal motor carrier safety administration (FMCSA), http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov
United Motorcoach Association – Student Motorcoach Travel Safety Guide (includes “motorcoach safety checklist”) http://www.uma.org/consumerhelp/studentguide.asp
[Adopted: April 2001]
[Reviewed: September 2003]
[Revised: March 2004]
[Revised: January 2006]
[Revised: April 2008]
[Revised: October 2013]
[Revised: November 2016]