Five College Risk Management

Field Trip Guide for Faculty

This is an outline for Faculty for organizing field trips for your classes. For more information on liability issues, see the Off Campus Travel Guide (PDF). For voluntary trips over J-Term, Spring Break or pre/post semester, see Voluntary Field Trips. For trips out of the U.S., please call the Risk Manager at 538.2731.

  1. Inform students at the beginning of the semester if there are any required field trips. Include the list of trips on your syllabus, and review them in the first class (what class will be doing, where you are going, how you will get there, what hazards exist in the location and the activities, etc.) This will give students the opportunity to withdraw if they are not comfortable with participating in the field trip/s. Inform students if they can do alternate work in lieu of participating in the field trips. Consider permitting alternate work for students who may have requested accommodations through the disabilities office on campus. Have students sign an informed consent form.

  2. Arrange for College transportation for the field trips. Check with your department chair for funding if necessary. Are you chartering/renting a bus? In general, students should not drive other students on required academic travel. If it is possible to hire a driver, that would be preferred. If not, please know that all drivers must be certified. They must be volunteers, and the faculty member should ask for "older, experienced drivers" as volunteers. It is strongly recommended that there be at least two qualified drivers for each vehicle, in case one of the drivers is incapacitated or even just tired. If the trip is over two hours one way there must be at least two drivers, and no one may drive more than two hours for a single stretch. Faculty must also be credentialed to drive a College vehicle or to rent a vehicle for College business. If you are going to be using College or rented vehicles, see Auto Insurance Information. Persons who are auditing a class can travel with the class.

  3. Go on the trip with the students.

  4. Have an emergency response plan. This means, consider what you will do if unexpected things happen. The plan does not have to be complicated, but should include having a cell phone to call back to the College to report the circumstances and get instruction. Typical events can include:

    • A student becomes ill and needs to be taken to a local emergency room (e.g. the professor should accompany the student to the hospital, and make arrangements for them and the other students to get back to campus);
    • One of the vehicles in your group is in an accident and the outcome ranges from needing alternative transportation to serious injuries. See Auto Accidents, Emergencies/Claims.
    • Adverse weather conditions prevent the trip from returning to campus when planned, or from starting out.

Always have emergency contact information for the dean on call, and know your institution’s procedures for responding to emergencies. A roster of all students (name, campus address, contact info) should be left with the department assistant if the trip is during regular school office hours and with the dean’s office if the trip is outside of regular school office hours.