Field Trip and Activity Information

University Field Trip Policy

According to the COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education released by Governor Newsom, virtual activities and events must be pursued in lieu of field trips, student assemblies, special performances, school-wide parent meetings, and spirit nights, when possible. Therefore field trips are not permitted at this time, unless they are essential to achieving the course learning outcomes and are approved by the provost and president after review by the Emergency Operations Center and other parties. See here for the process.

Field Trip Guidelines

In "Learn by Doing" educational programs, field trips can provide essential, real life contact with instructional and experiential subjects, increasing the value of the learning experience overall.

  • Field trips include required activities outside the regularly scheduled class room/laboratory environment led by the faculty and/or university staff. Field activities include travel related to participation in university programs such as professional societies, student affairs student programs, intercollegiate athletic competitions, judging competitions, etc.
  • Activities such as observation, measurement, instruction, collecting, capturing; project activities such as building, teaching, removing; presentations, participation in conferences, competitions, etc. may be included.
  • Field trips can be single or repeated to one site or many within a course or participation in a program
  • Participants include: enrolled students (undergraduate and graduate), employees (faculty, staff, student and teaching assistants), Identified University Volunteers.
  • Participants’ and Employees’: parents, partners, spouses, siblings, children who are not enrolled university students or employees, (and pets) are not authorized to participate in University field trips.

Field Trip Procedures

  1. Review the Field Trip Guidelines.
  2. Investigate Site, Develop and Document Plans for Activity.
  3. Identify risks, analyze impact of risks, develop and implement plans to reduce risk to participants, leaders, self and others. Complete the Pre-Trip Site Evaluation: Field Trip Worksheet. Submit for approval to Department Chair.
  4. Complete arrangements with owner/manager of site/area and support services if any.
    • Contracts and agreements (access, food, leases, lodging, rental agreements, support services, transportation, etc. ) must be reviewed and signed by University Procurement Services (you may be personally liable for contracts not authorized by the University)
    • Funding of expenses may be from University or Cal Poly Corporation accounts
    • Student fees for field trips must be approved, in advance, by the University Fee Committee and collected by University Cashier
  5. Provide advance University Field Activities Notification to students at initial course or program meeting.
  6. Provide written, detailed instructional agenda, information about the site, area, logistics, emergency procedures as well as information regarding applicable rules of conduct no later than one week before the field trip.
  7. Take "roll" at the beginning and end of the field trip retain "roll sheet" and attach to Travel Request (form 1A) at completion of trip. Students leaving during the field trip should sign out on a Field Activities Sign Out Release Agreement. File with Travel Request (form 1A)
  8. Specific responsibilities for leaders of field trips related to accidents include:
    • Emergency Response
    • Reporting Incidents and Accidents
    • Reporting Vehicle Accidents

Retain completed documents on file for three years after the year in which the field trip occurs.

Transportation for Field Trips

It is recommended that students provide their own transportation to and from field trip sites whenever possible. Alternatives are listed below in order of increasing risk to the University.

  • Commercial Transportation - contact Strategic Business Services to arrange for buses, ships, airplanes, etc. [Travel funds held in Cal Poly Corporation accounts may be used.]
  • Car pools may be organized, however: all drivers must be state employees or identified University Volunteers and must be authorized to drive vehicles on University (state) business. Use of personal vehicles on University business requires additional authorization.

Air Travel

Cal Poly Campus Administrative Policy (CAP) Section 361.7.3 requires the execution of a “release and hold harmless statement” by each student who participates in CSU - sponsored student air travel and/or air travel required in a CSU - affiliated program. Students traveling by air on flights not regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation are required to purchase life and personal injury insurance.

Contact Risk Management for assistance.

International Travel

All university activities and/or programs involving international travel for students shall contact International Education and Programs for specific requirements and documentation including requirements related to air travel.

Voluntary Field Trips

Voluntary field trips offered by the University shall include the execution of a University Activity Release Agreement. Contact Risk Management for additional information and the university approved form.

University Field Activities Notification

The attached form and language has been reviewed and approved by University Legal Counsel and University Risk Management for use in University classes and program which include required out of class room activities. For example: field trips, internships, service learning, student teaching, observation, etc.

Effectively implemented, this form will briefly notify students of planned out of classroom activities; logistical issues and arrangements; identified conditions and risks; and transfer the responsibility for managing risk to the student. Additional specific information prior to the actual out of classroom activity is essential to effectively define the responsibilities of the University and the student, and must also be provided.

Specific language and general format are not to be altered without consultation with University Risk Management.

  • Copy form onto new document. (it is write protected)
  • Form should be produced on department, university letterhead (first page) additional pages must be physically attached if provided in paper form.
  • Provide course and section if a class; provide title of class or program; indicate academic term; provide name of faculty and/or program leader.
  • Provide name/title of activity.
  • Cite regulatory requirement for the activity, if any.
  • Identify if an alternative assignment is available and who to contact.
  • Provide specific: start and end Dates, Times, Destination, Activity.
  • Indicate if there are fees and expenses that the student will be required to pay.
  • Indicate if: transportation, lodging, food, equipment, etc., are required and if the student or the University is responsible for services.
  • Indicate expected environmental conditions for both travel and destination.
  • Identify any specific risks, in addition to bodily injury, damage to property, liability to others and or damage to property of others.
  • Completed form is to be provided to students on their first day of class.
  • Student is to print their name, sign and date the form and return to faculty/leader who will establish a file within the department where the documents shall remain until the fourth academic year following the specific class or program.
  • If a student refuses to sign the form, print their name on the form and indicate in the signature area that they received a copy, date the form and retain.