Field Trip and Activity Information

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.

Planning and preparation are essential components of field activities and the management of risks to the students, teachers, support staff and other participants. The following questions are intended to focus attention on managing common and uncommon risks related to field activities.

  • Is this field activity the best alternative for the students and the educational objective? Are there other activities and/or methods that would provide the desired learning experience with less risk?
  • Can travel time and distance be minimized to reduce risk. Can field trip time be scheduled to avoid interference with other regularly scheduled university courses.
  • Does the leader of the field trip have either direct or indirect knowledge of the specific destination, area, activities and resources to be able to guide, lead, direct and supervise the field trip and the student participation; including in a crisis and non-crisis situation?
  • Have studen ts been notified in advance of the field trip? [Course description in the catalog and/or notification provided at first course meeting] Is/are field trips included in the approved Course Description?
  • Is there an alternative activity or assignment that student can complete for the same credit if they cannot participate in the field trip?
  • Have you determined if there are special needs of the participants and how you will accommodate those needs?
  • Have you provided a written detailed instructional and support plan for the field trip? [educational objectives, observations, activities, assignments as well as date, time, location, transportation, support services, emergencies, etc.]
  • Have you designated and defined “Field Trip Time” and “Free Time” for this activity? [students meeting you at the site?, everyone traveling together?, people responsible for their own support – food, shelter, etc.]
  • Do you have an “alternative” destination(s) and or activity(ies). Is there a designated contact point for participants to call for change in plans?
  • Have you provided written information and training for materials, equipment, activities that participants will be using related to the field trip?
  • Have you provided written information and training for REASONABLY FORSEEABLE hazards involved with activities related to the field trip? [crime, strenuous physical activities, falling hazards, dangerous animals, poisonous plants, etc.]
  • Have you informed the participants in writing of requirements for personal protective equipment [hard hat, safety glasses, long sleeves, long pants, boots, etc.] and/or advised personal supplies [sun block, sun glasses, hat, insect repellant, water, food, etc.]
  • Have you informed participants in writing of permissible conduct rules (destination, area, CSU, and Cal Poly) and consequences for inappropriate behavior?
  • Have you provided in writing, emergency response action plans and emergency phone numbers and contacts?
  • Do you and/or other leaders and/or participants have current American Red Cross or equivalent CPR and First Aid certification?
  • Will a first aid kit with materials appropriate to level of skills of the leaders and participants be available during the field trip? Has the kit been recently inspected and restocked as necessary?

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

Extended (Domestic) Field Trips [2+ days and/or extensive logistics]

Provide Field Activities Notification

Obtain Field Activities Notification

Provide a written Emergency Plan -- [Contact International Education & Programs for Emergency Plan template]

Including emergency contact numbers for emergency services at field trip destination(s), university personnel, field trip leaders, etc.

Retain completed documents on file for three years beyond 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 Contracts & Procurement 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

CSU Executive Order 590 and CalPoly Administrative Bulletin 92-2 require 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.