Policy Details Page

Regulation 2320.1R

An instructional field trip is a school-supervised activity involving one or more students investigating or participating in educational experiences away from the school campus. Off-campus, educational experiences set out in a student’s Individual Educational Plan (I.E.P.) will not be considered field trips and must be consistent with the learning objectives of the instructional program.

Student-athletes in competition, pep squads, and bands participating in WIAA and Narrows League activities are subject to Section I. and IV. of this regulation and all procedures set out in Regulation 2320.2R.

Reward/celebration and activity field trips (such as, senior trips and end-of-the-year trips) and student activity-related trips (such as intramurals, sports, clubs, student leadership groups, rooter buses and bands performing at athletic events) are subject to Sections I., III., and IV. of this regulation and all procedures set out in Regulation 2320.3R.

This field trip regulation will apply to all students preschool through grade 12 involved in classroom and other school-related activities.

A signed Parent/Guardian Consent Form for Instructional Field Trips shall be required for each student on all instructional field trips.

Following the field trip, a copy of the proper Instructional Field Trip Request Form and all permission slips will remain in the school office or designated area for a minimum of three years. If an accident or incident occurs during the trip, all forms should remain on file indefinitely.

The building administrator/principal has the responsibility to carry out or cause to carry out the provisions of the regulation.

Any variations from this regulation, or any interpretation, should be cleared with and approved in writing by the appropriate level assistant superintendent.

  • General Considerations for all Field Trips
    • The safety and well-being of the staff and students shall be the primary considerations of all field trips.
    • Pre-planning and follow-up activities must occur in conjunction with all field trips.
    • The district staff member who will be in charge and on location during the field trip must make an inquiry regarding hazards in the area and consider all hazards when planning the field trip.
    • In advance of the trip, the staff member shall review with the students potential hazards, acceptable standards of conduct on the trip, as well as the educational objectives to be achieved.
    • Transportation of students on school-sponsored trips should, whenever possible, be by school bus or licensed commercial carrier. Use of private vehicles is discouraged. If it is necessary to use private transportation, the building administrator/principal shall be responsible for determining that competent adult drivers, sufficiently insured, are selected, and that each driver has on file in the school office or designated area a completed Authorization for the Use of Private Vehicle form. Each rider must be able to be buckled into a seat belt when private vehicles are used.

      NOTE: Students are discouraged from driving private vehicles for school-sponsored events. If students will be driving private vehicles for a school-sponsored trip, special authorization and written parent permission are required. Forms must be obtained from and approved by the appropriate level assistant superintendent.
    • There must be an approved list of competent/responsible supervisors which may include staff, adult volunteers, and parents, with sufficient numbers to ensure the safety of all participants. Because supervisors are to help supervise students, student siblings should not be included on the field trip. Volunteers and parents accompanying students on overnight field trips must complete a volunteer application and a fingerprint check. Schools may pay for any field trip-related expenses for volunteers and parents.
    • The following must be considered when developing a list of supervisors:
      • Age of students
      • Development and behaviors of students
      • Size of group, including adults
      • Medical needs of students
      • Mode of transportation
      • Location of field trip
      • Facilities such as bathrooms, eating and play areas, parking lots, attractive nuisances, etc.
      • Potential hazards at location
      • Time of year
      • Length of field trip
      • Planned activities for field trip
      • Anticipation of other school groups at the same site.
    • If the trip includes transporting students by boat, procedures must be discussed with the district’s Risk Management office in advance of notifying parents of the trip. Boat trips generally require that special arrangements be made to include the district as an insured party and may require a one-time increase in liability insurance coverage. Cost for the coverage will be the responsibility of the school and should be planned into the cost for the trip.
    • Prior to departure, the staff member in charge shall provide the building administrator with a roster of all students, staff and volunteers participating in the field trip.
  • Procedures for Requesting Authorization
    • The staff member proposing the field trip will meet with the building administrator/principal sufficiently ahead of the event to accomplish the necessary planning. The principal’s tentative approval must be obtained before any discussion is held with students or parents and prior to any public announcement.
    • When reviewing the proposal with the building administrator/principal, the teacher will do the following:
      • Present written objectives to be accomplished by the field trip.
      • Indicate how the individual, class, or group will be adequately prepared to represent the school and the district and to receive educational value from the trip.
      • Discuss efforts to accommodate low-income students and show that the cost will not cause undue pressure or hardship on the individual student, parents, community, or on other school activities.
      • Plan necessary financial arrangements. Fund-raising activities must be conducted in accordance with district regulations (Policy 3520, 3530 and accompanying regulations).
      • Review safety hazards at the locations.
      • Plan for adequate transportation.
      • Plan for competent/responsible supervision of the activity.
      • Plan procedures for responding to emergencies.
      • Plan for insurance coverage.
      • Complete and submit to the building administrator/principal the appropriate (local or extended) Instructional Field Trip Request Form in a timely manner.
    • When all plans are completed, the staff member shall meet with the building administrator/principal. The building administrator/principal shall determine if all requirements have been met and approve or disapprove the proposal.
      • 1. If the approved trip is less than 50 miles and does not require an overnight stay, the building administrator’s/principal’s signature on the Local Instructional Field Trip Request Form is the final requirement.
      • 2. If the field trip is in the state of Washington and is over 50 miles and/or requires an overnight stay, the Extended Instructional Field Trip Request Form shall be submitted to the appropriate level assistant superintendent for final approval.

        Note: Portland, Oregon is considered an in-state field trip.
      • 3. If the trip is out-of-state or out-of-the-country, the Extended Instructional Field Trip Request Form shall be submitted to the appropriate level assistant superintendent for monitoring purposes and then to the board of directors for final approval. 

        The appropriate forms for all out-of-state field trips requiring board approval must be submitted to the appropriate level assistant superintendent at least one full month prior to the trip. All out-of-the-country field trips must be approved during the school year prior to the trip.
    • Upon approval by the appropriate administrator (or board of directors), the staff member in charge will do the following:
      • Carry out the plans as arranged in Item II.B.
      • Inform parents or guardians in writing of activities, goals, and objectives, and costs of the proposed field trip and issue permission slips in advance using the Instructional Field Trip Information Form and the Parent/Guardian Consent Form For Instructional Field Trips.
      • Obtain in writing parent or legal guardian permission for each participant. Permission slips will be placed on file in the building prior to departing on the trip.
      • Complete and submit district form, Request for Released Time for Regular Staff, if appropriate.
      • Obtain clear directions to and from the field trip site.
      • Take along on all trips copies of any permission forms indicating a specific medical problem.
      • Ensure that a first aid kit is readily available at all times.
    • The board of directors, superintendent, school district administration, building administrator/principal, or the teacher in consultation with an administrator, may cancel a field trip at any time.
  • Supervision of Participants
    • All field trip groups shall be under the direction of a district staff member during the event.
    • The staff member in charge, or a designated adult supervisor, shall be immediately available to participants at all times while away from school.
    • Names of adults selected to participate as supervisors shall be submitted in advance to the building administrator/principal for review. At least one adult supervisor must hold a current CPR card.
    • Prior to departure, the staff member in charge will confirm that adequate supervision is present as prescribed during the planning stages, and as otherwise prescribed in this regulation.
    • The staff member in charge shall be responsible for training and assigning specific duties and responsibilities to adult supervisors prior to the trip.
    • If secondary students will be permitted to go in small groups, unchaperoned, the parents or legal guardians must know of the practice and its implications prior to giving permission. Elementary students shall not be permitted to go unchaperoned.
    • A written report will be submitted to the principal as requested or whenever any unique situation occurs such as an accident, injury, major incident, etc.
  • Safety and Emergency Procedures

    The safety of all students must be the prime consideration on planning a field trip.

    Safety and emergency procedures for all field trips are defined in section E., page 8 of this regulation.

    The following criteria must be met in order for a field trip to be approved:
    • Field trips to Regular Locations

      Regular locations are defined as any areas covered by Emergency 911 or where there is emergency medical service available within 15 minutes. No additional safety procedures, other than those defined in Sections I., II., and III. of this regulation are required for field trips to regular locations.
    • Field Trips to Remote Locations

      Remote locations are defined as areas not covered by Emergency 911 or where there is no emergency medical help that can arrive within 15 minutes.
      • A minimum of 4 supervisors per 30 students is required.
      • At least one supervisor must hold a current First Aid/CPR card.
      • The staff member in charge must have an emergency plan on file with the building administrator/principal which includes a plan for access to a cellular phone and a plan for access to a vehicle for emergency evacuation, etc.
    • Field Trips to Water Locations

      Water hazards are defined as any areas in which students may have close proximity to water which is at any place deeper than approximately 12 inches and the body of water is wider than approximately 8 feet, and/or is fast-moving.
      • A minimum of 4 supervisors per 30 students is required.
      • At least one supervisor must hold a current First Aid/CPR card.
      • There must be an adult supervisor on duty at the site who is certified by training such as WSI or certified lifeguard, or occupation (fireman, police, medic, etc.) to effect a water rescue.
      • In water hazard areas, two supervisors shall be assigned to monitor students near the water hazard. An additional supervisor shall be assigned to monitor students near areas requiring close supervision. These supervisors shall have no additional obligations.
      • Where phones are not easily accessible, one supervisor must carry a cellular phone. These may be checked out from the Audiovisual Department.
      • One supervisor must ensure that an extension pole, ring buoy with line and two blankets are available. These may be checked out from the Audiovisual Department.
      • When using bodies of water for instructional purposes, i.e. lifeguard training, swimming instruction, boating, etc., all activities must be under the direct supervision of certified water safety instructors and be in accordance with all regulations for swimming pools (Policy 6510). Boat trips, other than the Washington State Ferries, may be disallowed due to problems with insurance coverage. Prior to making any plans for a boating field trip, staff must review insurance coverage with the district Risk Management Office staff.
    • Extended Field Trips

      Extended field trips are those which include an overnight stay or which take students beyond a 50-mile driving distance from the city. Out-of-state trips and trips to foreign countries are considered extended field trips.

      General Considerations:
      • Every effort should be made to minimize absences from the normal school program.
      • Travel in foreign countries will be by public transportation or charter service rather than by privately operated vehicles unless the transportation is provided by host families. Students from the Tacoma School District shall not drive any vehicle when traveling in a foreign country.
      • Fund-raising activities must be conducted in accordance with district regulations (Policy 3520, 3530, and the accompanying regulations).
      • The code of conduct is to be made known to parents and students prior to travel. The chaperone shall strictly enforce the code of conduct.
      • Foreign exchange students traveling to other countries must have proper clearance before leaving Tacoma.
      • For foreign travel, at least one chaperone must hold a current First Aid/CPR card.
      • Medical needs of students must be planned for and evidence of accidental medical insurance coverage for the student is required for all trips out of the country.
      • If international travel and exchange programs are utilized, the staff member in charge must verify the program’s authority and ratings.
      • The Extended Instructional Field Trip Form shall be submitted to the principal within ten (10) calendar days after returning from the trip.
      • The building administrator/principal will determine the number of adult supervisors required to accompany groups on field trips. Adequate supervision for both boys and girls must be provided as needed.
    • Emergency Procedures
      • A minimum of four supervisors will be required in an area that is considered to have hazards, to be remote, or where there are water hazards:
        • One supervisor to assist with the supervision of all students, keep order, and help keep the crowd away from the victim.
        • One supervisor trained in First Aid/CPR to respond as necessary to the victim’s first aid.
        • One supervisor to leave the location and seek emergency help if needed, and then help direct emergency vehicle staff to the victim.
        • In water-related areas, the fourth supervisor will continue to prohibit students from entering the water.
      • In case of an emergency, call 911 or the local emergency number. State the exact location and nature of the accident.
      • The first-aid trained supervisor should administer first aid if needed, until a medically trained person arrives and takes over.
      • The injured person should be transported in a private vehicle only when other alternatives are unavailable.
      • As soon as the fire department or police have arrived, the building principal/administrator should be notified. The staff member in charge should work with the administrator to locate the student’s parents or nearest relative to explain the incident and to describe where the injured student has been taken.
      • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witnesses should be secured.
      • Upon return to the school, or as soon as possible, it shall be the responsibility of the staff member in charge to complete an accident report. The permission slip and the medical consent form of the injured student will be filed with the accident report.

Approved 10/31/01

  • 2320
  • 2320.1R
  • field trips
  • instruction
  • policy
  • policy handbook
  • policy manual
  • school field trips