Academic Field Trip Guidelines

Defintion

A field trip is any off-campus trip or activity where academic course credit is granted. Contact the Office of International Education, (209) 667-3117, for field trips which occur out of the country.

General Guidelines

The University recognizes that field trips are often an essential part of academic course work. To ensure that all field trips avoid unnecessary liability exposure and promote the greatest amount of safety possible, faculty and staff planning off campus trips should consider the following:

  • University faculty and staff have a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect and supervise students while they are participating in a field trip conducted by the University. Faculty and staff have no special duty to protect adult students from their own voluntary actions while on their own personal time. However, prudence may dictate setting limits on students' off-time activities while on a field trip.
  • Similarly, faculty and staff are personally liable for their own personal activities, and, for any intentionally harmful, willful acts or omissions while conducting the field trip.
  • University faculty and staff should consider the proximity of personal, social, and instructional activities in a field trip situation. Be aware of how the situation, setting, and your personal conduct may be perceived by your students, and act accordingly.
  • Field trips, with University provided transportation (charter bus or rental van), should begin and end on campus. A field trip that begins and ends on campus is less likely to be questioned as a "field trip" by insurance policy administrators when reviewing a claim.
  • If the University will not provide group transportation, then the participants must convene at the site off campus. The field trip will begin and end at the off campus location. Individual participants will be personally liable for transportation to/from and during events when the University does not provide for transportation. In these instances, faculty or staff should not be involved in planning or supervising the travel arrangements of individuals.
  • Retain the following documents related to each field trip for one (1) year after the conclusion of the semester during which the field trip took place. Documents may be retained in electronic format.
  • Retain a list of all persons participating (roster) in the field trip in the academic department office (with a designated faculty/staff contact person) in the event of a major accident or emergency. The list should contain an emergency contact and phone number for each participant.
  • Complete all paperwork and obtain the necessary management approvals required for traveling on University business in advance of the field trip.
  • Select the area where the class is to be held. The faculty or instructor should visit the general area prior to the field study course or demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the area.
  • Prepare a detailed day-to-day instructional agenda including health and safety instructions for all participants.
  • Plan and include in the itinerary all destinations and alternates if an emergency prevents entry into the original destination.
  • Plan for and accommodate students with special needs.
  • Provide training for any equipment to be used on the trip.
  • Review emergency preparedness processes and emergency response plan.
  • Distribute a handout for students with emergency phone numbers and contacts.
  • Communicate codes of conduct for staff and students, addressing such issues as fraternizing, consuming alcohol, controlling activities, and conduct during "free time". Advise participants of the consequences of non-compliance and take appropriate action when aware that participants are in violation.
  • Notify student participants that personal transportation arrangements are done so at their own risk. The University does not provide insurance and is not responsible for students that make their own travel arrangements to and from a field trip meeting site.
  • CSU policy: No alcoholic beverage or chemical substance (drugs except for personal prescription medication) shall be transported in a University or privately owned vehicle that is being used in support of a University-sponsored academic or athletic related activity.

Questions or concerns, contact Risk Manager.

Emergency Response Plan

The emergency response plan will provide guidelines to assist the trip coordinator and field trip participants if an emergency arises. The field trip coordinator should exercise his or her best judgment in order to minimize risk or injury to all participants if an unexpected situation arises that is not addressed in the response plan. The components of the emergency response plan should include:

  • A directive to immediately call 911 in all cases involving serious injury or death, multiple injuries, or extensive property damage. The first priority is to care for any injured individuals.
  • The names and locations of nearby hospitals or other facilities near the final destination that would be able to offer assistance.
  • A directive to remain with any injured student participants, as circumstances permit, until relieved by a responsible individual, such as a family member or emergency medical personnel.
  • A directive to contact the College Dean as soon as is reasonably possible after the situation has stabilized. The contact number for the Dean should be included in the emergency response plan. The Dean will coordinate with Student Affairs to obtain emergency contact information from the department chair and/or faculty coordinator and ensure that any necessary contacts are made.
  • The name of a field trip participant who will assume responsibility for carrying out the emergency response plan in the event the trip coordinator is incapacitated. This person should have access to the participants' emergency contact information.
  • A directive to call the Public Information Officer at 209-667-3997 if the situation attracts media attention. All media inquiries should be referred to the Public Information Officer.

Authorized CSU Stanislaus Field Trip Participants

  • CSUS faculty and staff
  • Enrolled students in regular or extended education classes
  • Approved Volunteer Employees
  • Guests including family members and friends are not allowed on academic field trips to minimize the risk exposure and liability to the University.

Field Trip Liability Release

  • Each student participant is required to sign a field trip liability release prior to each trip. The purpose of the field trip liability release is to provide notice of potential risks to the participant and to discourage claims against the University.
  • Consult the Risk Manager for a customized form if the field trip involves overnight stay, hazardous or strenuous activity, or potentially dangerous locations.
  • Retain signed field trip liability releases in the academic department office for three (3) years in event of a claim or a CSU risk management audit. Documents signed by a parent or guardian on behalf of a minor must be retained for at least three (3) years or until the minor turns twenty (20), whichever is longer.

Authorized Drivers

Authorized drivers, if required for the field trip, must be CSUS employees:

  • Faculty, Staff, Student Assistants, Graduate Assistants or Volunteer Employees.
  • All authorized drivers must have:
    • A valid California driver's license
    • Clean DMV
    • Proof of liability insurance in the minimum amount specified by law
    • Current Defensive Driver Training Certificate

If an employee is driving a private vehicle, a completed Authorization to Use Privately Owned Vehicle on State Business Form STD 261.pdf is to be on file.

When authorized drivers are driving a privately owned vehicle, their personal vehicle liability insurance is primary and the University vehicle liability insurance is secondary. The University's vehicle liability insurance is primary for any University owned vehicle or vehicle rented from a State of California Commercial Car Rental Contractor.

What to do in Case of an Accident

In all cases involving serious injury or death, multiple injuries, or extensive property damage, immediately phone 911. Your first priority is to care for any injured individuals.
  • Know in advance who you are going to call for help while on a field trip. Be familiar with the location of local hospitals.
  • Have at least one other participant carry emergency numbers and be certain they know what to do in an emergency.
  • Record all pertinent information on the Accident Identification Card, STD. Form 269, before leaving the scene of the accident. If another vehicle is involved, detach the appropriate portion of the form and give it to the driver of the other vehicle.
  • Immediately telephone the University Police Department at (209) 667-3114 and give a verbal report of the accident. If no answer, leave a message giving your name, department, telephone number where you can be reached, and a brief description of the accident.
  • Make no comment or statement regarding the accident to anyone except investigating police, CSUS or other state officials, or an identified representative of the State's insurance adjuster.
  • If the situation attracts media attention, phone the Public Information Officer at 209-667-3997. Refer all media inquiries to the PIO.
  • All drivers involved in an accident while driving on official CSUS business must complete the Report of Vehicle Accident, STD. Form 270, and submit it to the University Police Department, within 48 hours.
  • The appropriate administrator of every driver involved in an accident while driving on official CSUS business must investigate each accident promptly and thoroughly and prepare a Review of State Driver Accident, STD Form 274 and submit it to the CSUS Department of Public Safety Services, within five days.
  • The University Police Department will coordinate all reporting requirements.

Note: In the event a driver is involved in an accident and the other party is non-cooperative do not get involved in a confrontation. Obtain as much information as possible, ie, vehicle license plate number, make of car, description of driver, etc. and report this information to local police and to the CSUS Public Safety Office.

Student Travel Accident Insurance

Student travel accident insurance is available at no cost to all students participating in a mandatory, University sponsored field trip. This insurance covers accidental injury medical expenses up to $10,000 per student. In event of an injury during a field trip, the student's personal health plan is primary.

Laws, State Codes, Regulations, and Mandates

The University complies with the following California State University Executive Orders pertaining to student travel: Executive Order 1062 - Field Trip Policy and Procedures, Executive Order 715 - CSU Risk Management Policy, Executive Order 1041 - CSU Student Travel Policy, and Executive Order 1051 - Use of Approved Waiver of Liability.