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260

Field Trips and Excursions

Background

The Division believes in the educational value of curricular and extra-curricular field trips and excursions beyond school property.

Definitions

A Category Field Trips/Excursions – Those that take place within the school’s community.

B Category Field Trips/Excursions – Those day trips that take place beyond the school’s community within the Province of Alberta.

C Category Field Trips/Excursions – All overnight trips in Alberta.

D Category Field Trips/Excursions – Those that take place beyond the province of Alberta.

Field Trip means an approved school activity that occurs off school property. This definition includes classes, programs, and extracurricular activities that occur off school property but excludes work-study and work experience programs.

Safety Guidelines means the most current edition of Safety Guidelines for Physical Activity in Alberta Schools.  http://injurypreventioncentre.ca/documents/policies/SG_PA_Final_2014.pdf

Lead Teacher means the teacher directly responsible for the planning, coordination and implementation of the field trip.

Parent means a person defined as a parent in the School Act, Section 1 (1) and (2).

Supervisor means an adult over the age of eighteen (18) years who is not a high school student and who has been selected by the Lead Teacher and approved by the Principal to assist on a field trip.

Opt out refers to the option for parents to decline their child’s participation in any Extra-Curricular activity or event. Curricular activities that are directly related to, and/or are found in any of the Alberta Education Programs of Studies are not considered to be optional, and therefore do not fall under the “opt out” feature of this administrative procedure.

Procedures

  1. In providing approval for A and B category trips and initial approval for C and D category trips, it is expected that the Principal:
    1. Is familiar with the trip;
    2. Has determined that activities planned are educationally appropriate;
    3. Has determined that the teacher in charge is capable of handling the trip;
    4. Has determined that the trip is suitable and safe for the students; and
    5. Has determined that the students will be appropriately supervised and/or instructed.
  2. Parents shall be provided with the following information:
    1. Purpose or educational goal of field trip;
    2. Proposed itinerary;
    3. Description of the activities or events proposed;
    4. Method of transportation to be used;
    5. Arrangements for supervision;
    6. Cost to student;
    7. Risks involved; and
    8. For overnight field trips, emergency procedures to be followed in the event of injury, illness or unusual circumstances.
  3. Principals shall obtain appropriate parental approval depending upon the type of field trip and excursion.
  4. Parents shall be asked to review their children’s medical coverage for any out of province field trips.
  5. The Superintendent may impose any restrictions or conditions that he/she deems appropriate on any field trip or excursion.
  6. The Board may, as a result of unforeseen circumstances, withdraw approval of any field trip or excursion at no cost to the Board.
  7. Approval Procedure
    1. Category A Field Trips/Excursions.  Approved by the Principal prior to the trip.
    2. Category B Field Trips/Excursions.  Approved by the Principal a minimum of two (2) weeks prior to date of planning trip.
    3. Category C Field Trips/Excursions
      1. Preliminary approval by the Principal as soon as possible prior to date of planned trip; and
      2. Final approval must be received from the Superintendent as early as possible prior to the date of planned trip.
    4. Category D Field Trips/Excursions
      1. Preliminary approval by Principal as soon as possible prior to date of planned trip;
      2. Approval in principle must be received from the Superintendent as early as possible prior to the date of the planned trip; and
      3. Final approval from the Board a minimum of one (1) month prior to the date of the planned trip.
    5. The Superintendent may approve all trips and excursions of an emergent nature.
  8. Educational criteria - The Principal shall ensure:
    1. Field trips arise out of the regular school program.
    2. The requested field trips are of minimal interruption to regular instructional time.
    3. Field trips maintain educational purpose and value, and/or are in relation to curricular instruction.
    4. That students not participating in a field trip are accommodated in an appropriate manner by the school.
    5. That when a student is not in school as a result of participation in an approved field trip, that student is marked present for school.
    6. Students are expected to complete any work missed as a result of participation in an approved field trip.
    7. Students are informed that participation in all curricular field trips is expected.
  9. Access and Eligibility
    1. No student stall be denied participation on a field trip due to financial hardship; therefore principals may waive fees or costs when necessary.
    2. Students may participate in an off-site activity provided they are enrolled in a Northern Gateway school, and who are part of the class or group taking part in the activity.
    3. The Principal reserves the right to deny a student the opportunity to engage in a particular activity or field trip, if in the Principal’s opinion, the student’s skill level, maturity level or behavioral characteristics do not allow for adequate supervision.
  10. Parental Informed Consent
    1. No student shall be permitted to participate in any Division field trip unless the parent/guardian has been informed and, when required, a consent form has been fully completed, signed and dated by the parent or guardian and received by the school prior to the commencement of the trip.
    2. In the event that parents do not speak or understand English, special provisions must be made to inform parents of the details of the trip as listed below, and to attain their consent.
  11. 11Authorization and Approval Procedures
    1. Step 1:  The Lead Teacher completes Section A of Form 260-1 – Lead Teacher’s Off-Site Activities Approval Form, including the Risk Assessment portion, and presents it to the Principal for approval.
    2. Step 2:  The Principal, if approving the trip, will return the aforementioned form to the Lead Teacher in order for them to complete and use Section B “Lead Teacher Planning Guide for Off-Site Activities” as a guide.
    3. Step 3:  The Lead Teacher then arranges all aspects of the proposed field trip following the planning guide of Section B, and in strict adherence to this administrative procedure. The Lead Teacher also sends home the completed Parental Informed Consent/Permission Form (Form 260-2) requesting parental approval at this time.
    4. Step 4:  Once the trip is organized and Section B is completed, the Lead Teacher returns this form to the Principal for his/her final perusal and signature.
    5. Step 5:  The Lead Teacher proceeds with the field trip, reporting to the Principal at the conclusion of the trip.
  12. Field Trip Categories
    1. Category A: In-Community Field Trips
      1. Elementary – Grades 1 – 6
        • Each in-community trip must have prior approval by the Principal.
        • Activities categorized as “High Risk Activities”, as outlined in these administrative procedures, require a signed parental “Informed Consent/Permission Form.
        • In-community walking trips, other than those listed as “High Risk Activities”, do not require a parental “Informed Consent/Permission Form” for each trip. However, a description and location(s) of the activity, and the risks involved, must be provided to the parents through either a beginning year orientation session or through a course outline. Parents must also be advised of any changes in travel plans, dates or locations.
      2. Junior and Senior High – Grades 7 – 12
        • Each in-community field trip must have prior approval by the Principal.
        • All Junior and Senior High in-community field trips require a completed parental “Informed Consent/Permission Form”.
    2. Category A,B, C and D Field Trips
      1. School field trips may be approved by the Principal provided that:
        • The Principal is satisfied that the trip supports the ongoing educational program of the school.
        • If transportation in private vehicles is required, it is provided in accordance with Administrative Procedure 553 – Transportation in Private Vehicles”, and that employees possess a minimum of a class 4 license.
        • Adequate supervision of students has been arranged for both those students partaking in the trip and of any remaining behind in the school.
      2. No field trip shall be undertaken without prior authorization in writing from the:
        • Principal for Category A In-community and Category B In-province field trips. (Form 260-1).
        • Principal and Superintendent for both Category C and D out of province and overnight field trips. (Form 260-1).
    3. Category D: Field Trips and Excursions Outside of Alberta
      1. For national or international field trips, proposals shall be submitted to the Superintendent as early as possible prior to the date of the proposed trip.
      2. The Board reserves the right to impose any restrictions or conditions on international travel that it deems appropriate.
      3. In addition to other pertinent information, proposals to the Superintendent shall include details of all specifics as to educational purpose, itinerary, costs, sources of funds, parental involvement, transportation and supervision.
      4. Every field trip shall be under the direct supervision of a certificated teacher employed under contract with the Division.
      5. Each school, in consultation with the students’ parents, shall develop regulations with respect to planning, funding, supervision, scheduling and student participation on field trips.
  13. The Lead Teacher
    1. Plans and organizes the field trip;
    2. Arranges for field trip approval;
    3. Provides consent form and communicates particulars with parents, students and staff;
    4. Addresses supervision and safety issues to the satisfaction of the Principal, (Administrative Procedure 260 – Appendix A and Form 260-2);
    5. Ensures that all requisite field trip documentation Forms 260-1 and 260-2 are provided to the Principal prior to the start of the field trip;
    6. Shall be responsible for carrying a list of student participants including telephone contact numbers, medication and medialert needs; and
    7. Advises the Principal of any problems, accidents, unusual incidents or unsafe situations either during or as soon as possible after the conclusion of the field trip.
  14. Field Trips and Excursions
    1. Standard Field Trips & Excursions
      1. The lead teacher shall:
        • Require a fully completed Form 260-2 – “Parental Informed Consent/Permission Form” signed and dated by the parent and the student prior to departure;
        • Provide any of the following information that has not been addressed in the Parental Informed Consent Form;
      2. The lead teacher shall provide parents with information concerning:
        • The purpose and destination of the trip proposed cost to the student;
        • Transportation, accommodation and eating arrangements;
        • Date and time of departure and estimated time of return;
        • Arrangements for supervision;
        • A detailed proposed itinerary;
        • The name of the lead teacher and a telephone contact number as well as a cell phone contact for the trip if available;
        • Any unusual factors such as rigorous physical activity, water-related activities or water sports.
        • Any inherent risks and consequences associated with the activity, (inherent risk refers to the hazard, danger, chance of injury, damage or loss that exists in something as a natural and inseparable quality or characteristic of that activity);
        • Safety precautions for dealing with risk situations;
        • The need for any special equipment, clothing or personal items;
        • A reminder that parents or guardians must inform the lead teacher about any relevant medical conditions of the student (such as food allergies);
        • Emergency procedures to be followed in the event of injury, illness or unusual circumstances; and
        • Any other relevant information about the activity, which may influence the parent or guardian’s decision to withhold permission (e.g. a controversial museum exhibit). Please reference: “Opt Out” under “Definitions” of this administrative procedure.
    2. Repeating Classroom/Curricular Trips and Excursions
      1. In-community walking trips
        1. All “High Risk Activities”, such as ice skating or swimming, require a signed parental informed consent form prior to student participation in the activity. (refer to #24) However, one (1) signed form may be used to cover all trips associated with the repeating activity provided parents are informed of:
          • Risks involved (travel to and from, and during the activity);
          • A description of the activity(s);
          • The location(s) of the activity;
          • The schedule of prospective dates;
          • Travel and supervision arrangements;
          • Special equipment or clothing required; and
          • The expected responsibilities of the student.
        2. Non “High Risk Activities” may be addressed through either a course outline or a general letter addressed to parents. The information listed above must be included in the outline or letter.
          • Note: To be prudent, parent signatures of informed consent are to be attained for all activities off school property.
      2. In-community trips requiring transportation
        1. Parents must sign a “Parental Informed Consent/Permission form – Form 260-2” for all trips requiring transportation.
        2. Form 260-2 – “Parental Informed Consent/Permission Form” may be used as a repetitive activity permission form, however an attachment will be required in order to provide all pertinent information not indicated in Form 260-2.
        3. The Principal shall determine the need and, if required, make arrangements for a parent meeting to provide additional information about a specific field trip.
        4. The onus lies with the Principal to ensure that parents are notified and approve of any changes in travel plans, or dates and locations of any such event or activity.
    3. Extra-Curricular Season Sports Trips – i.e. Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton, etc.
      1. Participation in any Extra-Curricular sport requires signed informed consent and approval by both the parent and student prior to participation in the activity or associated trip.
      2. Form 260-2 – “Parental Informed Consent/Permission Form” may be used as a repetitive activity permission form, however an attachment must be included providing all pertinent information such as game dates, times and locations, as well as departure and arrival times.
      3. When not using “Form 260-2 – Parental Informed Consent/ Permission Form” as a seasonal or repeating activity permission form parents must indicate their consent and approval in writing, be given an opportunity to opt out, and be provided the following information:
        • Risks involved (travel to and from, and during the activity);
        • A description of the activity(s);
        • The location(s) of the activity;
        • The schedule of prospective dates;
        • Travel and supervision arrangements;
        • Special equipment or clothing required; and
        1. The expected responsibilities of the student.
      4. The Principal shall determine the need and, if required, make arrangements for a parent meeting to provide additional information about a specific field trip.
      5. The onus lies with the Principal to ensure that parents are notified and approve of any changes in travel plans, or dates and locations of any such event or activity.
    4. Outdoor Education Trips
      • Parents must be provided with all pertinent information as outlined under the Standard Field Trips and Excursions section of these administrative procedures.
  15. Third Party Waivers
    1. Northern Gateway Public Schools realizes that Third Party Waivers, for activities such as skiing or wall climbing, are often required. The student or the parent/ guardian may sign these waivers. However, it is to be noted that anyone under the age of eighteen (18) cannot waive their rights, nor can a parent/guardian waive the rights of their child/ charge. Therefore, it is imperative that all possible risks associated with the activity are listed and attached to the Northern Gateway Parental Informed Consent/Permission Form 260-2 prior to the trip.
  16. Supervisors and Volunteers
    1. All designated supervisors accompanying students on field trips must be advised by the lead teacher as to the nature and requirements of the field trip and their responsibilities prior to departure.
    2. Students must be supervised during the course of the field trip as recommended by the current Safety Guidelines for Physical Activity in Alberta Schools. If the activity is not detailed in the Safety Guidelines, then the Principal shall specify acceptable supervision arrangements.
    3. The Lead Teacher must ensure that same gender supervisors accompany each group on overnight field trips.
    4. For high-risk activities, qualified instruction and supervision in these activities are mandatory. Qualification and competence may be established by virtue of a certificate from a government body for an activity, or where certificates are not issued, qualification and competence may be that recognized by virtue of  experience and demonstrated expertise in the activity.
    5. All supervisors and volunteers are responsible to the lead teacher in charge of the field trip and shall be briefed on their duties prior to the start of the field trip.
  17. Safety (See Administrative Procedure 260 – Appendix A)
    1. Off site activities must take place within a context of:
      1. Attention to the safety and security of students;
      2. Attention to risk assessment of off-site activities; and
      3. Safety and legal protection of students, staff, volunteers and the Division.
    2. An appropriately equipped portable first aid kit must be accessible.
    3. The standards set out in the current Safety Guidelines for Physical Activity in Alberta Schools must be met or exceeded for all offsite activities for which standards are provided.
  18. Transportation
    1. Students shall not, under any circumstances, be used as drivers on field trips.
    2. Students may drive themselves to and from an off-site activity provided the Principal has written permission from the parent or guardian acknowledging that the student will be driving to this off-site activity.
    3. The Principal shall ensure that forms 553 – 1 “Parental Guardian Consent Form” and 553-2 “Transportation in Private Vehicles Application Form” are completed prior to any trip requiring transportation in private vehicles.
    4. Transportation of Students in Private Vehicles: Reference: Administrative Procedure 553 – Transportation in Private Vehicles.
  19. Costs
    1. The Principal shall reference Administrative Procedure 505 – Student Curricular Fee’s and Administrative Procedure 506 – Student Extra-Curricular Fees.
  20. Insurance
    1. The Principal shall reference Administrative Procedure 553 – Transportation in Private Vehicles”
  21. Division Policies and Procedures
    1. All Division policies and procedures are deemed to be in effect during field trips.
  22. Responsibility of Participants, Volunteers and Supervisors
    1. All participants, volunteers and supervisors will be expected to act in a manner consistent with the rules and standards of conduct at their schools and in accordance with Northern Gateway policy and procedures and the School Act.
  23. Prohibited Activities
    1. Unless specifically approved by the Superintendent, participation in the following activities is prohibited on Division property, as a school-organized activity, and as an off-site activity:
      • Aerial gymnastics;
      • Automobiles-racing, drag racing; motor cross, motorcycling, snowmobile, off road all terrain vehicles;
      • Aviation-small aircraft, helicopters, hot air balloon rides, skydiving;
      • Boxing;
      • Bungee jumping;
      • Chuck wagon races;
      • Demolition derbies;
      • Dunk tanks;
      • Gladiator-style activities;
      • Luge;
      • Mechanical bulls;
      • Mountain climbing-ice climbing, deep caving, rappelling/appelling, rock climbing;
      • Open water scuba diving;
      • Paint Ball games;
      • Pole vaulting;
      • Personal watercraft/, motorized watercraft;
      • Rodeos;
      • Trampoline; and
      • White water rafting.
  24. High Risk Activities
    1. The following are classified as high risk activities and must be conducted in accordance with the guidelines outlined in sections 12 and 15 of these administrative procedures, and as outlined in Administrative Procedure 260 – Appendix.
      • Archery;
      • Broomball (ice);
      • Canoeing in moving water in excess of grade 1;
      • Cheerleading, (acrobatic);
      • Cycling/mountain biking;
      • Fencing;
      • Field Hockey;
      • Floor Hockey;
      • Firearm courses – rifle ranges;
      • Gymnastics;
      • Hunter Training;
      • Ice Skating;
      • Ice Hockey;
      • Lacrosse (field, box);
      • Roller blading/inline skating;
      • Rope courses-high and low;
      • Sailing;
      • Scuba in a swimming pool;
      • Skateboarding/skateboarding parks;
      • Skiing(alpine)/snowboarding;
      • Swimming;
      • Synchronized swimming;
      • Track and field-field events; javelin,
      • Shot-put, discus, high jump;
      • Tobogganing;
      • Triathlon;
      • Wall climbing;
      • Water polo;
      • Weightlifting;
      • Wrestling.

References:

Sections 1, 18, 20, 45, 60, 61, 113 School Act

Traffic Safety Act

Safety Guidelines for Physical Activity in Alberta Schools

Safety Guidelines for Secondary Inter-School Athletics in Alberta

Physical Education Safety Guidelines

Board Policy 2 Role of the Board

Board Policy 12 Role of the Superintendent

 

Revised July 2010