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Student Field Trips

Risk Management Guide for Faculty and Staff

A field trip is an off-campus educational/instructional experience provided by Loyola faculty/staff to our students which normally involves travel for the group. A trip to an art museum for art students could be considered a Loyola student field trip, but a social gathering or trip without educational purpose would not normally be considered a field trip.

There are a number of steps you may need to consider in planning a trip:

  • Identify any special requirements for participation on the trip -- special skills, fitness, or certification -- as well as any specific hazards or dangers on the trip or at the site that might affect the health and safety of the participants.
  • Obtain departmental approval and support.
  • Ask students to advise you of any special disabilities, problems or needs that may need to be accommodated.
  • If necessary, obtain signed waiver forms for all students participating (parents must sign for minors).
  • Consider the need for special clothing or equipment due to weather or other conditions.
  • Determine transportation needs -- reservation of vehicles, authorization of drivers
  • Plan for emergencies -- theft, illness, vehicle emergency, weather delays, student misconduct or threats to the safety of others. Obtain and share emergency contact information. Bring a cell phone and first aid kit if available. It may also be a good idea to have someone in the group familiar with first aid and/or CPR.
  • If the trip is outside the continental U.S., consult with the Center for International Education (504 864-7550) for additional information. This guide is directed at domestic trips and not education abroad activities. For more information about education abroad see Education and Travel Abroad.
  • A roster naming all trip participants must be kept on file in the sponsoring department's office for a period of two years for auditing purposes.

University owned, rented or hired vehicles are preferred for use on field trips. See Vehicle Use + Driver Authorization for more information on Loyola’s vehicle use and driver authorization policies.

Determine the route, stops, timetables, and assign drivers well ahead of time. You should have a system for communicating and obtaining student counts. Make sure you have an adequate number of drivers for longer trips to allow sufficient rest for drivers. At least 2-4 people should be designated as drivers per vehicle, especially if the trip is of considerable distance and if using 12-passenger vans. This provides adequate support to drivers should a primary driver become ill, injured, or tired. Students can be approved to drive University vehicles for field trips, provided they meet the University requirements.

Communicate information to students in advance about schedules, departure locations, route, rest and meal stops, lodging, emergency procedures, the protocol for problems, and rules of conduct.

Familiarize students with the destination sites and their surroundings. Loyola University faculty/staff have a duty to warn students of any known hazards at a field trip site. University employees must exercise reasonable care to protect and supervise students while they are participating in a field trip conducted by the University.

Faculty, staff, and students must comply with University policies while on field trips just as they would on campus.

The instructional activities and setting during the trip should conform with the University's policies including but not limited to those concerning alcohol and drug use, vehicle use, student misconduct, smoking, principles of academic freedom, policies related to harassment and discrimination.

The University carries liability insurance to cover its operations and employees. In most cases liability of a faculty or staff member associated with conducting a University-sponsored field trip, for acts that fall within that individual's normal job responsibility, would be covered by Loyola’s general liability insurance.

The University’s coverage will typically defend and indemnify a University employee for claims arising from his/her negligent act or omission while acting within the scope of employment. Intentionally harmful acts are not within the scope of employment and are not covered.

Faculty and staff may 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 a 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.

Report incidents or accidents during a field trip to your department head or Dean and Risk Management as soon as possible, but at least within 48 hours of the incident.

If anyone is injured, seek appropriate medical attention and report the injury to Risk Management as quickly as possible. If a student is injured while on a trip, they should be advised to procure and pay for necessary treatment. Students are required to carry personal health insurance to help cover such expenses. 

Employees who are injured in the course of their employment are covered under workers' compensation. Contact Risk Management to report an injury or for more information. Also, see Human Resources Manual for more information.

For extended trips, international trips, or trips requiring any special physical skills or fitness level, the University strongly recommends requiring students to have health insurance or a medical care plan.

Student Field Trip Information form (pdf or webForm- University faculty/staff conducting field trips must complete this form and submit a copy of it to the Office of Risk Management prior to departure. This form is required for all field trips.

Student Field Trip Roster (pdf or .xlsx) - A roster naming all trip participants must be kept on file in the sponsoring department's office for a period of two years for auditing purposes. Use this sample form if helpful. A roster is required for all field trips. This form should be submitted to the Risk Management Office along with the Student Field Trip Information Form (above) for all trips.

Liability Waivers/Permission Forms - Hazardous optional activities may require liability waivers. Minors need parental permission to participate. Contact Risk Management (504 865-3141) for information on the development and use of such forms.

Questions? Email John Cain or call 865-3141.