The information contained below includes the requirements that are documented in Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 6153 School-Sponsored Trips, plus additional details including links to the referenced forms.
Education Code Section 35330 mandates that no student shall be prevented from participating in a trip because of a lack of sufficient funds, and includes additional Ed Code regulations related to School Sponsored Trips.
Under Federal and State law, students with disabilities should have equal access to field trips.
Requirements Related to COVID-19
- Field trips (day or overnight) are allowed under the following conditions:
- All elements of a field trip must be in accordance with SFUSD COVID-19 protocols and the guidance and requirements provided by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the California Department of Education. Staff, students and volunteers must be able to comply with all protocols and safety standards while engaging in a field trip’s activities for the trip to occur.
- If a field trip is taken outside the City and County of San Francisco, SFUSD COVID-19 protocols and San Francisco Department of Public Health standards will apply. If the jurisdiction being visited has additional, more strict requirements, those requirements will be followed.
- Students who share sleeping quarters for an overnight field trip shall be considered a "household cohort." Household cohort members, regardless of vaccination status, do not need to wear masks when they are together without non-household cohort members nearby. If different "household cohorts" are using shared indoor space when together during the day or night, continue to strongly recommend mask use, and healthy hygiene behaviors for everyone.
- It is strongly recommended that all students and staff utilize the site school testing resources and drop off a self swab molecular test kit at school at least 48 hours before departure on an overnight field trip. In addition, staff shall bring a supply of rapid test kits in the event that a student or staff manifests symptoms during the trip. Students or staff who develop symptoms during a trip should be moved to a separate room.
- All chaperones, drivers or other volunteers that will provide in-person support for field trips must provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. “Fully vaccinated” means that at least 2 weeks have passed since the individual received (i) their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or (ii) their single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “Proof of vaccination” may be submitted by providing a copy or photograph of the individual's CDC vaccination card, or a copy or photograph of the individual’s CA Digital Covid-19 Vaccine Record. The definition of “fully vaccinated” is subject to change according to evolving health guidance (i.e., on issues such as booster shots).
To the extent that there is a conflict between these Covid19 specific requirements and the general field trip requirements below, the Covid19 specific requirements shall apply.
- Students on school-sponsored trips are under the jurisdiction of the District and shall be subject to District and school rules and regulations.
- All field trips must be supervised by at least one certificated District employee including athletic field trips. The certificated employee is responsible for making the necessary field trip arrangements required by District regulations and guidelines, and must have completed the online training for field trips prior to approval of a field trip.
- Ratio of adults to students shall be adequate to the activities undertaken, age of the students, and specific requirements of the trip. Overnight trips comprised of mixed gender student groups require chaperones comprised of more than one gender.
- With the approval of the supervising teacher, volunteers may chaperone students on field trips if they have complied with all District requirements pertaining to the chaperoning of students. Chaperones must meet the following requirements:
- Be responsible adults at least 21 years of age and must be familiar with SFUSD policy before attending the field trip.
- All parent/guardian chaperones must complete a Megan’s Law clearance prior to the trip.
- Non-staff and non-parent/guardian chaperones must go through a criminal background check arranged through SFUSD prior to the field trip. This includes all coaches. See www.meetme.so/sfusd.
- Chaperones may not bring siblings or any other children who are not in the class or school taking the trip.
- Ensure that no adults or students smoke or consume alcohol or controlled substances on the field trip.
- Other responsibilities shall be determined by staff. All chaperones shall be informed of these supervisory responsibilities prior to the field trip.
All adults taking out-of-state field trips or excursions and all parents or guardians of students taking out-of-state field trips or excursions shall sign a statement waiving all claims.
Parent Consent Form
Before a student can participate in a field trip, the teacher shall obtain a signed permission form from the student’s parent/guardian (Day Trips, Overnight Trips, and Walking Trips ). Whenever a trip involves water activities, the consent form shall clearly describe the water activity and require parent/guardian to initial and/or sign next to the notification granting specific permission for their child to participate in the water activities. The District shall provide an alternative educational experience for students whose parents/guardians do not wish them to participate in a trip or do not return the completed permission form.
In order to maximize student opportunity and access to field trips, the site administrator may permit students to attend field trips based on verbal consent from the parent/guardian if the following criteria have been met:
- A field trip form was sent home in advance of the trip, but the parent/guardian failed to return the signed field trip form.
- A school employee attempted to contact the parent/guardian by phone, text or email prior to the date of the field trip to remind them to sign and return the form, and noted this contact in the student record.
- On the date of the trip, two school employees are able to speak to the parent/guardian on speakerphone to (i) describe the location and activities of the field trip and (ii) obtain verbal consent from the parent/guardian for their child to attend the trip. The time, date, phone number, and name of parent/guardian who gave consent must be recorded in the student record/Synergy, with names of both employee witnesses included in the record.
- Verbal consent may not be used for overnight field trips or for field trips involving swimming or other water activities.
Waiver of All Claims
All persons making the field trip or excursion shall be deemed to have waived all claims against the District or the State of California for injury, accident, illness, or death occurring during or by reason of the field trip or excursion. This waiver is valid regardless of the manner of obtaining parent consent.
All school sponsored field trips requiring a school bus or other bus services shall coordinate with the Transportation Department and shall use school District approved school/chartered bus services. Students may not be transported on unapproved charter vendors. This includes third parties making arrangements on behalf of the district.
The Superintendent or designee may authorize the transportation of students by private vehicle subject to the following guidelines:
- Drivers of private vehicles must complete the volunteer driver form and submit the required documentation, be age 21 or older, and possess a valid driver’s license. The vehicle must be in proper working order and meet all applicable safety standards, and have current registration with the DMV.
- All drivers must maintain liability insurance of at least $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury, $100,000 for property damage, and $100,000/$300,000 for uninsured motorist coverage. SFUSD does not carry insurance on private vehicles. The registered owner and his/her insurance have primary responsibility for any accidents and/or injury which may occur.
- The number of passengers, including the driver, shall not exceed the capacity for which the vehicle was designed, and should not in any case exceed 8 (7 passengers and driver).
- There must be a minimum of two students transported per private vehicle.
- The driver or any other person shall not smoke or have in his/her immediate possession a lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, e-cigarette, etc. when there is a minor in the vehicle.
- All drivers shall wear safety belts and shall ensure that all passengers are properly secured in seat belts or child passenger restraint systems in accordance with law.
Rental vehicles may be used with the same requirements as above.
Uber and Lyft are acceptable forms of field trip transportation as long as the students are chaperoned in the vehicles and it is made clear on the parent permission form that this is the method of transportation.
Public transportation may be used. As with any mode of transportation be sure to make this clear on the parent permission form.
Health and Safety
Students shall not be excluded on the basis of requiring medication or health services during a field trip, and such services must be coordinated ahead of time.
- Lead trip staff shall develop a plan for identifying, securing and dispensing any medications consistent with physicians’ instructions and Administrative Regulation 5141.21.
- Lead trip staff should reach out to the Nurse of the Day at least six weeks prior to the anticipated date to offer the field trip to students to ensure that any necessary health services are in place for any student that requires them before the trip is offered to the class or submitted for approval (see SFUSD Field Trip Planning Guide). If at the last minute, there is no coverage for Specialized Health Services, the trip may need to be rescheduled.
- While conducting a trip, the teacher, employee, or agent of the school shall have the school's first aid kit in their possession or immediately available.
- Whenever trips are conducted in areas known to be infested with poisonous snakes, the first aid kit taken on the trip shall contain medically accepted snakebite remedies. In addition, a teacher, employee, or agent of the school who has completed a first aid course which is certified by the American Red Cross and which emphasizes the treatment of snakebites shall participate in the trip.
- The District shall provide or make available medical and/or hospital insurance for students injured while participating in any excursion or field trip (see Student Injury and Incident Reporting).
- Lifeguards are required for all swimming activities. The number of chaperones shall take into account additional safety considerations for swimming activities. If the activity is in a private pool, the owner of the pool shall provide a certificate of insurance, designating the District as an additional insured, for not less than $500,000 in liability coverage.
- The field trip chaperone shall ensure that signed field trip forms with parent contact information and medical information are brought on the field trip and subsequently maintained in a central school record after the trip.
Transgender and Non-Binary Student Accommodations
- Work on a case by case basis.
- School site or primary teacher-contact needs to follow up with the student and family (if possible) to identify which accommodation makes the student the most comfortable and feel the safest.
- A Student's accommodation is not further communicated by district staff or shared with other families or students, beyond those students whom the accommodations will be shared.
- Non-binary staff are welcomed to chaperone but not required for field trips including non-binary students.
- As many of our trans and non-binary students range in level of comfort and needs, we work to center what is best/needed by the student and their family.
School-Sponsored Field Trip Approval Process
The certificated staff member supervising the trip is responsible for completing and collecting all required forms and documentation.
The Site Administrator is responsible for:
- Ensuring the requirements of this Administrative Regulation are followed;
- Reviewing the forms and documentation prior to the commencement of the field trip;
- Approving the field trip; and
- Maintaining the Parent Consent Form and/or documentation of Verbal Consent for at least three (3) school years.
For overnight, out-of-state, and international field trips, upon approval of the field trip, the Site Administrator or designee shall forward the required documentation to their respective Assistant Superintendent’s office for approval. Upon approval by the Assistant Superintendent, the documents shall be forwarded to Risk Management for final approval. Any health related services that require an agency or school district nurse support must be forwarded by the Site Administrator to Nurse of the Day in the Student and Family Services Division prior to submitting the field trip approval request.
Approval from the Board of Education is required for out-of-state and international field trips.
Approval, Compliance, and Additional Resources
Day Field Trips
- Use to cancel unneeded lunches and to order bag lunches.
Overnight/Out-of-State Field Trips
- BP 3312.2 Educational Travel Program Contracts)
Contact email@example.com to have the online training module for overnight field trips assigned if you haven't completed it within the past two years.
Before you begin to make plans for your trip, provide Legal (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an overview of your trip. It is highly encouraged that staff planning an international field trip utilize a seller of educational travel services for their trip. You will need to ensure that the package you purchase includes International Travel Medical Insurance and Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance. If an educational travel company is not utilized, International Travel Medical Insurance and Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance are still required. Ensure all recommended vaccinations are up to date, and that the given country’s entry requirements, e.g., visas, are planned for.
Travel to areas on the State Department’s Level 4: Do Not Travel list is prohibited.
If a field trip destination agreement/contract requires an insurance certificate, send a copy of the contract/agreement to email@example.com. It can take up to three days to receive a COI from the District’s insurance provider. Don’t delay.
Experiential Field Trip Resources and Forms
A Wilderness Curriculum for the Get Out and Learn Program can be downloaded here that can be used as Field Manual that can be used as a model for an experiential trip.
Use this link for additional documents/materials that should be brought on the field trip.
In case of emergency you should have an emergency response plan prepared for any trip prior to leaving. It should also be discussed with all chaperones, copied to your site administrator, and attached to any request for approval. A Field Based – Critical Incident Call Guide can be found here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance.
The emergency response plan should also include contingency telephone availability in the event you are taken out of cell phone range. For instance, make note of the closest landline to your destination, and try to note where cell phone coverage is/not available.
Non-school-sponsored travel includes trips that are organized and promoted by an outside organization whether or not the trip is of an educational value or is somehow connected to a particular course of study. This includes trips that are organized by organizations that may be affiliated with the District (i.e. parent organizations, cultural groups, etc.). The District assumes no legal or financial responsibility for non-District-sponsored travel.
Parents/guardians and students are to be clearly informed, in writing, that:
The trip is not school sponsored;
- The District is not providing any resources for the trip;
- The District is not providing any supervision for the trip; and
- The District assumes no risk, liability or responsibility whatsoever related to or in any way connected to this activity or the acts or omissions of any individual associated with the activity or during the activity.
A District pre-approved form letter, which details these limitations and requirements, may be used to satisfy these requirements.
The following activities are prohibited:
- Use of the District's name in promotion of a trip that is not District sponsored.
- Employees' use of paid or instructional time to organize or conduct non-District-sponsored travel. For example, planning, promotion, or fundraising for such trips may not take place at school unless the facilities are rented in accordance with District facility use policies pertaining to use by outside organizations.
- Use of District communication sources, supplies, or equipment to plan, promote or conduct such trips.
Any employee of the District who attends a non-District-sponsored trip does so voluntarily and is not acting as an employee of the District. No insurance coverage will be provided by the District.
Travel on Weekends, Holidays and During Summer Recess
Absent a compelling exception, field trips shall occur during the school week and during the instructional year. In most circumstances, travel that occurs during the summer recess is not a school-sponsored Field Trip. Site Administrators who believe a particular trip should be considered a school-sponsored field trip as defined by this Administrative Regulation and the accompanying Board Policy, shall seek the permission of the Assistant Superintendent before organizing a trip on a weekend, holiday or during summer recess.
Trips that include graduated students are deemed non-District-sponsored travel.
This page was last updated on September 15, 2023