Field Trips and Other Student Travel

The School Committee recognizes the educational value of school-sponsored trips as a means of extending the curriculum and as a vehicle for encouraging and supporting student participation in academic, artistic, and athletic activities, performances and competitions. In addition, some school-sponsored trips may provide social experiences and contribute to the development of a positive school culture. 

This policy provides guidance for the various kinds of trips that may be sponsored by the Yarmouth School Department.

Field Trips

“Field trip” means a trip that takes place during the school day and is organized and conducted by one or more Yarmouth School Department employees as a means of accomplishing particular curriculum objectives. All students within the class or grade, or curriculum related subgroup within a class, will be eligible to participate.

Field trips must be approved in advance by the building Principal with subsequent endorsements by both the Director of Business Services and Director of Transportation.

Teachers and principals will be expected to consider the following factors in planning and approval of field trips:

  1. Objectives of the proposed trip and the anticipated learning outcomes;

  2. Specific learning activities to be experienced during the trip;

  3. Suitability of the activity and distance traveled to the age of students;

  4. Mode and availability of transportation, with school bus transportation arranged so as not to disrupt school bus schedules;

  5. Arrangements for meals (if applicable);

  6. Availability of funding for all necessary expenses through the school budget or other appropriate sources.

In addition the School Committee requires that:

  1. Parents/guardians give written permission for field trip participation;

  2. Adequate supervision be provided to maintain discipline and safety and to respond to emergencies; and

  3. Students participating in field trips conduct themselves in a manner consistent with School Committee policies and school rules.

  4. Any overnight curriculum-related trip must be approved by the School Committee.

Competition Trips

“Competition trip” means any trip related to an academic, artistic, athletic, or other student competition or performance that involves individual students or teams. Any competition trip that is outside of those scheduled for the year or that is either part of playoffs or a state championship must be approved in advance by the Superintendent. Approval may be contingent upon availability of funding through the school budget or other sources.

Other School-Sponsored Trips

Other school-sponsored trips are those that are organized and conducted by one or more employees of the Yarmouth School Department as a supplement to the curriculum, as a class social activity, or as an activity planned by a student club or organization. Such trips may include overnight, long-distance in-state or out-of-state travel, or foreign travel. To be school-sponsored, the trip must relate directly to the curriculum or to activities for which the student club is organized.

Participation in such trips is entirely voluntary. There shall be no extra credit awarded for participation and no loss of credit for not taking a trip.

Participation may be limited to students taking courses related to the purpose of the trip or to students who are affiliated with the student club or organization planning the trip.

The Superintendent must approve, in advance, any trips involving out-of state travel.  The School Committee must approve, in advance, all overnight and foreign trips. Approval may be contingent upon availability of funding from the school budget and other sources, including student fundraising. Once a trip is endorsed by the School Committee, the Superintendent may approve changes in itinerary as long as there is no substantive change in the fundamental nature of the activity and proper supervision and safety is maintained.

As appropriate, staff or administrators seeking approval for school-sponsored trips must furnish the following information:

  1. Objectives of the trip and anticipated outcomes;

  2. Specific experiences to be provided;

  3. Number and grade(s) of students;

  4. Criteria for student participation;

  5. Maximum number of students who may participate;

  6. Cost per student, including funds requested from the Yarmouth School Department and from individual students;

  7. Fundraising plans (if applicable);

  8. Transportation arrangements;

  9. Itinerary;

  10. Arrangements for meals and lodging;

  11. Arrangements for adult supervision/chaperons;

  12. Plans for safety and emergencies;

  13. Plans for communicating information to parents and obtaining parental permission; and

  14. Accountability for student conduct. 

Adequate supervision must be provided to maintain discipline and safety and to respond to emergencies.

Students participating in field trips and other school-sponsored trips must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with School Committee policies and school rules. Students who violate School Committee policy or school rules will be subject to disciplinary consequences.

Non-School-Sponsored Travel

Travel organized by Yarmouth School Department employees, parents or others that has not been approved as a school-sponsored trip in compliance with this policy will be considered a non-school-sponsored trip.

All responsibility for non-school-sponsored trips lies with the individual(s) or group(s) organizing them. The School Committee accepts no responsibility for non-school-sponsored trips, and organizers should be aware that such trips or excursions are not covered by the district’s liability insurance.

To minimize the impact of these trips on the instructional program and operation of the schools, the School Committee strongly encourages organizers/sponsors to schedule non-school-sponsored trips during weekends and/or vacation periods. Staff members planning or participating in non-school-sponsored travel must notify the building principal of such plans. Student absences due to participation in non-school sponsored travel will be considered unexcused absences. Staff members may not miss school or disregard any of their professional duties as a result of sponsoring such a trip.

Instructional time may not be used to promote the trip or distribute materials. Individuals or groups who wish to use the schools for the purpose of publicizing trips or recruiting participants and parents/chaperones may do so in accordance with the School Committee’s facilities use policy. Individuals or groups wishing to distribute promotional materials may do so only in accordance with School Committee policy. Non-school-sponsored trips must not be represented as school functions or as related to, or an extension of, the district’s instructional, co-curricular or extracurricular programs.

It is the responsibility of any staff engaging in such trips or activities to notify the parents of prospective and participating students that this is not a school activity, but an independent voluntary trip organized or lead by that teacher or staff member. To minimize any risk of misunderstanding, the following statement must be made in any informational meetings or materials promoting the trip:

“This trip is not approved or sponsored by the School Committee or Yarmouth School Department. It has not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by authorized Yarmouth School Department administrators and it is not covered by any of the Yarmouth School Department’s insurance policies.”

Cross Reference: 
EEAG - Use of Private Vehicles or School Buses
KHB – Advertising in the Schools
KHC - Distribution/Posting of Non-School Materials
JEA – Compulsory Attendance
JEAA – Student Attendance
IJOA-E – Overnight Field Trip Permission Form
Approved: March 10, 2011
Revised:  May 14, 2015