Supervision for Off-site Activities
Presence of Teacher
- Teacher must accompany students to the site and remain on-site during instruction if a person other than the teacher is conducting the activity.
- Same-sex chaperones must accompany overnight trips. Both male and female chaperones must accompany mixed groups for overnight trips.
- Teacher should implement a night check system.
Instructional Considerations for Off-site Activities
- Attendance should be taken before and after each activity session.
- Teachers should instruct students to use a buddy system when appropriate.
- Teacher should be aware of students with a history of medical ailments, e.g., asthma, seizures, heart conditions, and severe allergies.
- Emergency procedures must be established and communicated to students (see Appendix D).
- Teacher should have access to a phone and know the facility address in case of emergency.
- Emergency communication system should be in place when at remote sites.
- Vehicle for emergency purposes should be accessible.
- A trained individual responsible for providing first aid to injured students should be present during the entire activity.
- A supervisor should be designated to transport an injured student to the hospital e.g., teacher or parent. This should not be the supervisor in charge of the trip.
Communication with Parents/Guardians
- Parents/guardians must be notified of any off-site activity and means of transportation.
- Consideration must also be given to informing parents of activities which take students off the immediate school property, where transportation is not required, e.g., cross-country running. Refer to individual school board policy and field trip procedures regarding the need for parent/guardian consent (use Appendix A).
- Parents must be made aware of the mode of transportation.
- Parents should be made aware of student expectations.
- The means and frequency of communication required should be established with the school principal.
- A signed parent/guardian acknowledgment/permission form must be received from each participant. The form should contain details of the activity, its inherent risks and the level of supervision that will be provided. Students who do not return signed forms should remain in the school with appropriate supervision in an alternative assignment.
Transportation To and From Off-site Activities
Many different situations may arise involving the transportation of students for activities away from the school. Injuries can occur while traveling to, from or between activity sites.
- Teachers should be aware of school board policy regarding transportation.
- It is important that parents are made aware of the mode of transportation and student expectations.
Transportation by Walking or Bicycling
- When walking/biking students to or from an off-site venue, a policy should be developed to ensure all students are properly supervised and instruction related to road safety is provided.
Transportation by Motor Vehicle
School or Board Vehicles
- Schools or school boards wishing to own and operate a vehicle with a capacity of 11 or more passengers (including the driver) must comply with provincial regulations regarding the operation of commercial vehicles. Schools or boards should refer to information prepared by the Carrier Services Section of Alberta Transportation such as Transportation Compliance in Alberta available at http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/Content/docType276/Production/transcomp.pdf.
- For out of town trips, a list of each student in each vehicle, drivers’ names and license plate numbers of the vehicles should be left at the school and a copy of the list should accompany adults on the trip.
- Check with school authority policy regarding the transportation of students.
- To ensure that the insurable risks are appropriately covered by the school board’s and/or driver’s insurance company, the following checklist should be completed prior to departure:
- When securing a vehicle or chartered public transport, check that the employer has third party vehicle liability insurance covering the intended drivers.
- Teachers/volunteers, parents or students should not transport other passengers on school-related trips unless they carry at least $1 million vehicle liability. Drivers should notify their insurance agents of their intention to transport students, especially if the driving is to be done on a regular basis.
Licensing of Driver
- Ensure drivers are appropriately licensed for the vehicle(s) and number of passengers involved.
Condition of Vehicle
- Ensure the vehicle has been checked for appropriate operating condition, e.g., lights, tires, brakes, and fluids.
- Ensure proper storage of gear within vehicle.
Procedures during Travel
- If a number of vehicles are being used, make sure each driver has a road or sketch map and time schedule of the intended rendezvous point(s).
- Ensure that participants are properly seated in the vehicle and seat belts are used when available. Ensure all rules as set out in current provincial legislation are adhered to.
- Establish and maintain safety procedures for all vehicles, including safety education, loading and unloading, seating supervision and emergency procedures.
- Establish and maintain procedures for students using their own vehicles to attend physical education or interscholastic activities, and parents driving students to various activities.
- For winter use, be confident that the vehicle will start in cold weather or establish a backup plan.
- Check for winter driving conditions and check that proposed winter travel routes are plowed on a regular basis or that you can have them cleared for your purposes.
- Park well out of the way of through traffic and back into parking spots. This reduces the likelihood of becoming trapped or stuck due to snow or muddy conditions.
- See sample Transportation Policy Form (Appendix N).
Equipment/Facilities for Off-site Activities
- Teacher should ensure that commercial or other facilities that are used conform to safety standards and are free from hazards.
- Concerns about potentially dangerous situations should be reported to appropriate authorities.
- When activities are offered off-site, an appropriate portable first aid kit must be readily accessible.