Policies/Reports » Field Trip and Outdoor Education Policy

Field Trip and Outdoor Education Policy

Clear Water Academy (CWA) recognizes that learning experiences gained outside the school can complement and enhance classroom instruction and can provide a supplementary means for accomplishing both general and specific curriculum objectives. This procedure is to ensure that these learning experiences are provided to students in a safe and secure manner, while following the School Act and Alberta Learning Regulations and the recommendations of our legal advisor and our insurance carrier. 
 
Procedures 
 
1. These procedures apply to all school sanctioned activities of a co-curricular or extra-curricular nature in which students are off the school site. 
 
2. Off-site activities must relate to the educational process, be connected to the Guide to Education, Program of Studies, curriculum and learning outcomes and must take place within a context of attention to the safety and security of students, to risk assessment of the activities, and to protection of students, staff, parents, and other volunteers.
 
3. The principal and/or assistant principal shall ensure adequate preparation and supervision for all off-site activities. Such supervision shall always include teachers, or a qualified staff member. A principal and/or assistant principal may authorize persons other than teachers to provide additional supervision or instruction when warranted by the nature of the specific activity. 

  • A teacher-in-charge, or a qualified staff member, must always be in place to provide oversight and planning.
  • The teacher-in-charge, or a qualified staff member, must ensure that the activity is conducted in accordance with the approved plan and that supervision is available at all times and that assistant supervisors are prepared to deal with any emergencies that may arise.  
  • The supervisory arrangements will depend on the age, maturity, needs and ability levels of the students; the inherent risk of the activity and the circumstances of the particular activity.  
  • For high-risk activities, competent instruction and supervision in these activities are mandatory. Competence may be established by virtue of a certificate from a governing body for an activity, or where certificates are not issued, competence may be that recognized by virtue of experience and demonstrated expertise in the activity.  
  • The teacher-in-charge or a qualified staff member, is responsible for acquiring sufficient awareness of and information about the proposed site(s) of the activity to make a risk assessment for the activity as detailed in the Risk Assessment Form. 
  • The teacher-in-charge, or a qualified staff member, shall ensure that training, preparation, orientation and expectations of all student participants and supervisors are provided. 
  • An appropriately equipped portable first aid kit must be available to students when hosting events at the school and when traveling to other locations.
  • When necessary and whenever overnight accommodation is involved, activities involving students of both genders shall have supervisors of both genders. 
  • Contingency plans must be in place in the event of cancellation, adverse weather and road conditions, or other conditions that may require a change to the original itinerary. 
  • The teacher-in-charge, or a qualified staff member, shall ensure, when appropriate, that a list of student participants including telephone contact numbers, Alberta Health Care numbers, medication and medi-alert needs is accessible.

4. The principal and/or assistant principal must give or secure approval for all off-site activities in accordance with the procedures established by this policy. 

 
5. Parent permission must be obtained for off-site activities, and in seeking this permission parents or guardians must be informed in writing of the following information about the activity: 

  • The purpose and educational objectives of the activity  
  • The name of the teacher or a qualified staff member in charge and a contact telephone number  
  • The name(s) of other supervisor(s)  
  • The date(s)  
  • The destination and, where necessary, a map of the area  
  • A detailed itinerary, setting out the general nature and number of activities and dates and times and venues of each  
  • Departure and return times  
  • Mode(s) of transportation  
  • Financial arrangements if necessary 
  • Safety precautions  
  • Level of direct and, if applicable, indirect supervision  
  • The date of a parent information meeting about the activity, if planned  
  • 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 thing) Safety precautions for dealing with risk situations  
  • The need for any special equipment, clothing, food or personal items  
  • A reminder that parents or guardians must inform the teacher or a qualified staff member in charge about any relevant medical conditions of the student   Emergency procedures to be followed in the event of injury, illness or unusual circumstances  
  • The need for additional medical insurance coverage, if applicable  
  • Any other relevant information about the activity, which may influence the parent or guardian’s decision to withhold permission
     

6. Each student participating in an off-site activity must comply with the school’s code of conduct and remain subject to the discipline policies of CWA. 
 
7. Off-site activities are not permitted that require travel time too long for the age of the students involved, that require inordinate expense or excessive absence from school, or that are prohibited activities as listed in Appendix I. 
 
8. Off-site activities, which are not directly sanctioned by CWA for instructional purposes, are the total and full responsibility of the planners, tour agencies and transportation agencies involved. They may not purport to be school-sanctioned activities and if any school personnel are involved; this must be made clear to the participants at the commencement of planning for such activities.
 
9. The use of alcohol or illegal drugs by all participants, including staff members and volunteers is strictly prohibited during off-site activities, and applies to all off-site activities regardless of the circumstances, the age of the participants or local laws, customs and culture. 
 
10. All supervisors should have access to immediate means of communication (e.g. cellular phone or 2-way radio) in case of emergencies if circumstances warrant. 
 
11. The following criteria will be used in determining the approval of a proposed activity:  

  • Expressed educational value of the activity  
  • Evidence of good planning, detailed itinerary and appropriateness of activities
  • Evidence that appropriate insurance is in place or arranged  
  • Suitability of proposed supervision  
  • Suitability of proposed travel and accommodation arrangements  
  • Appropriate financial plan identifying proposed sources of funding if necessary
  • Appropriateness of plans for non-participants  
  • Impact on the regular program of the school caused by student and staff absences  
  • Level of risk to the safety of students and staff
     

12. All applications must be submitted to the principal and/or assistant principal in a timely fashion. Proposed activities that require approval by the Superintendent shall be submitted at least four weeks prior to the date of the activity.
 
13. No commitment shall be made to students, parents, transportation authorities, travel agents, etc. until at least approval in principle has been received for the proposed activity.
 
14. Parental consent is for the purpose of notifying parents concerning the details of the proposed activity and to have the parents indicate whether their permission is given for their child to participate. It is not to be regarded as a release from liability. Students not participating in an offsite activity shall be accommodated in an appropriate manner by the school.
 
15. Parent (or adult student) consent must be obtained for the student to participate in any off-site activity.
 
16. For activities that involve more than one trip off-site and for inter-school sports, a single parental permission will suffice. Should any of these be high-risk activities, separate permissions must be obtained. 
 
17. High-risk activities are those characterized by greater potential for injuries with severe consequences, person-to-person and person-to equipment contact, uniqueness of equipment used, speed of action, protective equipment used, specialized supervision required and training required; and include those activities identified in Appendix II. 
 

APPENDIX I 
PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES

Participation in the following activities is prohibited on CWA property, as a school-organized activity, and as an off-site activity. 
 
1. Aerial gymnastics  
2. American gladiator style events  
3. Aviation (small aircraft, helicopter, and hot air balloon rides)  
4. Auto racing  
5. Bicycle motocross (BMX)  
6. Boxing  
7. Bungee jumping  
8. Caving (spelunking)  
9. Canoeing in moving water greater than grade 2 rapids  
10. Demolition derbies  
11. Drag racing  
12. Horse jumping  
13. Ice climbing  
14. Luge above the tourist start at Canada Olympic Park  
15. Mechanical bull riding or simulated mechanical rodeo events  
16. Motorcycling of any nature  1
7. Open water swimming, except when a certified lifeguard is present  
18. Racing water craft  
19. Rifle ranges or other activities involving firearms  
20. Rock climbing  
21. Rodeos  
22. Scuba diving in open water 
 23. Skydiving  
24. Tobogganing, tubing, crazy carpet, bobsledding, and sledding on a slope of greater than 5 meters height or with an incline of greater than 35 degrees  
25. Winter biathlon with firearms  
26. White-water rafting in moving water greater than a grade 2 rapids 
 

APPENDIX II
HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES

High-risk activities create a high potential for injury accidents and represent areas of concern to our insurers with respect to potential liability claims. These activities should be given a great deal of thought and planning prior to implementing them. Qualified and/or certified instructors are to be present at all times.   
1. Archery  
2. Broomball (ice)  
3. Canoeing in moving water of grade 1 or less  
4. Cheerleading (aerobatic)  
5. Cycling/Mountain biking  
6. Diving  
7. Downhill Skiing  
8. Fencing  
9. Field hockey  
10. Football (tackle)  
11. Gymnastics  
12. Ice hockey  
13. Lacrosse  
14. Ringette (ice)  
15. Roller blading/in-line skating  
16. Rope courses  
17. Rugby  
18. Sailing  
19. Scuba diving in a swimming pool  
20. Skateboarding  
21. Snowboarding  
22. Swimming (synchronized)  
23. Track and Field – field events; javelin, shot-put, discus, high jump, pole vault  
24. Triathlon  
25. Wall climbing  
26. Water polo  
27. Water skiing  
28. Weightlifting  
29. Winter camping  
30. Wrestling  
31. Paintball  
32. Trampoline 
 

APPENDIX III 
MODERATE – LOW RISK ACTIVITIES

1. Court sports  
2. Cross country skiing  
3. Curling  
4. Fishing  
5. Golf  
6. Hiking  
7. Horseback riding (trail riding)  
8. Martial Arts  
9. Orienteering  
10. Sports field programs – soccer, touch/flag football, baseball  
11. Summer camping  
12. Swimming  
13. Tobogganing (hill less than 5 meters height and less than 35 degrees incline) 
 

APPENDIX IV 
SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

1. Severe/Inclement Weather:  

  • Outdoor activities shall not be held during inclement weather.  
  • During severe weather or poor driving conditions principals must ensure that weather and road conditions are conducive to travel before students leave for an off-site activity trip.  
  • On return trips, the teacher-in-charge must verify weather and road conditions.
  • Students must be appropriately clothed for travel by road during the winter, as determined by the teacher-in-charge. 
     

2. Water Activities:  

  • All participants involved in sailing or boating activities must have swimming skills commensurate with the activity, and wear a Transport Canada approved lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device, unless otherwise specified in the procedures manuals.  
  • When canoe trips take place on lakes or rivers, the teacher-in-charge must have visited the site prior to the trip, and be familiar with the proposed route and the seasonal conditions at the time of the trip.  
  • Adequate instruction and demonstration must be given to all participants involved before allowing the participants to undertake any water-related activity. 
     

3. Swimming Pools:  

  • Students may not use hotel swimming pools on off-site activities unless there is appropriate adult supervision. 
     

4. In a remote or wilderness area, the teacher or qualified staff in charge must:

  • Acquire sufficient awareness of and information about the proposed site(s) of the activity to make a safety assessment for the activity as detailed in Appendix IV;  
  • Use professional guides when appropriate or as directed by trip approving authority (principal or superintendent as applicable);  
  • Establish and communicate class safety and emergency procedures to all participants;  
  • Ensure that appropriate communication devices are taken on the trip;   Ensure constant communication within the group and access to external communication as needed;  
  • Be familiar with the nearest accessible medical station and telephone service;   Establish procedures so that contact can be made with the school  
  • Obtain fire permits, fishing and other licenses and area use permission where required. 
     

5. Mountain Biking: 

  • Mountain biking is permitted within urban and suburban areas on designed roadways, quiet residential streets near the school, bicycle pathways and trails at established parks.  
  • Backcountry mountain biking is not permitted unless professional guides are employed. 
     

6. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are acceptable activities for students as long as all the following conditions have been met: 

  • Skiing or snowboarding are part of a well-balanced yearly program, and reflect the school’s commitment to a quality physical education program, and;  
  • For novices the activity includes, at a minimum, one mandatory lesson at the beginning of each day on a ski hill. 
     

APPENDIX V 
SAFETY ASSESSMENT

The Safety Assessment of an activity is to consider the following questions: 

1. Is the activity suitable to the age, mental and physical condition of the participant(s)?  
2. Have the participants been progressively taught and coached to perform the activity properly to avoid the dangers inherent in the activity?  
3. Is the activity compliant with the standards that have been established for it, and where applicable is the equipment adequate and suitably arranged?  
4. Is the activity being supervised properly for the inherent risk involved? 
 
A negative determination with respect to any of these questions should be considered by the teacher or qualified staff in charge and/or the approving authority as grounds to modify or forego the proposed activity.