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Policy 8100 – Field Trips

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to plan, approve, and conduct student field trips off and on school grounds and within the United States.

Policy Document

I. Policy Value Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County recognizes that student field trips, aligned with the Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) vision and mission, will engage and inspire students with meaningful and enriching experiences.

In order to offer maximum benefit to students, the Board expects that field trips will have a direct relationship to the HCPSS curricular programs or students' social-emotional, cultural, or leadership development. The Board recognizes that careful consideration must be given to the protection of instructional time and the appropriate use of instructional personnel.

The Board is committed to the school system providing all students equitable opportunities to participate in field trips. Field trips must be aligned with HCPSS policies and procedures for supervision and safety.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to plan, approve, and conduct student field trips off and on school grounds and within the United States.

III. Standards

  1. All field trips require a Teacher-In-Charge.

  2. The provisions of this policy apply to all field trips organized and coordinated by HCPSS Teachers-In-Charge.

  3. Field trips will align with HCPSS curricular programs and/or the school systems vision and mission.

  4. Field Trips will align with at least one of the field trip categories in Section VI.D. below.

  5. Field trips will be conducted in accordance with rules, regulations, and policies related to the health, safety, and well-being of students, employees, and chaperones such as those listed in Section III. of this policy.

  6. No field trip will be conducted without receiving full approval through the administrative approval process.

  7. All students regardless of their individual status or perceived status in a protected class (race, color, creed, national origin, immigration status, religion, physical, mental, or learning ability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status) must be provided an opportunity to participate in field trips when they take place.

  8. Transportation for field trips will be provided by an authorized public carrier in accordance with HCPSS transportation procedures.

  9. Health services employees will ensure that all field trips comply with current school health services requirements from the Maryland Board of Nursing, the Maryland State Department of Education School Health Services, and the HCPSS Health Services Requirements and Procedures.

  10. Chaperones will be processed through the visitor management system, complete the Child Abuse and Neglect Training, and are required to read, sign, and return the Chaperone Responsibility Form acknowledging their responsibilities and understanding of HCPSS field trip policy and procedures, prior to participating in a field trip.

  11. Parents, chaperones, and students will receive, at minimum, information including:

    1. Expectations for conduct consistent with federal, state, and local laws and all HCPSS policies.

    2. Safety, emergency, and security procedures.

    3. Logistics and specific itineraries.

    4. Health and medical provisions, as appropriate.

  12. No student will be denied participation in a field trip as a consequence for a previous infraction for which discipline has already been issued and completed. However, if a student is on active suspension or expulsion the student cannot attend the field trip.

  13. The HCPSS reserves the right to cancel a trip at any time to ensure the safety of students, HCPSS employees, and chaperones. If such a cancellation occurs, the school system is not responsible for any financial loss incurred by the parent of students participating on the trip.

  14. In advance of a field trip, all students participating in the field trip are required to have a parent signature on the Permission Form for Student Field Trip which serves as the parents’ written consent for field trip participation.

  15. Chaperones may not bring other children on a field trip. Only students who are part of the designated class or group may participate in a field trip.

  16. The HCPSS does not sponsor student travel outside the United States.

IV. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/designee will develop and implement procedures to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of all participants on field trips.

  2. The Superintendent/designees will review and ensure that field trips comply with the provisions of this policy prior to approval.

  3. The Superintendent/designee will review and update the Field Trip Procedures and Forms Packet annually.

  4. The Director of Transportation will update and implement procedures for safe student travel.

  5. The Health Services Coordinator will update and implement health procedures to meet the needs of students participating in field trips.

  6. School-based administrators will ensure that each field trip has been approved through the administrative process and complies with the provisions of this policy.

V. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VI. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Administrative Approval Process – The process of review and approval by the school-based administrator and the Superintendent/designees.

  2. Chaperone – A parent of a participating student, an adult age 21 or older, or an employee, any of whom has been processed through the visitor management system and approved by the principal to accompany and supervise students during the entirety of the field trip.

  3. Employee – Any individual employed by the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

  4. Field Trip – A school or HCPSS-sponsored program that enhances students' educational experiences. These experiences may occur as an in-school field trip, in-county field trip, out-of-county field trip, extended day field trip, or an overnight field trip and should align with at least one of the field trip categories below:

    1. Curriculum Field Trip – Extends and enriches the curricular program.

    2. Culturally-Related Field Trip – Engages students in cultural awareness or experiences to learn more about their cultural identity or that of others.

    3. Community Building Field Trip – Reinforces relationships in an existing group of students, prepares students for a significant transition into a new structure or community, or helps students learn to work collaboratively.

    4. Service Learning Field Trip – Engages students in opportunities to learn the value of helping others in their own community and beyond.

    5. Personal Growth and Leadership Development Field Trip – Exposes students to new group or individual activities whereby they learn new skills and new ideas, develop identity, build self-esteem, grow strengths, and build camaraderie while developing decision-making and leadership skills.

  5. Field Trip Procedures and Forms Packet – Documents and information required for the administrative approval and execution of field trips.

  6. HCPSS-Sponsored Program – An activity, event, or meeting developed or organized by HCPSS with the knowledge and approval of the associated school principal and/or Superintendent/designee, that is under the direction and control of an authorized HCPSS employee, where HCPSS assumes responsibility and liability for the program, event or action.

  7. Parent – Any one of the following recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    1. Biological Parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent – A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or an agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody, or control over the student but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article, §7-101 (c) (Informal Kinship Care) or has been issued a U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Verification of Release form entering into a custodial arrangement with the federal government.

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in the home by a state agency or a licensed child placement as provided by the Family Law Article, §5-507.

  8. Permission Form for Student Field Trip – Document distributed to a parent for the purpose of providing detailed information about a field trip and to acquire, from the parent, consent for his/her child to participate.

  9. Student – A person who is enrolled in the HCPSS.

  10. Teacher-In-Charge – An HCPSS employee holding a valid Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) teaching certificate or a Department of Defense (DoD) Certified JROTC Instructor, who plans a field trip, submits an application for approval of a field trip, attends/supervises the field trip, and assumes responsibility for ensuring compliance with the provisions of this policy.

  11. Visitor Management System – A system which verifies the eligibility of visitors to enter school property.

VII. References

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-308 (Searches in Schools)

  • COMAR Standards of Practice for Registered Nurse

  • COMAR Delegation of Nursing Functions, CMT

  • COMAR Maryland Board of Nursing, Maryland Nurse Practice Act

C. Relevant Data Sources

  • Risk Management Report

D. Other

  • Chaperone Responsibility Form

  • Field Trip Procedures and Forms Packet

  • Field Trip Travel Request Form

  • HCPSS Student Code of Conduct

  • HCPSS Health Services Requirements and Procedures

  • Maryland State Department of Education School Health Services

  • Permission Form for Student Field Trip

VIII. History

ADOPTED: April 14, 1988



  • July 12, 2018

  • December 7, 2021


  • February 22, 1990

  • June 20, 2006

  • March 13, 2014

  • June 25, 2020

EFFECTIVE: December 7, 2021

Policy History Key

  • Adopted-Original date the Board took action to approve a policy
  • Reviewed-The date the status of a policy was assessed by the Superintendent’s Standing Policy Group
  • Modified-The date the Board took action to alter a policy that based on the recommendation of the Superintendent/designee did not require a comprehensive examination
  • Revised-The date the Board took action on a that policy based on the recommendation of the Superintendent/designee needed a comprehensive examination
  • Effective-The date a policy is implemented throughout the HCPSS, typically July 1 following Board action.