Field Trips

The following policy will be presented for a first reading at the September 16, 2019 School Committee meeting and will be considered for adoption at the October 7, 2019 School Committee meeting.

The Smithfield School District recognizes that off-site excursions directly related to and supportive of the curriculum are opportunities for expanding educational experiences for all students.

The School Committee will appropriately budget for District-sponsored educational field trips. Such field trips shall meet Rhode Island’s Basic Education Program (BEP) Regulation’s definition of a quality expanded learning opportunity. District funds may not be used to support activities that have little or no relationship to approved curriculum or program of studies.

Individual students and families will not be charged for District-sponsored field trips.

Parents and students must be notified in writing that all applicable school rules and regulations, in addition to all Smithfield School Department policies are in effect for the duration of this trip.

The Smithfield School Committee reserves the right to withdraw approval or cancel a trip if any situation arises that threatens the safety and welfare of the participants.

Field Trip Approval Process

All District-sponsored field trips, including day trips and overnight trips, require pre-approval by the Principal and by the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee.

No activity will be approved if a certain funding source (if needed) has not been identified.

A detailed plan must be submitted in writing at least 4 weeks in advance of the activity. These plans shall include:

  • Purpose. A brief statement to include educational and other all inclusive objectives as well as specific reasons for selecting the activity.
  • Dates. Whenever possible, trips of long duration should be planned to take place during the school vacation periods.
  • Number and Grades of Students.
  • Chaperones. A sufficient number of adults must be provided to ensure adequate supervision. A ratio of 1 to 10 must be maintained.
  • Method of Travel. The method of travel and number of vehicles must be listed; busses, air travel, private car or other. In the event that a travel agent is necessary, the agency must be chosen with great care and must be identified in the plans submitted.
  • Contract. A copy of the company’s contract must be submitted with the proposal. Close attention needs to be paid to the terms of the contract. Parents of students must be notified in writing that approval of this trip may be withdrawn if there were any official travel advisory issued by the State Department that involved the trip.
  • Costs. All costs including travel and housing, meals, and gratuities, etc. must be listed and explained.
  • Housing Arrangements. Identify the hotel, or motel, or other commercial housing by names, if these facilities are to be used. Telephone numbers should be included in case of emergencies. Include as well, arrangement for meals. If housing is to be in private homes, so indicate.
  • Source of Funding. Administrators must provide account numbers for District funds and shall identify other sources of funding, including grants and donations.
  • Insurance, if applicable. Provisions must be made for whatever insurance coverage is required. The name of the company, the type of coverage, and the costs must be included in the plans.
  • Itinerary. A detailed schedule of all stops, concerts, sightseeing, visits, etc. must be included.
  • Medical Arrangements. Provisions for emergency care in the event of illness or accident must be included. The statement concerning the confidential medical list must be completed by indicating “yes.” In the event of foreign travel, immunization provisions, physical examinations, etc. must be included. Students must be advised that medications for their own use must be in original containers that indicate such medication was issued for their use.
  • Bonded Treasurer. A person, identified by name, to act as a bonded treasurer in the collection of any monies associated with an extended trip, will be included in the submitted plan.

Athletics Trips and Activities

Athletic trips require approval by the athletic director, the Principal, and the Superintendent or designee if the distance is greater than 60 miles or if the trip requires an overnight stay. Permission for athletic trips may be made within shorter time frames than for other trips, if necessary. Students may be granted excused absences for athletic trips that are approved in advance.

Sanctioned Recreational Trips and Activities

School clubs that are officially sanctioned by the Principal must have a faculty/staff advisor. Recreational trips and activities of such groups must go through the approval process and must take place outside of the school day.

Unsanctioned Recreational Trips and Activities

Recreational trips are trips, within state, out-of-state or international, which fall outside of the regular school day or year, are not connected with any academic or school sponsored activity, and are not sanctioned by School Committee approval or paid for with District funds or resources (including staff time). Such trips may not be promoted in the school during school hours.

Recreational trips organized, coordinated, or participation by staff or faculty members.

Staff or faculty members organizing or participating in a recreational trip shall act only in their individual capacity and not as employees or representatives of the District. Such trips shall not be promoted as an activity of the District. Staff and faculty shall not be paid by the District for such time on recreational trips.

Staff and faculty members may not use sick days for such recreational trips but may expend personal leave time.

Recreational trips are not covered or included within the District’s liability insurance.

Parents shall be advised that these recreational trips are privately arranged by the organizers, meetings or informational sessions may not take place during school hours, and students’ participation is dependent upon their parents’ approval.

Any loss of student school time due to a recreational trip will be an unexcused absence.

Fund Raising Efforts

Special fundraising efforts may be permitted for the purpose of supplementing a school's field trip budget.

Students shall not be required to either participate in fundraising efforts or to meet individual fundraising targets in order to participate in a District-sponsored field trip.

The School Committee may accept grants, federal and state funds, gifts and donations to support field trip participation.

Follow Up Procedures

A written evaluation of the project will be submitted to the Superintendent or designee at its conclusion in the form of a “Final Report.” The report should include but not be limited to:

  • Final count of participants and chaperones
  • Expense report with comment on disbursement of surplus finds, if any
  • Records of Students. Upon receipt of approval by the Principal, and with the filing of a parental permission form, a final list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all participants, including staff and chaperones, is to be placed on file with the Principal.


Legal References: R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-2-9(a)(9)


R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-38-6