12.3.1 - Field Trips, Excursions, and Activities
126.96.36.199 Policies Applicable to All Field Trips, Excursions, and Activities
The policies listed below apply to all excursions, including but not limited to trips for parish religious education, youth ministry and youth groups, traditional class field trips, travel for specific group events (e.g., choir, adult retreats and outings, science fairs, and academic decathlon), graduation and other celebratory trips, athletic games and practices, and certain ministerial and extracurricular activities held at locations. Contracts for field trips, excursions, and activities must follow the rules on signing authority.
Locations may, at their option, plan trips and activities for one or more days, including overnight field trips, retreats, and other excursions. All excursions, whether day or overnight, must comply with the following requirements:
188.8.131.52 Assessing Risk of Certain Activities and Excursions
All activities present some degree of risk. Locations need to identify and evaluate the risks presented by their activities and, when necessary, take extra precautions or avoid certain activities that present greater-than-normal risk. Each location should be aware of which activities may involve additional risk and seek assistance if there is any question in this regard.
Generally, activities have greater-than-normal risk when:
It is not possible to list every activity that may expose locations to greater-than-normal risk. Locations should seek the assistance of the appropriate archdiocesan department before engaging in activities that may involve greater-than-normal risk and locations should use common sense at all times. See the basic risk management strategies below.
Seek Guidance Early in the Planning Process
If a location is considering any activity or excursion that may involve greater-than-normal risk, the person in charge should seek guidance from the appropriate archdiocesan department early in the planning process. Early contact will allow for a determination if the event is, in fact, risky, and if so, provide time to assess options.
Avoid Taking on Outside Risks
Occasionally, a location may be asked to collaborate on or cosponsor an activity with another organization.
If a location is collaborating with an outside entity for such an activity or program, it is important that the location clearly communicates to the participants, as well as parents/guardians of minors participating, that the activity is not sponsored by the location or the archdiocese and that the location assumes no responsibility for the activity. For example, a location may host a vision or high blood pressure clinic operated by licensed and insured persons/entities, but the location must inform the participants that the outside persons/entities, and not the location, are responsible for any consequences of participation in the clinic. (See Use of Archdiocesan Facilities.) Similarly, if, for example, certain graduation-related activities or trips are organized and coordinated by outside travel groups, participants and their parents/guardians must be informed that the outside entities, and not the location, are responsible for any consequences of participation.
Obtain Informed Consent and Follow Safe Environment Programs
Irrespective of the degree of risk presented by an activity, the location needs to make sure that all program participants and parents/guardians of participants under the age of 18 are fully aware of the nature of the proposed activity, including the mode of transportation, if any. Parents/guardians must sign standard permission slips and medical releases for all participants under the age of 18 (see the Student and Youth Activity Permission Form and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Medication Authorization and Permission Form). No exceptions are allowed.
Locations must adhere to archdiocesan safe environment programs.
Always Use Qualified, Insured Contractors and Vendors
The use of experienced outside entities and vendors to provide services or sponsor activities can reduce the risk of an activity to the location by transferring some of the liability and insurance responsibility to the contractor. Contractors should not be used, however, as a justification to engage in activities with a greater-than-normal degree of risk. See also Volunteers and Volunteer Construction Work.
Most activities that locations engage in do not exceed a normal degree of risk. Advance planning (especially for youth activities) and flexibility when selecting prospective activities can reduce frustration and allow the location to meet its objectives while insulating it from an unacceptable level of risk.
Have an Emergency Plan
All field trips, excursions, and activities require an emergency plan. These plans need to be responsive to reasonably foreseeable emergencies.
Be Aware of Insurance Coverage
Archdiocesan liability insurance generally covers all locations, employees, and volunteers in the event of a loss, an injury, or a claim by a participant that is caused by the alleged negligence of the location, employee, or volunteer.
Myers-Stevens insurance, which is provided by the location to students, including religious education students, covers participants with no-fault, supplemental medical insurance in case of an accident. See Student Accident Insurance. Generally, Myers-Stevens coverage does not cover participants when they are not actively supervised (i.e., during the night), unless the location has purchased additional coverage.
Employees who are injured in the course and scope of employment may make a claim for workers' compensation benefits.
Adult participants and volunteers who are injured are not covered by any archdiocesan medical insurance programs. They must look to their own insurance policies to cover medical expenses for their own injuries, and/or they can file a claim against the location in the event that the location is at fault for the injury.