AP 260 - Community- Based Activities, Field Trips, Excursions and Tours

Participation by students in special events such as field trips, athletic competitions, music and drama festivals, and student exchanges can significantly complement the educational program. While field trips and excursions have positive educational value, care must be taken to ensure that trips or excursions are organized in a manner that maximizes educational benefit and ensures the protection and safety of students.


  1. Co-Curricular Activities: A designation for student activities that occur away from the school site and that are designed to expand/enhance the development of curricular goals and outcomes identified in the Alberta Program of Studies.
  2. Community-based Activity: Same-day visits by students and staff to off-site locations away from the school for the purpose of extending and/or enhancing a curricular outcome(s). No transportation is required (i.e., walking trips). Examples of community-based activities could include visits to the local fire hall, post office or bakery.
  3. Field Trips: Same-day visits by students and staff to off-site locations away from the school for the purpose of extending and/or enhancing a curricular outcome(s). Use of system transportation or volunteer drivers is involved. Examples of field trips could include visits to a nearby museum or historic site, or the zoo.
  4. Excursions: Extended field trips designed to enhance and/or extend a curricular outcome(s) involving an overnight stay of one (1) to three (3) nights. Typically, system or commercial transportation will be involved. Examples of excursions could include a trip to the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton or an outdoor education camp.
  5. Tours: Extended trips undertaken by staff and students carried out to enhance and/or extend curricular outcomes. Considerable travel is common, usually via commercial carrier, as well as several overnight stays. Examples of tours could include a Marine Biology tour to British Columbia, a class exchange with students from another province or a study tour to Europe.

 Criteria for Off-site Activities

All co-curricular activities occurring off the school site shall meet the following criteria:

  1. Educational goals are specified for the activity by the teacher responsible for the activity and are compatible with the Alberta Program of Studies, the Guide to Education and the school’s instructional program.
  2. Sufficient educational value is demonstrated to outweigh the loss of instructional time in the regular classroom program.
  3. There is compliance with specified adult supervisor/student ratios to ensure acceptable levels of student behaviour and safety, as follows:

    • 1:5 for Preschool-Kindergarten;
    • 1:8 for Grades K-6;
    • 1:10 for Grades 7-9;
    • 1:15 for Grades 10-12; and
    • Male and female supervisors for mixed student groups containing both genders.
  4. The teacher responsible has ensured supervisors assigned to the activity have the training and knowledge appropriate for the safe completion of the proposed activity.
  5. Where necessary and possible, a prior site visit to the activity destination has been made by the teacher responsible for the activity for purposes of program planning and risk assessment.
  6. The teacher has ensured that the students engaged in the activity are ready to undertake the learning outcomes proposed.
  7. The activity is organized in such a manner that it conforms to policy and procedure regarding student deportment, transportation and use of private vehicles.
  8. The activity is both accessible and inclusive, specifically:

    • Participation is voluntary and the student is not penalized as a result of the decision by a parent/guardian to withhold consent to participate;
    • Parents are advised that financial assistance is available for students whose family has a demonstrated inability to pay;
    • Diversity of the student population is considered;
    • Students are not refused participation on the basis of financial inability to pay;
    • Meaningful alternative activities are provided for students who do not participate; and
    • The physical requirements for the trip are within the capacity of students (i.e., fitness, skill level, values).
  9. All participants in off-site activities are banned from the use of alcohol while participating in the activity.
  10. Only children/youth enrolled as students in Palliser Regional Schools will be permitted to participate in off-site activities.
  11. All participants in off-site activities will be expected to observe the Bus Rules as outlined in Administrative Procedure #551 (Student Discipline on School Buses: Regular Route).
  12. An attendance list of all participants, including students and supervisors, will be provided to the school office and to the Secretary-Treasurer at the Palliser Education Centre prior to the group departing the school. The list must include emergency contact information.
  13. The Superintendent will be informed by the Principal via e-mail regarding all off-site activities that involve an overnight stay, at least one (1) week prior to the activity. 

Community-Based Activities, Field Trips and Excursions

The principal has the authority to provide approval for community-based activities, field trips and excursions provided that:

  1. For field trips and excursions, a written application for permission to embark on a school-sponsored field trip or excursion has been submitted by the teacher responsible for planning the activity to the principal at least one (1) month prior to the activity, accompanied by a list of objectives and a schedule of events for the entire activity. For community-based activities, the written application to the principal can be less than a month prior to the event as long as there is time to get appropriate parent consents in place before the activity occurs.
  2. The principal is satisfied the tour has definite educational value and is related to the ongoing program.
  3. If transportation by private or leased vehicles is required, prior approval of the principal or designate is in place. The use of parent-provided transportation shall be employed as a last resort, and approval shall be granted only if volunteer drivers are properly licensed and have submitted a completed Volunteer Automobile Driver Authorization Form (see Forms Manual). Parents must also be informed with whom their child will be travelling and provide prior written permission for the child to travel with a third party volunteer.
  4. If overnight accommodation is required, requirements regarding gender-specific supervisors contained in Administrative Procedure 316 – Student Supervision shall be followed.
  5. In the case of any minor educational activity occurring off the school site, parents are informed, in writing, with regard to details such as (but not limited to) the date and time of the activity, destination, transportation arrangements, program description, itinerary, supervisory arrangements, elements of risk for the activity, cost to student and school contact information, and have signed and returned a consent form authorizing the participation of their child in the activity (see Forms Manual: Informed Consent/Permission Form for Minor Tours).
  6. Arrangements are in place for any student who is unable to attend a field trip but who will be in attendance at the school during the time of the trip. Activities provided must be of educational importance.
  7. A procedural checklist is completed by the designated staff supervisor (see Forms Manual: Educational Field Trip, Excursion/Tour Checklist), presented to the principal for approval and retained on file in the school office.
  8. An attendance list of all participants, including students and supervisors, will be provided to the school office and to the Secretary-Treasurer at the Palliser Education Centre prior to the group departing the school. The list must include emergency contact information.

Upon receipt of the above documentation, the principal shall communicate, in writing, to the teacher whether or not the minor educational activity has been approved.

Tours Outside Alberta

School-sponsored tours outside Alberta (national or international) require the approval of the Superintendent. Such approval will be dependent upon the following:

  1. The principal shall complete the Tours Outside Alberta – Request to Proceed with Planning form and submit it to the Superintendent at least four (4) months prior to the scheduling of the date of the activity and/or before deposits are taken from parents and students for the tour. Upon receipt of the request, the Superintendent may provide approval to allow the planning process to continue.
  2. Upon receipt of the approval from the Superintendent to proceed with planning for the tour, proceed with reviewing the “Consent for Participation, Risk, Acknowledgement, Waiver and Indemnity for National and International Study Tours” form with students and then parents/guardians and obtaining the required signatures.
  3. Upon  receiving the required signed consent form from students and parents/guardians, ensuring the minimum threshold for participation of the tour provider is met, the principal can proceed with receiving deposits and payments related to the planned trip.
  4. All international trips will be monitored by administration using federal travel advisories and may be cancelled based on those advisories and recommendations received from the Division’s insurance carrier.
  5. The principal shall submit the Tours Outside Alberta – Request for Final Approval form, along with a list of objectives and a detailed schedule of activities for the entire tour, to the Superintendent at least six (6) weeks prior to the commencement of the tour. The plan of activities shall be followed unless approval is granted by the Superintendent to amend the schedule. In addition, the principal must be able to certify for the Superintendent that all criteria for approval have been met.
    1. A professional staff member is appointed as the designated supervisor in charge of the co-curricular tour.
    2. Supervision requirements identified in Clause 1.3 are in place.
    3. For international trips, the local health authority has been contacted to obtain information regarding any inoculations that may be recommended for participants, including the inoculation process.
    4. A parent/guardian meeting has been held to discuss tour arrangements and risks, and a parent/guardian for each student participating has been in attendance. If necessary, parents/guardians not able to be in attendance may be informed personally at another time. The meeting shall inform parents/guardians, at a minimum, of the following:
      • Purpose/goal of the educational study tour;
      • Proposed itinerary;
      • Description of activities or events planned;
      • Elements of risk which may be encountered;
      • Safety precautions in place to deal with activities involving risk;
      • Inoculations recommended for international travel;
      • Contingency plans and emergency procedures to be followed in the event of injury, illness or unusual circumstances;
      • Need for additional medical coverage;
      • Expectations for student behaviour;
      • Arrangements for supervision;
      • Transportation methods and arrangements;
      • Accommodation arrangements; and
      • Cost to the student.
    5. Informed consent is in place, with each parent/guardian having been provided with and returned a signed copy of the Consent for Participation, Risk Acknowledgement, Waiver and Indemnity for National and International Study Tours (see Forms Manual).
    6. Suitable arrangements are in place for transportation and accommodation.


  1. In September of each year, the Superintendent will obtain a list of non-insurable activities from the division’s liability carrier and circulate that list to principals. Any updates received by the Superintendent during the year will be forwarded to principals for their information.
  2. Providing off-site activities are school-sponsored, are duly approved by the designated individual, and are designated approved activities by the division’s liability insurance carrier, the liability insurance carried by the division will cover the division’s employees and volunteer supervisors responsible for organizing and supervising the tour.


The use of volunteer supervisors to assist staff during off-site activities is encouraged, in keeping with the requirements contained in Administrative Procedure #470 (Volunteer Supervisors and Coaches).


Should an accident occur during an off-site activity, the teacher in charge must assess the situation and, if injuries have occurred, attend to the immediate medical concerns and call or make arrangements to call for rescue, assistance or ambulance as required. In addition, the teacher shall:

  1. Determine whether or not the trip will continue based on all the circumstances;
  2. Notify the principal or designate at the earliest opportunity if serious injuries have occurred so that the principal may inform the parent or guardians, the Superintendent and others, as necessary; and
  3. Complete a Student Accident Report within forty-eight (48) hours of the incident or as soon as possible upon return to the school.

Inclement Weather

During severe weather or poor driving conditions, principals must ensure that weather and road conditions are conducive to travel before students leave the school for an off-site activity trip. If one or more of the following exist, the off-site activity shall not proceed:

  1. There are blizzard conditions en route or blizzard or severe weather conditions are forecast by Environment Canada;
  2. The RCMP or the Alberta Motor Association has advised against travel on any en route highway;
  3. The temperature is below –35°C; or
  4. The wind-chill falls in the very high or extreme categories as defined by Environment Canada.

Students must be appropriately clothed for travel by road for the seasonal conditions, as determined by the teacher in charge.

Funding for Off-site Activities

Costs for tours may be met as follows:

  1. Teachers or support staff acting as chaperones or supervisors will be paid for all teaching days covered while attending an off-site activity.
  2. The principal may, under certain circumstances and when found necessary, authorize the engagement of substitutes to be covered by the school’s budget.
  3. Other costs for the tours may be covered by:

a)  The school’s operating budget;
b)  Individual student fees, which should be relatively small in order not to discriminate against students unable to pay large individual assessments;
c)  Funds raised by students, parent groups, societies or other funding sources as approved by the Superintendent; or
d)  A combination of the above as may be determined by the principal. 


School Act, Section 12, 20, 45, 60
“Safety Guidelines for Physical Activity in Alberta Schools” 1999, Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, Edmonton.
Cross Reference: Administrative Procedure 316 – Student Supervision
Administrative Procedure 470 – Volunteer Supervisors and Coaches
Administrative Procedure 551 – Student Discipline On School Buses: Regular Route

Forms: Extracurricular Trip Requisition
Informed Consent/Permission Form for Minor Tours
Consent for Participation, Risk, Acknowledgement, Waiver and Indemnity for National and International Study Tours
Student Accident Form