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Field Trips: Guidance for School Nurses


There are many trips offered or supported by the school district regularly. The NASN describes school-sponsored trips as field trips, trips during extracurricular activities, interscholastic and intramural athletic events, and school club trips. Below are the definitions of relevant terms as defined in the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (Regulations) §10-212a-1 with the exception of field trips and privately sponsored trips. Currently, there is no specific state definition for field trips, and each local district has the responsibility to determine its own individualized definition and policies. However, the definition of field trips set forth below will be used for the purposes of these Field Trip Guidelines.

  1. Extracurricular activities means activities sponsored by local or regional boards of education that occur outside of the school day, are not part of the educational program, and do not meet the definition of before- and after-school programs and school readiness programs. (An example of an extracurricular activity is a school club that is not tied to the curriculum, such as weekend school sponsored ski club.)
  2. Field trips are trips that school districts offer to enhance or supplement the educational experience of students (NASN, 2013). Field trips include events or activities where students leave the school grounds for the purposes of curriculum-related study (part of the classroom experience), or outdoor education. These trips range from a few hours during the school day to extended overnights and even out of the state or country. 

    Examples of field trips include: 

    • day trip to museum, nature center, science laboratory, etc.;
    • recurring trips (if tied to curriculum);
    • overnight trips or longer trips for educational programs (such as Nature’s Classroom); and
    • trips requiring special considerations, such as remote locations, near water or swimming facilities, involving animals, or adventure trails.
  3. Intramural athletic events means tryouts, competition, practice, drills, and transportation to and from events that are within the bounds of a school district for the purpose of providing an opportunity for students to participate in physical activities and athletic contests that extend beyond the scope of the physical education program.
  4. Interscholastic athletic events means events between or among schools for the purpose of providing an opportunity for students to participate in competitive contests which are highly organized and extend beyond the scope of intramural programs and includes tryouts, competition, practice, drills, and transportation to and from such events.
  5. Privately sponsored trips are trips that are privately funded. They do not: 
    • connect to the school curriculum or other school related events;
    • involve supervision or staffing by school personnel;
    • occur during the school day or school week;and
    • use school name in promotional materials.
  6. Examples of privately sponsored trips include:

    • weekend fishing club (not a school club);
    • Boy or Girl Scout trip to camp; and
    • Boys and Girls Club trip to a local museum.

Privately sponsored trips as those described above are not school sponsored activities. Although school personnel (including school nurses) are often aware of privately sponsored trips, they are not required to, and they do not, plan, coordinate or supervise these activities. 

Besides the various trip definitions, other important health-related state definitions from the regulations §10-212a-1 will affect the Field Trip Guidelines, so they are included here:

  1. Administration of medication means any one of the following activities: handling, storing, preparing or pouring of medication; conveying it to the student according to the medication order; observing the student inhale, apply, swallow, or self-inject the medication, when applicable; documenting that the medication was administered; and counting remaining doses to verify proper administration and use of the medication.
  2. Medication means any medicinal preparation including over-the-counter, prescription and controlled drugs, as defined in Section 21a-240 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
  3. Medication order means the written direction by an authorized prescriber for the administration of medication to a student which shall include the name of the student, the name and generic name of the medication, the dosage of the medication, the route of administration, the time of administration, the frequency of administration, the indications for medication, any potential side effects including overdose or missed dose of the medication, the start and termination dates not to exceed a 12-month period, and the written signature of the prescriber.
  4. Qualified personnel for schools means (a) a full-time employee who meets the local or regional board of education requirements as a principal, teacher, occupational therapist or physical therapist and has been trained in the administration of medication in accordance with Section 10-212a-3 of these regulations; (b) a coach and licensed athletic trainer who has been trained in the administration of medication pursuant to Section 10-212a-8 of these regulations; or (c) a paraprofessional who has been trained in the administration of medication pursuant to Section 10-212a- 9 of these regulations. For school readiness programs and before- and after-school programs, directors or director’s designees, lead teachers and school administrators who have been trained in the administration of medication may administer medications pursuant to Section 10-212a-10 of these regulations.
  5. School medical advisor means a physician appointed pursuant to Section 10-205 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
  6. School nurse means a nurse appointed pursuant to Section 10-212 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
  7. Self-administration of medication means the control of the medication by the student at all times and is self managed by the student according to the individual medication plan.