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Student Travel

Section 604.3 | Board Report 21-0922-PO2 | Date Adopted September 22, 2021

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THE INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER RECOMMENDS

That the Chicago Board of Education (“Board”) amend Board Report 10-0526-PO1 Student Travel Policy. The policy was amended to update department names, correct departmental involvement, and reference updated safety guidance. The policy was posted for public comment from June 15, 2021 to July 16, 2021.

PURPOSE

The objectives of this policy are to: (1) establish requirements for student travel and trips to ensure the safety and well-being of students and chaperones; and (2) establish a uniform set of procedures that govern the travel approval process.

POLICY TEXT

I. Definitions

Chaperone: Chaperones are assigned to a trip by the principal to assist with the supervision of student behavior and group activities. Chaperones may include certified teachers, educational support personnel, or parents or other volunteers. Chaperones must be at least 18 years old. In order to be eligible to serve on an overnight student travel trip, all chaperones must meet the requirements in the Board’s Volunteer Policy, Section 801.2, which includes a criminal background and a tuberculosis check.

Educational trips: Educational trips are designed (1) to provide students with knowledge and experiences to supplement their curriculum or (2) to provide enrichment experiences. Educational trips that supplement the curriculum include, but are not limited to, visiting museums and zoos and going to theater productions, business/industry tours, cultural exhibits, and nature centers. Educational trips that provide enrichment experiences include, but are not limited to, trips outside the borders of the U.S. or trips that are part of an extracurricular activity. Educational trips fall into one of the following four categories which determine the applicable trip requirements:

Category 1 Trip Trips outside the borders of the U.S or its territories
Category 2 Trip Trips within the U.S. that may include an overnight stay or have a total value of $10,000 or more
Category 3 Trip One-day field trips with a total value of less than $10,000
Category 4 Trip Interscholastic competitions and other similar events with a total value of less than $10,000

Non-educational trips: Non-educational trips are trips that have little or no educational value. They include, but are not limited to, trips to amusement parks and/or recreational facilities.

School Tour Supervisor: A School Tour Supervisor is a certified teacher designated by the principal to be the lead chaperone on a Category 1 or 2 trip and the point of contact for the principal while on the trip.

II. General Requirements

  • Educational Travel – Only educational travel is permitted. The Department of Education Policy and Procedures makes the final determination of whether a trip is educational or non-educational.
  • Applications for Student Travel – The principal must file a Student Travel e-Application for each travel event.
  • Permission Slips and Release Forms – The principal must verify that there is a signed parent or guardian permission slip for each participating student and when applicable, a signed release form for each participating student and for each participating adult chaperone. The school must retain originals of each of the permission slips and release forms. Each form must have original signatures, stamps and initials are not acceptable.
  • Funds Disbursement –Funds, including deposits, must not be collected from students or disbursed by a school before the Student Travel e-Application is approved.
  • Contract Review - Principals must follow the applicable Board Rules when entering into contracts.
  • Scheduling -
    1. Scheduling Restrictions.
      • No student is permitted to participate in any Trip when that student is scheduled to take a standardized test.
      • Schools may not schedule Category 1 or Category 2 trips during the first three weeks or the last two weeks of the school year, unless the Department of Education Policy and Procedures authorizes an exception before the trip is scheduled.
    2. Scheduling Summer Trips - Trips may be scheduled during the summer.
  • Supervision – All trips must conform to the chaperone requirements for their Category.
  • Planning – In general, student trips are planned by a certified teacher or administrator for one school. However, if a trip involves students from multiple schools, it must be approved by all of the respective principals. If a trip is planned by a central office department (which may or may not be in conjunction with an outside entity) the central office department is responsible for ensuring compliance with all applicable requirements in this policy and guidelines.
  • Right to Rescind – The Department of Education Policy and Procedures retains the right to rescind approval of trips when, in their judgment, circumstances may jeopardize the safety of students and chaperones.
  • Student participants – Only enrolled students are eligible to participate in a student trip. Students are subject to the Student Code of Conduct while participating in a student trip. The principal may refuse to allow a student from participating in any trip, consistent with the travel guidelines, so long as the student is not denied participation solely due to a disability. A student/parent may appeal the decision to deny a student’s participation to the Network Office, who shall make the final determination.

    Accommodations shall also provided to transgender and gender non-binary students, as well as students questioning their gender identity, regardless of whether the student is consistently asserting at school. These accommodations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and in a manner consistent with the student’s support plan, and the District’s guidelines regarding the support of transgender and gender nonconforming students.

  • Additional Adult Trip Participants– An adult who wishes to travel on a student trip, but who is not serving as a chaperone, must be approved by the principal and meet the requirements of the Board’s Volunteer policy.
  • Approval – Approval requirements and timelines are determined by the trip category and all trips must be approved before the date of travel and the disbursement of funds.
  • Guidelines – The CEO or designee must develop guidelines to establish procedures and forms necessary to implement the requirements of this policy.
  • Violations – Violations of this policy may lead to action under the Employee Discipline and Due Process Policy, Section 500A.1.

III. Specific requirements

  • Requirements for Category 1 Trips - Trips outside the borders of the U.S. or its territories

    1. Approval Procedures
      • The principal must complete and submit the Student Travel e-Application no less than sixty (60) calendar days before the date of travel.
      • The Department of Education Policy and Procedures is responsible for granting the final approval of the Student Travel e-Application.
    2. Travel times and duration
      • Travel for elementary school students must not exceed seven (7) school days.
      • Travel for high school students must not exceed ten (10) school days.
      • Students are not permitted to participate in a trip three (3) weeks leading up to and including system-wide testing.
    3. Location
      • Parent permission is required for any trip to a location where the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory at a Level 3. Travel is not permitted to any place where the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory at a Level 4, or where the Department of Education Policy and Procedures has determined at its discretion is unsuitable for student travel.
      • Travel is not permitted to any place where the Board’s liability insurance is restricted.
    4. Principal Responsibilities
      • During the planning period of the trip, the principal is responsible for:
        1. Designating a School Tour Supervisor;
        2. Completing and reviewing the Student Travel e-Application to verify that all requirements are met;
        3. Verifying that the tour has educational value and reviewing the School Tour Supervisor’s plan for students to complete classroom assignments;
        4. Requesting approval from the Network Chief for any home-stay arrangements to house students with host families in private homes. Home-stays may only be requested for students in grades 7 through 12 in compliance with the travel guidelines issued by the Department of Education Policy and Procedures;
        5. Verifying that all student and chaperone trip participants have valid passports;
        6. Regularly reviewing information about the destination country on the U.S. Department of State website (www.state.gov) At a minimum, the review should occur: (1) at time of planning, (2) thirty (30) days before the trip and (3) the day before travel;
        7. Notifying the School Tour Supervisor if there is a Level 4 Travel Advisory and canceling or rerouting the trip;
        8. Ensuring that the trip is registered with the U.S. Department of State STEP Program, and that confirmation paperwork is uploaded to the Student Travel e-Application.
        9. Verifying that the School Tour Supervisor has the U.S. Consulate contact information for the destination countries; and
        10. Identifying and specifying emergency procedures for the School Tour Supervisor.
      • While the trip is in progress, the principal or designee must:
        1. Maintain contact with the School Tour Supervisor on a daily basis and as needed during the trip;
        2. Have readily available emergency information and copies of travel documents for all students and chaperones including copies of passports, copies of visas, medical information including allergies and medications, and contact persons and numbers;
        3. Have available the name and telephone number of the tour operator or travel agency;
        4. Have available the address and telephone number of the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy in the destination countries;
        5. For home-stay arrangements, have available the name, address, telephone numbers and language capabilities of all host families; and
        6. In case of an emergency, notify parents/guardians of the students involved, the Network officer, and the Department of Education Policy and Procedures as soon as possible.
    5. Supervision

      • School Tour Supervisor Responsibilities
        1. Securing international cell phone access;
        2. Maintaining contact with the principal on a daily basis and as needed during the trip;
        3. Holding all emergency information for all trip participants including (passports, visas, medical information including allergies and medications, and contact persons and numbers in case of an emergency);
        4. Having available the address and telephone number of the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy;
        5. Having available the name and telephone number of the tour operator or travel agency;
        6. When applicable for home-stay arrangements, having available the name, address and telephone numbers of host families; and
        7. Developing and implementing a plan to ensure that student-participants’ classroom assignments are met.
      • Chaperone Responsibilities
        1. Chaperones must accompany students during the trip and while in transit to and from the travel destination;
        2. One (1) chaperone is required for every six (6) students. A minimum of two (2) certified teacher employees is required regardless of the number of students traveling; and 3. In case of an emergency, the chaperones must contact one of the following as soon as possible in the order given and subject to availability: principal, the Network officer, and the Department of Education Policy and Procedures.
    6. Insurance

      The principal must require that each student and chaperone participant secure travel insurance to cover trip cancellation and medical coverage consistent with the Department of Education Policy and Procedures travel guidelines. The Board is not responsible for any expense incurred due to the cancellation or rerouting of any trip for any reason.

    7. Reporting

      The Department of Education Policy and Procedures is responsible for reporting all approved Category 1 Trips to the Board in a monthly student travel report.

  • Requirements for Category 2 Trips - Trips within the U.S. that may include an overnight stay or trips having a total value of $10,000 or more

    • Approval Procedures

      • The principal must complete and submit the Student Travel e-Application no less than thirty (30) calendar days before the trip.
      • The Department of Education Policy and Procedures is responsible for granting the final approval of the Student Travel e-Application.
    • Supervision

      • The principal must appoint a School Tour Supervisor and identify trip chaperones in a ratio of one (1) adult to every six (6) students with a minimum of two (2) chaperones on every trip, one of whom must be a certified teacher employee.
      • For ROTC trips, Department of Education Policy and Procedures may approve a Network Office’s request for an exception to the chaperone ratio requirement noted in subsection (a) above and allow a ratio of one (1) adult to every ten (10) students with a minimum of two (2) chaperones on every trip, one of whom must be a certified teacher employee.
  • Requirements for Category 3 Trips - One-day field trips (with a total value of less than $10,000)

    1. Approval procedures
      • Neighborhood Walking Tours. Network Office approval is not required for walking tours of areas in and around the school neighborhood (for example, visits to nearby parks). The principal may authorize the walking tour if:
        • parents/guardians have provided consent on file for walking tours for the school year; and
        • the principal records the approval by completing a Student Travel e-Application for the walking tour.
      • All Other 1-Day Field Trips
        • The principal must submit the Student Travel e-Application to the Network Office for review at least five (5) workdays before the trip.
        • The Network Office is responsible for reviewing the Student Travel e-Application for compliance with this policy and giving final approval. The Network Office’s determination is final.
    2. Supervision
      • The principal must identify trip chaperones to accompany students in a ratio of one (1) adult to every ten (10) students, with a minimum of two (2) chaperones on every trip, one of whom must be a certified teacher employee.
      • If a trip involves one or two students, then one certified teacher or coach may chaperone with express permission from the principal and parent/guardian. If a trip involves a citywide event or activity, the principal must comply with the chaperone requirements specified for the type of event or activity in the Department of Education Policy and Procedures travel guidelines.
      • The principal is responsible for verifying and complying with the chaperone requirements of the facility or event being visited. If the facility or event requires a smaller chaperone ratio than this policy requires, the principal must appoint additional chaperones.
    3. Reporting

      The Department of Education Policy and Procedures is responsible for reporting all approved Category 1 Trips to the Board in a monthly student travel report.

  • Requirements for Category 4 Trips - Interscholastic competitions and other similar events with a total value of less than $10,000

    1. Approval Procedures
      • Scheduled Events

        The Principal is required to submitting season athletic schedules and ROTC semester or annual schedules using the Student Travel e-Application no less than five (5) workdays before the first trip in the schedule.

        • Interscholastic athletic events must have approval from the Network Office, Director of Sports Administration, and the Department of Education Policy and Procedures.
        • JROTC events must have approval from the Network Office, Director of ROTC, and the Department of Education Policy and Procedures.
        • All other interscholastic events require approval from the Network Office and Department of Education Policy and Procedures.
      • Unscheduled Events

        The Principal is required to submit the application for travel for non-scheduled interscholastic competitions, interscholastic athletic or ROTC events and other similar events, require the principal to complete and submit using the Student Travel e-Application to the Network Office for approval five (5) workdays before the date of the trip. The approval requirements in subsections (A)-(C) above apply to unscheduled events.

      • Overnight Events

        Interscholastic competitions, interscholastic athletic or ROTC events and other similar events that involves an overnight stay or has a total value of $10,000 or more is a Category 2 Trip and approval must follow all requirements in Section III.B. above.

    2. Supervision

      • Chaperones must accompany students in a ratio of one (1) adult to every ten (10) students with a minimum of two (2) chaperones on every trip, one of whom must be a certified, school-assigned teacher or coach.
      • If a trip involves one or two students, then one certified teacher or coach may chaperone with express permission from the principal and parent/guardian.

IV. Costs and Fees

  • Parental Notice - School Tour Supervisor is responsible for providing a written description of all costs of the trip to students and parents before accepting students for the trip.
  • Fee waiver - Schools adhere to the Policy Regarding Waiver of School Fees, Section 408.1, and provide a waiver of trip fees for Category 3 trips, if applicable.
  • Compliance with School Internal Accounts Manual - Schools must comply with the "School Internal Accounts Manual" for collecting, maintaining, and disbursing funds related to student trips.
  • Discretionary Funds – Discretionary funds such as may be used for student trips when permitted under the specific guidelines of the grant, and as approved by the funding agency.

V. Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities must not be denied participation in a student trip solely based on their disability. These students may require additional staff and accommodations which must be provided in accordance with the student's Individualized Education Program or Section 504 Plan at no additional cost to the student or parent/guardian. The principal must make special note of additional chaperones necessary for students with disabilities on the Student Travel e-Application.

VI. Transportation

The following transportation requirements apply to student trips authorized under this policy:

  • Licensed Carrier - When the total number of students is ten (10) or more, schools must use a school bus or licensed carrier appearing on the Department of Risk Management’s Approved Field Trip Vendor list, or CTA or RTA vehicles, or other public common carrier (Greyhound, Amtrak, etc.), or U.S. Military.
  • Private Vehicles Use - Use of private vehicles for student trips is strongly discouraged. However, when use of a private vehicle is the only feasible method of travel, such vehicles may be used only if the total number of passengers per vehicle (including the driver) is ten (10) or fewer and the following requirements are met:
    1. The private vehicle must be a motor vehicle designed to carry no more than ten (10) passengers (including the driver), with functioning seatbelts for each person;
    2. No more passengers (including the driver) may be transported in the private vehicle than the vehicle was designed to carry; and
    3. Any person requesting to transport students in a private vehicle must receive prior written approval from the principal and the parents or legal guardians of the students before being transported. This written approval must be given each time an individual seeks to transport a student in a private vehicle. No employee may transport any student without written consent from the principal and parent/legal guardian of the student. Principals must file an incident report if proper consent was not obtained before travel.
    4. The principal must ensure that the driver holds a valid driver's license and liability insurance of $300,000 for a vehicle manufactured to transport up to six (6) passengers or $500,000 for a vehicle manufactured to transport more than six (6) passengers.
    5. The principal must retain a photocopy of the driver's license and insurance documentation.
  • Passenger Vans - Fifteen (15) passenger vans must not be used to transport students or staff.

VII. Water Activities

  • The trip must comply with the Board’s policy on Aquatic Activity Safety, Section 604.6.
  • Non-applicability - The requirements of the policy on Aquatic Activity Safety, Section 604.6 do not apply to interscholastic swimming and diving competitions, nor to trips specifically arranged for swimming instruction taught by Red Cross-certified or comparably-certified personnel as part of the physical education curriculum.
  • Under no circumstances are students allowed to use sailboats, rowboats, canoes, or other recreational boats; this prohibition does not apply to student transport on U.S. Coast Guard approved commercial boat charters.

Policy References

Amends/Rescinds Amends 10-0526-PO1
Cross References 07-0725-PO1; 03-0527-PO01; 02-0828-PO04; 01-0926-PO1; 97-1217-PO1; 96-0925-PO2; 79-72-2
Legal References 820 ILCS 180/1 et seq.
Public Comment Pursuant to Board Rule 2-6 this Policy was subject to Public Comment from 6/15/21 to 7/16/21.

Policy and Procedures

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