College of Health Professions

Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science

Student Handbook 2011-2012

V. Department Information: Didactic Coursework

D. Field Trip Liability Form

The Department follows the University Policy on Field Trips. Faculty members are responsible for reviewing the entire university policy ( )

Below are excerpts of the policy that was retrieved on 6/8/2011 from the Towson University Faculty Handbook, Approved 1991, (p. 7-23 to 7-29).

A field trip is defined as “a group experience related to a class, a University-recognized organization, or a department-sponsored activity outside of the university setting under the direct supervision of a University representative.” (p. 7-24) Within the Department of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Science, the term “field trip” also can refer to any class/course related community activity.

Guidelines for field trips:

A. Academic Issues

The academic content of a field trip required as part of or offered in association with a credit-bearing course shall be the responsibility of the sponsoring department.

Faculty members whose courses require participation in field trips must state this requirement at the beginning of the semester (preferably in the course syllabus). Faculty members should attempt to schedule required field trips so that they impact on attendance in classes as little as possible. If a planned field trip causes a student to miss classes other than in the course in which the field trip occurs, the faculty member cannot require the student to attend the field trip and miss the other classes or the field trip must be the decision of the student. The faculty member in the course in which the field trip occurs can require an alternative activity, such as a project or paper, involving approximately the same time commitment.

Faculty are expected to remain on-site for the duration of the field trip in case of unexpected occurrences.

B. Transportation Issues

Refer to the full university policy to review the procedures for using university vehicles and transportation of students. Faculty are not to transport students in their personal vehicles. University vehicles may be requested to transport groups of students.

C. Liability Issues

1. The State Self Insurance Trust Fund provides insurance coverage for faculty/staff who are acting in the scope of their employment (in the State of Maryland) who may be sued for injuries that occur on field trips. The obligation of faculty/staff who supervise field trips is to exercise reasonable care in light of foreseeable risks to students. Faculty/staff have no duty to insure the “health, safety, and welfare” of students. Faculty/staff, however, are obligated to disclose risks to students prior to a field trip, and to exercise reasonable care during a field trip.

2. Faculty/staff are only legally responsible for risks for which they have knowledge or direct control. The State Torts Claims Act covers faculty/staff in instances where there is no malice or gross negligence. Willful acts are not covered by this Act.

3. There is no “insurance,” per se, on state vehicles. Fleet coverage on state vehicles is provided by the State Self Insurance Trust Fund. The State Treasurer has purchased insurance to cover university employees who operate state vehicles out of state. The state requires that faculty/staff who rent cars or vans for field trips must purchase the insurance provided by the vehicle rental company.

All students who participate in a field trip should sign a liability waiver (“release”) (see attached) prior to the field trip. The liability waiver must be signed by the parent or guardian of any student who is under 18 years of age. A liability waiver and health statement has been prepared by the University Counsel and is included in this section. Neither of these documents needs to be notarized.

Liability Waiver Form (pdf)

Department consent is required for admission to all occupational therapy major courses.




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