Field Trip | FAQs

FIELD TRIP DOCUMENTATION

Are there any sample forms available for use with field trips?
Yes - they are available in our Samples|Forms|Notifications page under Medication, or at the links below:

EXCLUSION Of STUDENT DUE TO DISABILITY

If a student’s health needs require professional nursing services on a field trip, can the student be excluded from the field trip if a nurse is not available to accompany the trip?
No, A student cannot be excluded from a field trip due to a medical condition or other disability. “As with extracurricular activities, districts must provide nonacademic services or benefits in a nondiscriminatory manner that allows disabled students an equal opportunity to participate. 34 C.F.R. §104.37(a)(1). In the student context, this issue arises primarily with respect to after-school programs, summer programs, field trips and recreational activities, all of which must be provided in a manner that allows for disabled students’ participation. Schools may not condition the provision of the nonacademic service on the parent’s attendance or provision of a babysitter, exclude disabled students, or charge a higher cost than that charged non-disabled students’ parents.  http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/

May a school require a parent or guardian to attend a field trip in order that their child may attend?
No, It is against federal law, to require parents of children with serious health issues to go on field trips per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It states that "Schools may not condition the provision of the nonacademic service on the parent’s attendance or provision of a babysitter, exclude disabled students, or charge a higher cost than that charged non-disabled students’ parents." Click here for additional information.

What is the outcome if a Nurse Dependent student has a medication order, and NO NURSE or PARENT or PARENT DESIGNEE is available to go on a class trip?
If a  nurse dependent student has a medication order, and NO NURSE or PARENT or PARENT DESIGNEE is available to go on a class trip to administer the medication, the TRIP should be cancelled or postponed because the child cannot be left out. An additional  resource for information on this issue is: Legal issues in school health services: A resource for school nurses, administrators and attorneys. N. Schwab & M. Gelfman (Eds.) (2001). Page 223- 225: Field trips: Students cannot be denied access to school programs and activities on the basis of their disability

MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION OR USE

Must the NYS Medication Guidelines be followed on a field trip?
Yes, The RN must follow the NYSED Medication Guidelines when administering medication students on a field trip, regardless of the length or location. This means that all students who will require medications during the duration of the trip need both a provider order and parent permission. Parents, whose students will require medications for the trip which they do not require on a daily basis at school, should obtain physician orders and  provide the medication. Chaperones should be notified of any controlled substance.

Does a nurse need to go on a field trip if a Nurse Dependent student going on the trip has an order for medication which must be administered during the trip.
Yes, if the parent or parent designee has not voluntarily chosen to accompany the student, only a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse under the direction of an RN may administer medication in NYS. Memos regarding these issues can be found on the Laws and Guidelines page of this website under the heading "Medications" as well as the A-Z Resource page, under "M" for Medications.

What procedures should be followed for Independent students who are permitted to self-carry and self-administer their medication by both their parent and health care provider?

  • Students who have been deemed Independent, are considered to be independent in their medication delivery. They may maintain their own non-prescription and prescription medications, which should be stored in the original OTC or pharmacy bottle. If there is concern about safety, a plan should be developed in conjunction with the school health staff, parent, student and school administrator.
  • For extended field trips, parents should provide the medication (prepared by student’s pharmacy) to the person in charge of the field trip. This medication may be carried by the student or the chaperone.
  • Schools should have written policies to address the use of medications on field trips which are clear to both students and parents. If a chaperone is given a medication at the last minute, it becomes a judgment call on the part of the chaperone and school administration. Each situation, medical condition, age of the child, kind of student, kind of parent, nature of the medication, nature of potential side effects, and likelihood of further difficulty from the medical condition must be considered.

Does a nurse need to go on a field trip if a Nurse Dependent student going on the trip has an order for an Epinephrine Auto Injector or Glucagon?
While only a nurse may administer medication to a nurse dependent student, the state has made an exception for epinephrine and glucagon. The school nurse can train a willing school volunteer to administer epinephrine auto-injectors (EAI) and/or glucagon to student with a specific order for either of these medications, in the event that no school nurse is present. Education Law Article 19 Section 921-a addresses this and can be found on the Laws and Guidelines page of this website under the heading "New York State Laws".

If a student has an order for an antihistamine as well as epinephrine, can the school nurse train a willing school volunteer to administer that in the absence of the school nurse?
No, the exception was made for epinephrine, not antihistamines. If this student is deemed Supervised, the school staff member may "assist" the student to administer his or her own anti-histamine, but may not "administer" the medication. If the student is not considered Supervised, then either the nurse, parent or parent designee must go to administer it if the antihistamine is part of the Emergency Care Plan.

OUT OF STATE/ FOREIGN COUNTRY FIELD TRIPS

How does the NYS Nurse Practice Act address NYS  school nurses traveling with students to other states as well as nurses in other states coming to New York?
There is an exemption in the Nurse Practice Act which covers NYS Registered Nurses (RNs) who accompany students on field trips to other states. They may provide care for NYS students as long as they do not hold themselves out to be “RNs” to anyone in the host state. The school nurse should contact the State Board of Nursing of the state to which he/she is traveling. The contact information for each state is located here. When asking questions about professional nursing, inquiries should also include the ability of unlicensed persons to provide care. 

New York has an exemption in the Nurse Practice Act so that RNs coming here are covered as long as they do not hold themselves out to be "RNs" to anyone in the host state. This relates to RNs coming HERE. It would be wise to check with the State Board of Nursing in the state you might be traveling to in order to confirm that state's specific laws and regulations.

Note: Because of the frequency of trips taken, we have confirmed with the states between here and Washington D.C. that a NYS school nurse can practice on a short term basis in another state if that nurse cares for his/her students only and does not hold themselves out to be an “RN” to others in that state.

If  NYS students are traveling through or to a different state or foreign country and the school nurse is accompanying them, how can the school nurse determine what the nursing practice rules are in that state or country?

If traveling out of the country the U.S. Embassy can provide direction for the appropriate contact for that country. Considerations should be given to the following:

    • Obtain permission for emergency treatment as determined by staff.
    • Check to see if the school has or requires the students to have an insurance policy for medical care which would include emergency transport back to the US if needed.
    • Check for any Health Alerts for that country to determine if any needed additional immunizations are needed.
    • Check prescription medications. Carry all medications on the plane, do not pack them.
    • Current contact information for parents is essential and should include cell, work, home, emergency contact, medical provider.
    • District counsel should give final approval of the consent form.

CANADIAN FIELD TRIPS

Each province in Canada is governed under different legislation and the provinces to which the students will travel should be contacted for guidance. Most provinces require Canadian registration to practice in that province. 

  • Contact the Canadian Nurses Association to obtain the listing of the Provincial and Territorial Nursing bodies here.
  • Any individual who intends to physically practice nursing in Ontario, Canada must be registered in Ontario. At this time, they do not have exemptions in place for specific jurisdictions. This applies regardless of whether or not the individual patient is a non-Canadian or temporary visitor. You can direct practice-related inquiries to www.cno.org/PracticeSupport.

PARENT DESIGNEES

Guidelines for Administration of Medication in Schools (2015) states:
A parent/guardian may choose to appoint a parent designee who is a friend or family member to act in their place and administer medication to their child at a single school event or field trip. The appointment of a parent designee is the choice of the parent/guardian, and school personnel may not require a parent/guardian to appoint one.
See http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/schoolhealth/schoolhealthservices/fieldtrips.pdf

Administration of Medications to Students During School-Sponsored Events by Parent/Guardian Designee Memo and Sample Form  (9/2009) This memo allows a parent to voluntarily choose (designate) a family member or friend to administer medication to their child at school or a school-sponsored event. If the parent chooses not to designate someone, and the student is Nurse Dependent, then a nurse will need to administer medication to a Nurse Dependent student. School personnel are not intended to act as the designee for numerous students.

    • It is best practice that the parent provides the medication to the designee.
    • A sample form is provided. It must be completed for each instance that the parent requests the designee to administer the medication.
    • This memo does not alter previous guidance allowing willing, trained school personnel to administer emergency epinephrine or glucagon.

PLANNING

Nurses should consider providing chaperones with Emergency Care Plans (see samples in our SN Tool Kit) for any student with a potentially life-threatening health issue.

VISITING NYS FROM OTHER STATES OR COUNTRIES

What Guidance is there for nurses/students traveling to NYS from other states?
Pursuant to Education Law Article 139 Section 6908, Nursing Care, including medication administration, may be provided by an RN licensed in a state other than NY to a resident (student) of another state while the nurse and the student are temporarily in NY, i.e. field trip, vacation, etc., provided that the nurse does not hold him/herself out as being one who is licensed to practice nursing in New York. NYS does not permit unlicensed persons to administer medications (both prescription and non-prescription) to students, with exceptions for epinephrine auto-injectors and glucagon: unlicensed personnel may be trained by an RN, NP, PA, or physician to administer either of those two medications in an emergency to students with patient-specific orders for such.  Unlicensed personnel are permitted to assist a student to take their own medications if the student is considered self-directed.  A student may be considered supervised only if he/she is consistently able to do all of the following:

    • Administer the medication to him/herself via the correct route
    • Identify the correct medication (e.g., color, shape)
    • Identify the purpose of the medication (e.g., to improve attention)
    • Determine the correct dosage is handed to them (e.g., one tablet, 2 puffs, 3 units, etc.) if they cannot pour own medication for dexterity issue.
    • Identify the time the medication is needed during the school day (e.g., lunchtime, before/after recess, etc.)
    • Know the parameters or conditions under which the medication is to be taken, and will refuse to take the medication if the parameters or condition(s) are not met. (e.g. blood glucose or vital sign ranges that are acceptable to take medication, or taken only for headache, shortness of breath, etc.)
    • Describe what will happen if medication is not taken (e.g., unable to complete schoolwork, blood glucose will elevate, etc.)
    • Refuse to take medication if the student has any concerns about its appropriateness.

Additional questions may be directed to the NYS Office of Professions at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/nurse/nursecontact.htm

Page last updated 2/3/20