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Course-Related Field Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Risk Management and Safety Requirements



Some types of field work may be on campus, using Cal Poly as a "living laboratory," and some may be off-campus, either at a Cal Poly-owned site (e.g., the Cal Poly Pier and Swanton Pacific Ranch) or at a location not owned by Cal Poly. Both types require written face-to-face (F2F) safety plans; however, off-campus field work, i.e., field trips, may involve activities that increase risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other hazards. Both will require precautions:

  • On-campus field work. Such an experience is consistent with state guidance, which encourages institutions of higher education to "consider use of non-classroom space for instruction, including regular use of outdoor space." Precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 shall be specified in a F2F safety plan in a manner similar to an indoor, in-person laboratory or activity.
  • Off-campus field work. While off-campus field work is currently restricted by the Chancellor's Office, exceptions may be permitted if they are shown to be essential to achieving the course learning outcomes. Precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 shall be specific in a F2F safety plan, and a proposal shall be submitted for review and approval as described below.

In the case of off-campus field work, the process will be as follows:

  • Review and approval of proposal by the department head/chair and dean/associate dean
  • Review by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Risk Management (RM), and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
  • Review and approval of Form 1A by the department head/chair, dean, provost, and president

The COVID-19 Travel Request Forms (A-2 for faculty/staff and B for students) are not required for field trips.

The complete proposal will consist of the following documents:

  • A F2F safety plan
  • The Pre-Trip Evaluation Worksheet (available here)
  • The leader portion of the University Field Activities Notification (available here)
  • The Travel Pre-Authorization Form (1A) form (available here)

After approval by the department head/chair and the dean, the first three documents will be submitted by the designated college representative to the EOC, RM, and EHS for review; the designated representative will be given access to a OneDrive folder for this purpose. The documents may then be returned to the college for revision and resubmittal. The Travel Pre-Authorization Form (1A) will then be submitted via AdobeSign for review and approval by the department head/chair, dean, provost, and president. A three-week turnaround is recommended for the entire process.

Before going on the field trip, each student must complete the following documents and then submit them to the department as a single PDF:

  • The student portion of the University Field Activities Notification
  • The Release of Liability (University Release Agreement available here)
  • The COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines (available here)

Consistent with the existing field trip policy, all these documents must be collected and maintained for three years by the college (see Table 1: Documents Required for In-Person Learning).

 

Field Trips Defined


EO 1062, the system policy on field trips, defines "field trips" as follows:

A field trip is a university course-related, off-campus activity led by a faculty or staff member and designed to serve educational purposes. A field trip would include the gathering of data for research (such as at a geological or archaeological site), museum visit, participation in a conference or competition, or visits to an event or place of interest. The duration of a field trip may be a class period or longer, and could extend over multiple days. This definition does not apply to activities or placements in the context of a teacher preparation program, intercollegiate sports, or service-learning placements, all of which are governed under separate policy.

The definition in the existing campus policy on field trips is a simplified restatement of the system definition. Both would suggest that on-campus field work should not be restricted under a pandemic-related field trip policy.

 

TABLE 1: Documents Required for In-Person Learning


 

 

PROPOSAL Student
LOCATION

F2F

Safety Plan

Pre-Trip

Evaluation

Worksheet

University Field

Activities

Notification

Travel

Pre-Authorization

Form (1A)

University Field

Activities

Notification

Release of

Liability

COVID-19

Guidelines

INDOORS —

SLO CAMPUS

Required

N/A N/A N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

OUTDOORS —

SLO CAMPUS

Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
SWANTON PACIFIC RANCH Required Required Required Required Required Required Required
CAL POLY PIER Required Required Required Required Required Required Required

OTHER OFF-CAMPUS CAL POLY PROPERTY

Required

Required Required Required

Required

Required

Required

OFFSITE AND OUTDOORS

Required

Required Required Required Required Required

Required


 

Last updated March 8, 2021

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Academic Programs and Planning 
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General Email
acadprog@calpoly.edu