International Academic Field Trips take on liability in addition to that normally associated with domestic field trips. Documenting your discussions with students on the hazards of the trip is essential so, whenever possible, instructions to students should be put in writing.
Every trip should require attendance at one orientation meeting (minimum) where the following information should be covered
- Arrangements for any out-of-country visas, immunizations, etc.
- Discuss travel and packing tips, medical and health concerns, modes of transportation, hours of departure and return.
- Review background information pertaining to upcoming cultural differences that a student may experience while visiting foreign countries.
- Obtain waivers and health forms. Participants should file a waiver for medical treatment and a health questionnaire explaining any special medical problems or needs to the trip leader. All forms that are required for students to sign must be completed and collected at that time.
- Remind participants to carry sufficient personal medication supplies and physician documentation for medication to last the length of travel or to replace medication lost during the trip.
- Review emergency preparedness processes and the crisis response plan
- Provide current health and safety information to participants (i.e. prophylactic precautions, viral infections carried by insects and how to protect themselves against known infectious disease breakouts - check with the World Health Organization). Provide information about emergency medical assistance, emergency evacuation, and repatriation procedures. Review options for medical insurance coverage for foreign travel.
- Identify health and safety products or services that may not be available at overseas locations.
- Conduct orientation briefings once the destination is reached which include information on health and safety, legal, environmental, political, cultural and religious conditions in the host country.
- Communicate codes of conduct for staff and students, addressing such issues as fraternizing, consuming alcohol, controlling activities, and conduct during “free time”. Advise participants of the consequences of non-compliance and take appropriate action when aware that participants are in violation.
- Review International Programs Policies and Procedures.
In Addition, Risk Management recommends you include the following liability limiting tips in classroom discussions:
- The University’s policy on the use of drugs and alcohol and associated legal concerns that may apply to the destination city/country.
- Understanding that the University’s standards of student behavior are still in effect during the entire trip.
- Review of the conduct between students and faculty, program administrators and others with regard to sexual-harassment and assault, including reporting procedures.
- Details of crime and safety risks in the destination city/country they will visit.
- Identification of possible physical risks that may be encountered in each of the planned visitation areas.
- Safe practices for the consumption of food and drink.
- Emergency procedures including communication procedures.
- Explanation of transportation risks and precautions within the foreign country.
- Any requirements or accommodations required for disabled students or those with special needs.
Remember, the intent of liability limiting procedures is not to inhibit the educational experience but rather to help faculty make decisions that are in their own interest and for the protection of their students and the University.
Foreign Travel Insurance
All University sanctioned travel must be approved. See: Procedures for the Approval of Academic Travel for details. University Risk Management processes foreign travel insurance (FTIP) for all University approved foreign trips as a cost effective and prudent method of providing for financing of the specialized risks related to foreign travel. The FTIP is designed to provide automatic coverage for faculty, students and others while traveling abroad. Program coverage for the University is primary and with no deductible thereby protecting the existing University insurance programs from increased claims and filling the “deductible gap.” Program coverage for students and staff meets or exceed common limits and provides primary coverage if the student has no health insurance. The insurance coverage under the FTIP exceeds regular travel insurance available from travel agencies or other insurance retailers which do not protect the University. Insurance coverage for international field trips cannot exceed 30 days. For “Study Abroad” programs, other arrangements must be made. Refer to guidelines on International Programs.
The California State University Risk Management Authority (CSURMA), in conjunction with AIG WORLDRISK, developed the Foreign Travel Liability Insurance Program to (1) address the financing of losses related to foreign travel, and (2) provide travel assistance services for University employees and students.
For an insurance quotation please contact the Risk Management Department (909) 537-3939 and provide the information requested well in advance of your planned trip.