College Role in Approving Safety Protocols for Overnight Field Trips

January 20, 2021 (Updated February 8, 2021)

The Academic Continuity Working Group has developed general guidance for academic units to help mitigate risk for students, faculty, and staff involved in overnight field trips. This guidance should be considered alongside the general field trip guidance that was issued in July 2020. All field trips must be approved by the relevant department chair and college associate dean.

Overnight Field Trips

ISU travel and transportation guidelines are grounded in the ISU COVID-19 Response and Office of Risk Management safety protocols. Instructors must understand and agree to abide by all university COVID health and safety procedures. Please consult weekly ISU updates on COVID-19. In addition, instructors should review current CDC guidance for additional information as it relates to travel considerations, return policies, and preventive measures you should take to protect you and your students.

Before the Travel:

  • Check the field trip destination and accommodation COVID-19 prevention practices before departure.


  • Each traveler must have their own individual accommodation (e.g. hotel room)
  • Avoid use of common areas (e.g. lounge areas, dining areas/kitchens, game rooms, pools, etc.) that may lead to close contact (within 6 feet) with people.
  • Avoid sharing the elevator with other hotel guests.


  • Face coverings will be always required during travel.
  • All participants will be required to wash/sanitize hands before/after entering the vehicle.
  • Commercial air, bus and metro trains
    • It is strongly recommended that university travel not involve transportation via shared carrier, including but not limited to airline flight, train, or commercial bus.
    • If shared carrier transportation is required, travelers must follow the guidance and policies of any shared carrier used in connection with the travel.
  • Taxi, Uber, Lyft, and commercial shuttle
    • All participants will travel in vehicles at 50% capacity.
    • Travelers must follow guidance, policies and seating limitations of service provider.
  • State or personal vehicles (This section has been updated February 8, 2021)
    • Refer to the ISU Transportation Services website for guidance on vehicle occupancy and occupant behavior expectations. The bullets below summarize this guidance.
    • Whenever possible, use university vehicles for university business rather than personally-owned vehicles
    • All vehicle occupants must wear face coverings while in the vehicle. 
    • Vehicle occupancy should be reduced as much as possible; at a minimum “bench” seats in mini-vans, suburbans, and vans should be limited to two individuals per bench, and individuals must sit as far apart as the vehicle allows (while ensuring everyone is in a seat with a seat belt and applicable University policies are followed)
    • All drivers and passengers are expected to wash or sanitize their hands before and after each trip. Refer to the CDC guidelines for protecting yourself while using transportation. 
    • Whenever possible, seek to minimize stops while traveling.

Meals and Dining

  • Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service, or stores when possible.
  • If using a delivery service, choose no-contact options whenever possible. Otherwise, stay at least 6 feet away from the delivery person.
  • If you dine at a restaurant:
    • Individuals are required to follow the current University face covering protocols.
    • Maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more in any entryway, hallway or waiting area.
    • When possible, sit outside at tables spaced at least 6 feet apart.


  • Students are required to comply with and sign the Office of Risk Management Field Trip Participation Agreement.
  • Any participant who shows COVID-19 symptoms will NOT travel prior to 10 days of being symptom free.
  • Any participant who tests positive will NOT be allowed to travel prior to 10 days of self-isolation.
  • Whenever possible during travel keep at least 6 feet from others.
  • Bring an adequate supply of sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.