College Role in Approving Safety Protocols for Field Trips and Experiential Learning Environments Involving Human Subjects

Date:       July 13. 2020
To :          College Deans    
From:      Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Chair         

                On behalf of the Fall Planning Academic Continuity Working Group  
Subject:  College role in approving safety protocols for field trips and experiential learning environments involving human subjects

The Academic Continuity Working Group has developed general guidance for academic units to help ensure safety for students, faculty, and staff in these types of learning spaces. In making these recommendations, we acknowledge that these types of learning experiences are very individualized, and in many cases, individual decisions will need to be made at the college or department level.

Safety Protocols for Field Trips

Programs and faculty that have required field trips as part of a course should follow several guidelines to promote and maintain safety during the field trip. If these guidelines cannot be met, the field trip should be cancelled.

  • Refer to the Cyclones Care campaign as a framework to promote healthy behaviors that are important not only in the classroom but also when students are off campus
  • Complete the appropriate field trip participant agreement from ISU Office of Risk Management (https://www.riskmanagement.iastate.edu/travel/field-trips-other)
  • Follow university guidance on use of university vehicles
  • Ensure all participants have appropriate PPE for the setting
  • Outline expectations for field trip participation in the course syllabus, including PPE and physical distancing requirements
  • Ensure field trip destination can accommodate university COVID-19 safety expectations (e.g. PPE, physical distancing, disinfecting surfaces, etc.)
  • If necessary, organize schedule for limited group/class size based on field trip destination capacity
  • Develop processes to inform students of alternate course options. Options may include delaying registration to a future semester or choosing another course, since many experiential learning activities cannot be effectively replicated in an online format

Safety Protocols for Experiential Academic Experiences Involving Human Subjects at On or Off-Campus Venues

Many academic programs and courses have experiential academic experiences that involve human subjects such as interviewing community members, service learning projects, independent study projects, or internships. These experiential academic experiences may occur on campus or off campus. Programs and faculty that have these required experiences as part of a course should follow several guidelines to promote and maintain safety. If these guidelines cannot be met, the experiential academic experience should be cancelled.  

  • Refer to the Cyclones Care campaign as a framework to promote healthy behaviors that are important not only in the classroom but also when students are off campus
  • If travel off campus using a university vehicle is required, follow university guidance on use of university vehicles
  • Ensure all participants have appropriate PPE for the setting
  • Outline expectations for experiential academic experience in the course syllabus, including PPE and physical distancing requirements
  • If conducting the experience at an off-campus venue, ensure the destination can accommodate university COVID-19 safety expectations (e.g. PPE, physical distancing, disinfecting surfaces, etc.)
  • If necessary, organize schedule for limited group/class size based on venue destination capacity
  • Develop processes to inform students of alternate course options. Options may include delaying registration to a future semester or choosing another course, since many experiential learning activities cannot be effectively replicated in an online format