With school in full-swing across the U.S., many classes will take field trips over the course of the academic year. These excursions can bring excitement for students as they explore new areas, have fun with friends and teachers outside of the classroom, and for some – get to enjoy a rare ride on the school bus.
While some students take the school bus daily, other students might only take it on special occasions, like field trips. Because of this, drivers have passengers on the bus who aren’t familiar with school bus safety precautions.
Below are tips for students, drivers and teachers for how to make sure safety comes first while on the bus during a field trip.
Because some students on the field trip do not ride the bus regularly, drivers should give passengers a brief safety overview before letting the students on the bus.
To start, drivers should instruct students on how to properly wait for the bus, and how to get on and off safely. Their tips, as recommended by NSC.org, can include:
- Avoid roughhousing or playing near the bus. This behavior can cause students to lose focus and potentially put themselves in a dangerous position around the bus or other traffic.
- Wait for the bus in a safe space – not in the street near traffic.
- Do not enter the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the door opens.
- Use the handrail when getting on and off the bus.
- When exiting, do not cross in front of the bus until the driver signals it’s safe to do so.
Once the students are seated on the bus, the driver should convey safety guidelines passengers should follow for the duration of the trip. According to NSC.org, these can include:
- Stay in your seat at all times.
- If available, wear a seatbelt.
- Keep the aisles clear.
- Keep your head, arms and hands in the bus (and not out the windows).
- Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting up and preparing to exit.
- Make sure you take all necessary items off the bus before exiting.
Before dropping the passengers off at the field-trip destination, drivers should talk to the teachers and chaperones to designate a pick-up spot and time to return to the school. At least one adult should also have the bus driver’s contact information in case the pick-up time or location needs to be adjusted.
Teachers and Chaperones
Before taking students on a field trip, teachers and chaperones need to prepare students for the bus ride and the activity. Here are some ways adults can prepare for field trips:
- Review bus safety procedures with students before the field trip.
- Make sure each child turned in a permission slip.
- Keep an accurate headcount of students when boarding – both at the school and at the field trip location.
- Get contact information for each teacher and chaperone so adults have a way to communicate if needed.
- Pack a first-aid kit.
- Bring a list of emergency contact information for each student.
- Set up a check-in plan for the day’s activities, including where and when to meet the bus.
When riding the bus on a field trip, students are responsible for following all guidelines set by the bus driver, teachers and chaperones. Students should also make sure they are where they are supposed to be throughout the day, including at school on time, with their designated group throughout the day, and at the assigned pick-up point at the field trip location. Above all, students need to listen to instructions from the driver, teachers and chaperones.
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