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Risk Management Check List for Off-Campus Experiences

While COVID-19 will change how students engage in off-campus activities, students can still participate in meaningful experiences with some additional precautions. As with any off-campus experience, faculty or staff who oversee the activities should take time to plan and prepare so that students are as safe as possible when they’re off campus. The following list has been created to help those overseeing off-campus experiences manage pandemic-specific risks and is not meant to replace general risk management measures related to these experiences. Additionally, because these experiences will vary (an internship would have different risks than fieldwork, for example), not all items on the list will be relevant for all experiences, and some experiences will require additional pandemic-related risk mitigation measures.

Please note: Faculty considering research and fieldwork experiences should review this information from the Office of Research and Engagement, and those considering fieldwork will need to submit this form to their department head and dean or associate dean for approval prior to moving forward with the experience.

  • Begin planning by reviewing the following resources:
  • Review Fleet Management’s vehicle use guidelines
    • When possible, use Fleet Management vehicles to transport students to and from off-campus experiences
    • Avoid public transportation
  • Visit any sites to which students will be expected to travel so that you can more accurately assess potential risks. Consider especially:
    • The ability for students to physically distance during the experience
    • The availability of running water and soap for handwashing
    • The amount of time required to travel to and from the site
    • Cell phone reception and proximity to an available landline
  • Research community spread in the area of the site and avoid sending students anywhere under a shelter in place order or with widespread community transmission
    • Also consider the route students will have to take to the site and avoid having students travel through any areas under a shelter in place order
  • Contact any learning partners to discuss safety measures and protocols that may be specific to their site
    • If possible, meet with those partners during your site visit
    • Ensure that any learning partners present during students’ fieldwork are willing to help enforce physical distancing and other safety measures you establish
  • As you design your experience, build in flexibility in case a student needs to leave early or reschedule due to illness
  • Consider options for accommodating individuals whose risk factors (i.e., older in age, immunocompromised, chronic medical conditions, etc.) may prevent them from participating

  • Discuss risk management with students
  • Go over COVID-19 precautions with students such as
    • Carry hand sanitizer, gloves, and disinfectant into the field
    • Refrain from sharing equipment if possible
    • If you must share equipment, wipe down with a disinfectant between uses
    • Wear a mask at all times, including and especially inside any vehicle
  • Demonstrate proper technique to don, remove, and dispose of PPE for students
  • Co-author with your students a pledge for all to sign, outlining the safety precautions you and they will follow while participating in the experience
  • Divide students into groups according to transportation limitations set by Fleet Management
  • Have students complete the emergency response contact form with the appropriate phone numbers for their group members

  • In case of limited cell phone reception, ensure all students have a hard copy of
    • The emergency response contact form
    • Their signed pledge
    • Any other safety procedures
  • Avoid stopping at restaurants/gas stations, which increase opportunities for exposure
    • Students should bring their own water bottles and may bring their own food or other beverages
    • Students should not share food or beverages
  • Ensure that you have a list of who is traveling with whom, who will be working together onsite, and when they will be onsite in case contact tracing is necessary
  • Ensure that students have the proper equipment (listed above)
  • Ask participants to monitor their health before embarking on the experience by
    • Taking their temperature
    • Staying home if feeling ill or have a temperature
  • If any student begins to feel ill at any point during the experience, they should leave immediately and contact the appropriate person or people on the emergency contact form
  • Have students contact you when they arrive at the site and when they leave

  • Have students contact you upon their return
  • Conduct a debriefing of the experience with student participants
  • Ensure any equipment students used is properly disinfected


This list was compiled with suggestions from the following sources:

CSUSB, Risk Management. (n.d.). Managing risk in internships.

University of Vermont Risk Management & Safety. (2020). Field research resumption checklist.

University of California, Davis, Safety Services. (2020). COVID 19 and field operations.

University of Maryland, Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability & Risk. (n.d.) Daily assessment of risk for field research during severe research restrictions.

University of Tennessee, Office of Research and Engagement. (n.d.). COVID-19 research facilities.

University of Waterloo, Safety Office. (2009). Fieldwork risk management form.