School Trip Travel Safety
By Kevin Bartsch, MSGIA Assistant Director WC Pool Operations
As we begin what we hope will be a more normal school year, we prepare once more for the possibility of school-sponsored travel. As was the case prior to the pandemic, off-campus travel will accompany sporting events, field trips, and other similar activities. To help ensure that this return to school-related travel is safe, I have outlined below a number of general guidelines for the students, coaches, and sponsors.
First and foremost, when preparing for these types of school-related outings, it’s imperative to evaluate whether it is safe and appropriate to travel. In Montana, weather can change rapidly. If any type of weather event is taking place or likely imminent, monitor road conditions and weather reports closely so as to determine whether to go or not.
When loading and unloading under-bus storage compartments, always utilize proper body mechanics. A few moments taken to stretch hamstrings, low back muscles, and shoulders will help get the body ready for lifting. Also, the position of these compartments makes it challenging to lift in ways that are safe; so, when possible, use your legs when placing heavy equipment, bags, or other luggage into these compartments. And, whenever possible, get assistance so as to avoid injury. These same principles apply, of course, to loading materials into overhead storage bins inside the bus.
Once the bus is in motion, all passengers should be seated and buckled (when the bus is outfitted with seat buckles). If you are a passenger, pay attention to the driver’s actions to ensure she/he is operating in a safe manner and does not appear fatigued. If you notice something alarming, convey your concerns to the driver in a polite manner.
Once the bus arrives safely at the destination, take a few moments to stretch before unloading heavy equipment and baggage. This precaution is especially important following a long road trip. And on those characteristically long Montana outings, be sure to stop and take breaks at a park or rest areas. These breaks will benefit the driver as well as students and adult sponsors.
Finally, upon returning to the school—at that point when those onboard are likely feeling exhausted and eager to get home—encourage all riders to be safe when getting off of the van or bus and when unloading their bags and equipment; also, please ask that everyone take time to help ensure that the bus is cleaned and garbage collected so that the vehicle is ready for the storage facility and, after that, the next lucky group of riders.
As we turn the corner on summer and embark on this long-awaited return to something approximating normalcy, please do your part to help ensure that getting our students, staff, and faculty safely from Point A to B is a top priority. Be Safe! Return to newsletter