Emergency Responses in Our Schools:  Field Trips

As you know, safety is a top priority for Hanover County Public Schools.  The horrific events of September 11, 2001, and the sniper attack in October 2002, and the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007, have made our schools even more acutely aware of potential risks to our students and our community. 
In addition to traditional fire and tornado drills, HCPS works proactively with the Hanover Sheriff’s Office, the Ashland Police Department, Hanover Fire and EMS, and other human services agencies on behalf of the safety of our students and staff.  In the late 1990s, a Seven-Point Safety Offense was designed to eliminate violence in schools and support security on school property.  For more information about the Seven-Point Safety Offense, <click here>.
Each school in our county has a well-developed crisis management plan in place that addresses many kinds of school emergencies. Although all the plans have similar guidelines and recommendations, each school’s crisis management team will implement a response that is appropriate for a particular situation that arises, taking into account the particular facility, the age-level of the students, and the specifics of the emergency. For more information about emergency responses in our schools, <click here>.  

An additional piece of the emergency response plan has been a review of school-sponsored instructional field trips in light of the national alert status.  With the understanding that the approval of field trips is contingent upon the existence of a safe climate for travel at the time of the departure of the group, the Division-wide Safety Advisory Committee, including parents, teachers, principals, instructional leaders and public safety officials, met to discuss ways to effectively manage field trips in light of each level of alert.  In the interest of the safety and security of our students and staff, the following guidelines have been developed for school-sponsored instructional field trips:  

RED (Severe)

Under a national “Red Alert” field trips will not be permitted.

Field trips that require travel through or to areas that are under a RED alert at the time of departure will not be permitted.


ORANGE (High) 


All field trips (local day trips, local overnight trips, out of state trips, and international trips) will be reviewed on an individual basis. 


YELLOW (Elevated)   


International field trips will be reviewed on an individual basis.

All other field trips will be approved in accordance with Hanover County School Board Policy. 


BLUE/GREEN (Guarded/Low)

 All field trips will be approved in accordance with Hanover County School Board Policy.

Principals will review all field trips currently planned using the above guidelines and will communicate any changes in plans with teachers, students and parents as soon as possible.


 We will keep parents informed of any other precautions that may be implemented as part of our crisis management plan. It is important to remember during these very anxious times, that our children need reassurance from their families, their teachers, their principals and other school staff in order to go about their daily activities.  Recognizing that we live in a time in which threats are a reality that we must acknowledge and for which we must prepare, we must also work together to maintain a secure environment and school days that are as normal as possible in these extraordinary times. 

 Thank you for your support as we work together as a community on behalf of our children.