The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has released a new policy guide on international student travel to help school boards anticipate and interpret important legal considerations and planning issues before students reach the departure gate.
This innovative guide, “BON VOYAGE! A Legal and Policy Making Guide for School Boards on International Student Travel,” provides vital information explaining the three types of international student travel, which include school sponsored and school district managed, school sponsored and tour-company managed, and non-school sponsored/private trips, providing guidance on recommended district-led policies for each. In addition, the report promotes improved understanding of outside tour companies, insurance policies, liability issues, and academic credit programs.
“Paving the way to successful international travel requires informed readiness,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director. “This guide will help school boards understand the important questions they should be asking to ensure that districts and students conduct the planning steps essential to optimize overall return on investment and enhance students’ travel experience.”
Hundreds of thousands of students from U.S. public schools learn about the various countries and cultures of the world by traveling abroad each year in structured tour groups. These trips are often organized by teachers or the more than 250 tour companies that offer student packages.
The guide advises that every school board have a policy on international student travel. The document, which is laid out in a question-and-answer format, shows school board members the important details to consider, such as the educational value of a trip and class credits, the types of insurance to purchase, how to make clear to participants whether a trip is either school sponsored or non-school sponsored, and policies and procedures for school-sponsored trips. It also advises school board members to consult a school attorney to review their policies.