What's The Risk Of A School Field Trip?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 10:30 AM, Aug 12, 2020

As the school year starts, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19.  

We asked the experts, what's the risk of a field trip?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from a field trip is high risk.

"Any travel increases your risk. And any time you have groups larger than 10, the risk of spreading any type of infectious disease increases," Neysa Ernst, Johns Hopkins Biocontainment Unit nurse manager, said.

"In addition to actually riding the bus, you're actually also going to another location where they may or may not have all the same safety procedures in place that you have at your school," Cleveland Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Frank Esper said.

"One thing that could be done is increase the number of teachers or chaperones that go on those field trips so that kids can be broken down into smaller cohorts together. So that way there are few of them that are clustering together, that could lower the risk a little bit," Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medical Center, said.

"I would absolutely say the schools are not ready to go back to indoor field trips. I do think that there may be some walking field trips that might be exciting for students to take. We know that in lower grades, a lot of students take walking field trips to the fire station and they take walking trips to their neighborhood parks. And so where those can be implemented with fidelity and social distancing, I think that outdoor field trips would be really a great idea for students. But I do think that having indoor field trips to like museums and aquariums, that might be a bit off-limits for now," Annette Anderson, deputy director for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, told Newsy.

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit