Group LeadersStudent TripsTravel

What to Do If a Student Gets Sick on a School Trip

By January 21, 2015 January 10th, 2017 No Comments

Student Gets Sick

Motion sickness. Nausea. Dehydration.

Are we making your stomach swirl?

Unfortunately, young students can and do get sick on school trips.  Some experience a sudden onset of motion sickness while traveling to their destination. Others overeat or make poor food choices while away from their parents. Still some become lightheaded after not hydrating throughout the day. Others are truly sick from a virus or other illness.

If a student gets sick, what can you do?


Prepare   in   Advance:

Become as organized as possible before the trip so that you are ready for any situation. Give yourself the peace of mind you crave by taking these steps.

  • Collect Medical Forms – This form authorizes emergency medical treatment for a tour participant and must be signed by a parent/guardian.
  • Prepare Bus Bags – Scholastica provides a bus organization bag for each bus leader to help you prepare for all bus circumstances. Whether it be motion sickness or slow traffic, you will be ready!
  • Encourage School Nurse to Attend Trip – A school nurse can be an invaluable resource on a school trip should a health emergency arise.
  • Bring an Additional Chaperone – If a student needs to leave the group, an additional chaperone can assist the student without any adjustment to overall group supervision.
  • Prepare List of Nearest Hospitals and Transportation Services – Your tour leader will be able to assist you in this manner. However, knowing the hospitals closest to your hotel and the transportation options available will ease your mind and help in an emergency.
  • Prepare List of Emergency Contact Numbers – Organize the emergency contact numbers from the medical forms in a spreadsheet alongside student names. Print and carry with you throughout the trip.
  • Encourage Students with Known Motion Sickness to Sit at the Front of the Bus – Help students with motion sickness be as comfortable as possible. Let them sit in the front with their pillow…and a trash can, just in case.
  • Discuss Healthy Eating with Students – Encourage students to limit their intake of soda, greasy foods, and sugar.
  • Have Students Pack a Set of Clothes for the Bus – Sickness can come on suddenly. An extra set of clothes on the bus can bring much needed comfort to a student without the hassle (and time delay) of locating luggage under the motor coach.
  • Encourage Students to Stay Hydrated – Spring trip weather can be very warm. Remind students several times throughout the day to continue drinking water and to alert you immediately if they feel light headed or dizzy. Another option is to bring case(s) of water on the bus to distribute to students.


If   a   Student   Gets   Sick   en   Route:
  • Wear Gloves If Cleanup Is Necessary – Protect yourself by having several sets of disposable gloves on the bus if an area needs cleaned immediately.
  • Move Student to Front of Bus – Ease motion sickness and possible student embarrassment by moving the student to a front seat until they feel better.
  • Take an Earlier Comfort Stop – Coordinate with your tour leader and motor coach operator to make an earlier comfort stop if a change of clothes and fresh air are needed right away.


If   a   Student   Gets   Sick   at   Destination:
  • Notify Parents Immediately – Whether you or the student makes the phone call, be sure that the parents are informed as soon as possible.
  • Arrange Transportation as Needed – If student needs to go to the hospital but it is not a critical emergency, the tour leader can assist with transportation arrangements.. The tour leader(s) will stay with the group and continue the trip as planned.
  • Encourage Student to Rest –  If needed, encourage the student to rest at hotel longer in the morning and have a parent or chaperone stay with student. Discuss with tour leader the best ways and times for them to meet the group later in the day.

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