Will Students Be Able To Go On School Trips Again?
By: Nora Delehanty
Museums, parks, and Broadway shows are field trips that are familiar to students city-wide. However, students in NYC have not been able to go on any field trips ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began back in 2020. Now that schools are back to a regular schedule this year, students wonder what policies are creating these restrictions, and whether or not those restrictions will be lifted anytime soon. The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) FSSA community is hopeful that the spring semester will bloom more opportunities for field trips to occur.
The reasoning behind the lack of field trips this year are from the requirements set by the New York City Department of Education (DOE). All schools must follow the COVID-19 policies and instructions, for the safety and health of the state. As per the most recent updates, schools are not allowed to go on any overnight trips, but may go on trips that are approved by the DOE that follow all of the proper social distance guidelines.
According to the Chancellor’s regulation: “For the 2021-22 school year, schools may take field trips across New York City and tri-state area settings under the conditions that: Students and staff remain in stable groups; wear face coverings for the duration of the trip (even when outdoors); maintain physical distancing when possible; and, make every effort to keep students from interacting with the general public at trip sites.”
With this, Mr. Frankel, principal at FSSA, understands the value of school trips and students desire to attend them. During his time as principal, students have gone on various trips.
“In the spring semester it will be back to what the policy was before, where classes and teachers can take school trips again, which will be exciting because trips are really important and necessary to the learning experience,” says Mr. Frankel.
In addition, previous students at FSSA have been able to travel to different states and countries as overnight trips. Unfortunately, there are no expectations to have any of these types of trips during the 2021-2022 school year.
“All of those require students staying in the same room together and require things that wouldn’t allow us to follow the COVID safety protocols. So as long as we don’t have to worry about social distancing or putting the masks on at all times, then we’ll be able to take those types of trips again,” said Mr. Frankel.
Many senior students remember going on field trips that were related to their majors, such as drama majors going to see theater productions and art majors going to visit galleries. Also, teachers would often select trips that relate to the curriculum they are teaching, like students taking AP United States History traveling to Ellis Island to learn about the history of immigrants coming to America.
Danielle Colon, senior drama major, also recollects her memories of her freshman and sophomore year.
“My favorite school trip that I went on was to go see Beetlejuice because I got to see a Broadway show for free and then we had really good seats,” Danielle says.
Recently, the student government sent a Google form to seniors regarding possible ideas for overnight senior trips. Although they are most likely not going to be able to turn these options into reality, students still brain stormed ideas.
“I would want to go to a different state or let’s say, an amusement park like Dorney Park or Six Flags, and stay overnight at a hotel, that would be so fun,” Danielle comments.
Other students recall previous trips they have been on when brain storming for possible new ideas. Ashli Hayat, a senior dance major, mentions a trip that she went on with the dance department.
“I probably went on one trip to this school, we went to a performance. We saw Revelations by Ailey2. It was fun,” says Ashli.
Zachary Lubin, senior film major, also discusses his past experiences with trips at FSSA that were related to his classes and learning experience.
“Well I’ve gone on two school trips. One of them was in film as a sophomore …we went to see a screening. And then another one was also sophomore year in Spanish class where we saw a play,” Zachary says.
Students at FSSA feel that going on trips like these are very beneficial to their education. Books and Google slides only go so far, but when students have the opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience, it gives them a real-world perspective to what they learn in the classroom.
Hopefully there will be exciting trips planned for the new year that the FSSA community can look forward to. While overnight trips are most likely not in store for the spring semester of 2022, students can hope expect to see field trips in local areas, with reasonable health and safety protocols.
On the bright side, having New York City as the local hub for field trips leaves many different options for students to have memorable experiences.