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Serious Medical and Psychiatric Concerns - Voluntary and Involuntary Medical Leave

Overview

The Boston Conservatory recognizes that certain behaviors (e.g., suicide threats, gestures or attempts; eating disorders; self-harming behaviors such as cutting oneself; substance abuse) are signs of personal distress.  In cases when a student experiences medical or psychiatric concerns that impact their academic functioning at the Conservatory, the student may request a voluntary medical leave.

In the event that a student's health and/or behavior appears to present significant concern to his or her health and/or safety, or the safety of others, the Dean of Students (or designee) may inform the student that he or she must participate in a mandatory mental health assessment with a member of the counseling staff at the Counseling and Wellness Center or an outside healthcare provider to determine the safety and appropriateness of remaining in Conservatory programs.  The assessment must determine the nature, duration and severity of the risk and the likelihood that reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk.

Under these circumstances, the student will be asked to sign a Release of Information Form giving the counseling staff at the Counseling and Wellness Center or the outside healthcare provider permission to speak with the Dean of Students regarding the results of the assessment.  Following the mandatory assessment, the Dean of Students will meet with the student in order to determine a plan for the student. Following the meeting, the Dean of Students may recommend a voluntary medical leave.

In extraordinary circumstances when the student's behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of others, or where the student's behavior is disruptive to the Conservatory's learning environment, the student may be required to take an involuntary medical leave from the Conservatory, or an emergency interim withdrawal from the residence halls or from the Conservatory.

This policy and these procedures do not take the place of disciplinary actions that are in response to violations of the Student Conduct Code, nor do they preclude the removal or dismissal of students from the Conservatory or Conservatory owned or leased facilities as a result of violations of other Conservatory regulations. 

Medical and Psychiatric Hospitalizations

In order to receive support and treatment resources for continued success at The Boston Conservatory, it is recommended that the student notify the Dean of Students if he/she is evaluated and/or hospitalized for a mental health or medical emergency.

The Dean of Students may confer with the Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center and/or the Director of Wellness Services regarding the best course of action to ensure access to appropriate supports and services for the student, and to ensure the safety of the students and of the Conservatory Community. 

Return from Hospital Protocol 

Following discharge from an Emergency Room or Impatient Treatment for psychiatric reasons, a student is required to have a post-hospital visit with a member of the counseling staff at the Counseling and Wellness Center. This post-hospital visit is designed to evaluate the student’s current status and discuss possible supports for the student’s return from the hospital.

The student will be asked to sign a Release of Information Form between the Counseling and Wellness Center and to Dean of Students to confirm attendance to the post-hospital visit and discuss any issues what would preclude the student from returning to campus.

Following attendance to the post-hospital visit, the student will be required to meet with the Dean of Students to evaluate current supports needed in returning to campus. The Dean of Students may consult with the Associate Dean of Academic Operations, the appropriate Academic Dean or Division Director, and/or the Director of Housing as needed,  to appropriately assess if the student can safely return to campus and to assess what supports the student will need to continue his/her active student status. 

The student will not be allowed to return to class until he/she completes the Return from Hospital Protocol. 

Medical Leave of Absence

Voluntary Medical Leave

Students may experience life situations, medical conditions or psychological conditions that significantly impair their ability to function successfully or safely.  In these instances, time away from The Boston Conservatory for treatment and recovery can restore their functioning to a level that will enable them to return and perform well in their programs.

A student who wishes to take a medical leave from the Conservatory shall present a recommendation to that effect from a licensed medical provider to the Dean of Students.  The Dean of Students may consult with the healthcare provider, the Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center and/or others as appropriate in order to evaluate the information provided.  Upon reveiwing all pertinent information, the Dean of Students shall grant the student's request and discuss readmission procedures.

The Dean of Students will also:

  • Consult with the student's academic division and other Conservatory offices as appropriate.
  • Discuss the circumstances with the student's family/guardian as appropriate.
  • Meet with the student and the Associate Dean of Academic Operations for academic counseling, as needed.
  • Discuss a plan for off-campus treatment to resolve the issues leading to the medical leave.
  • Inform the student of procedures for re-entry to the Conservatory. 

Involuntary Medical Leave

In extraordinary circumstances when the student's behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of others, or where the student's behavior is disruptive to the Conservatory's learning environment, the student may be required to take an involuntary medical leave from the Conservatory.

In these situations, the Dean of Students will:

  • Consult with the Associate Dean of Academic Operations, the appropriate Division Director or Department Chair, the Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center, the Director of Wellness Services, the Director of Housing, the Director of Public Safety, and/or other Boston Conservatory offices, as necessary.
  • Contact the student's parents/ guardian, as appropriate.
  • Provide notice to the student to attend a meeting with the Dean of Students and others as appropriate so that the student might provide any information he or she believes would be useful (including information from others who may have knowledge of the situation). In this meeting, the student will also have an opportunity to present information in favor of a solution other than an involuntary leave.  Consideration will be given to accommodations that may reasonably be provided that will mitigate the need for the involuntary leave.
  • Inform the student of the decision in writing.
  • Initiate the involuntary medical withdrawal process and inform appropriate Conservatory offices.
  • Discuss a plan for off-campus treatment to resolve the issues leading to the medical leave.
  • Inform the student of procedures for re-entry to the Conservatory.  

The decision of the Dean of Students is final.

Emergency Interim Withdrawal

If, for reasons pertaining to mental or physical health, a student's behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of others or where the student's behavior is disruptive to the Conservatory's learning environment,  the Dean of Students may withdraw the student or restrict the student's access to Conservatory classes, activities, services, or housing, as appropriate, for an interim period before a final determination of the matter.

Every attempt will be made by the Dean of Students to meet with the student before deciding on an emergency interim withdrawal of the student.  If the student is to be withdrawn, the decision will be communicated to the student and other Conservatory offices as appropriate.

The emergency interim withdrawal or restricted access will remain in effect until a final decision has been made pursuant to other procedures in this policy, unless, before a final decision is made, theDean of Students determines that the reasons for imposing the emergency interim withdrawal no longer exist.

Withdrawal from Conservatory Housing

All references, procedures and appeals contained herein may be applied to Conservatory on-campus housing as well as to withdrawal from The Boston Conservatory. A student will be subject to involuntary leave from Conservatory housing if there is convincing evidence that there is a direct threat to the safety of others or where the student's behavior is disruptive to the Conservatory's learning environment.

Withdrawal Beyond Normal Conservatory Deadlines

A student may occasionally need to arrange a medical leave of absence after the beginning of a semester for reasons beyond their control. The Tuition Refund Appeal Committee will review an appeal to refund the tuition.  For further details on how to file an appeal, which has to be addressed to the Bursar, please refer to the Tuition Refund Appeal Policy in the Student Handbook. 

If approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Operations, a student may be granted grades of “W” in all enrolled courses (even if the normal deadlines for withdrawal without academic penalty have passed). The student will be obligated to adhere to the readmission requirements outlined in this policy if he or she desires to return to The Boston Conservatory after the medical issue has been treated and resolved.

Re-Entry Requirements

During a voluntary or involuntary medical leave of absence, The Boston Conservatory expects the student to undergo professional healthcare treatment as the primary method of addressing the issues leading to the medical leave.   The Boston Conservatory expects that the health problems that resulted in a voluntary or involuntary leave must be treated satisfactorily in order for the student to return to the rigors and demands of the Conservatory environment.  To facilitate appropriate treatment is received, the student must allow for communication between the off-campus treatment provider and the Dean of Students to ensure clarity regarding the medical and/or psychological problems leading to the medical leave. Failure to seek appropriate treatment will be reason to withhold re-entry until appropriate treatment has been received.

At least one month prior to returning to the Conservatory, a student who has taken a voluntary or involuntary leave must contact the Dean of Students to review the re-entry process, and discuss a plan for successfully resuming their status at the Conservatory.

As part of the re-entry requirements, the student must complete the following requirements: 

  • Complete the Medical Leave of Absence Re-entry form.
  • Provide written documentation from the off-campus healthcare provider indicating that the student has received appropriate treatment, is able to return to his or her active student status, and stating any conditions and/or recommendations for such return. The supporting documentation may be reviewed by the Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center as needed.
  • Provide a re-entry plan that outlines the supports that will assist the student in continuing as an active student. This re-entry plan may include continued treatment in the community as needed.
  • If the student would like to return to or reside in the residence halls, the re-entry plan must also address how the student will successfully reside in the residence life community.
  • The Dean of Students may request additional information as needed to make a determination regarding the student’s re-entry from Medical Leave.


The Dean of Students will then:

  • Receive and review documentation from the student's healthcare provider(s) and other relevant documents.
  • Consult with the off-campus healthcare provider, the Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center, the Director of Wellness Services or others as needed.
  • Contact the student's parents/guardian as needed.
  • Provide an opportunity for the student to meet with the Dean of Students and Associdate Dean of Academic Operations as needed to discuss re-entry.
  • In consultation with the appropriate Conservatory offices, initiate the readmission process; provide the student with conditions for continued attendance, as needed; and inform any relevant Conservatory offices of the student's re-entry.

OR

  • Deny the student's request for re-entry, specify when and if the next request for re-entry will be considered and notify the student's division and other administrative offices of the decision regarding re-entry.  

The decision of the Dean of Students is final.

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