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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 these instances, the student may request a voluntary medical leave.

In the event that a student's health and/or behavior appears to present immediate concern to his or her health and/or safety, or the safety of others, the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) may inform the student that he or she must participate in a mandatory mental health assessment with the Director of Counseling or an outside medical 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 Director of Counseling or outside medical provider permission to speak with the Vice President for Student Affairs.  Following the mandatory assessment, the Vice President for Student Affairs will meet with the student in order to determine a plan for the student. Following the meeting, the Vice President 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 Vice President for Student Affairs if he/she is evaluated and/or hospitalized for a mental health or medical emergency.

The Vice President for Student Affairs may confer with the Director of Counseling and/or the Director of Wellness Services regarding the best course of action.

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 be placed on medical leave from the Conservatory shall present a recommendation to that effect from a licensed medical provider to the Vice President for Student Affairs.  The Vice President may consult with the medical provider and/or the Director of Counseling and others as appropriate in order to evaluate the information provided.  Upon receiving the written recommendation of the professional(s) consulted, the Vice President shall grant the student's request and discuss readmission procedures.

The Vice President 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 the Conservatory for academic counseling, as needed;
  • Refer the student to appropriate resources for further evaluation or treatment as appropriate.

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 Vice President for Student Affairs will:

  • Consult with the Associate Dean of the Conservatory, the appropriate Division Director or Department Chair, the Director of Counseling, 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 Vice President for Student Affairs 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) and have an opportunity to present information in favor of a different solution.  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.
  • Refer the student to appropriate resources for further evaluation or treatment as appropriate.
  • Inform the student of procedures for readmission to the Conservatory.  

The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs 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 Vice President for Student Affairs 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 Vice President for Student Affairs 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, the Vice President 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 the Conservatory, 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.

Readmission

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 resolving the problem.  Failure to seek ongoing treatment will raise serious doubt as to the student's readiness to return, and in such cases, the Conservatory may withhold readmission until appropriate treatment has been received.  The Boston Conservatory expects that health problems that result 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.

Prior to returning to the Conservatory, a student who has taken a voluntary or involuntary leave must contact the Vice President for Student Affairs to discuss a plan for successfully resuming their status at the Conservatory.  In the plan, the student must respond to the condition that required the leave of absence and specify how that condition has since been treated and how it will continue to be treated.  If the student would like to return to or reside in the residence halls, the plan must also address how the student will successfully reside in the residence life community.

The student's primary off-campus medical provider(s) must also make contact with the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Director of Counseling and/or the Director of Wellness Services as appropriate to discuss the nature of the problem that led the student to take a medical leave and the subsequent treatment.  Written documentation specifying the student's ability to return and any conditions must be provided by the student's primary off-campus medical provider(s).  

To facilitate this communication, the student must provide written releases to both parties to communicate freely with each other.  This communication must occur prior to the beginning of the student's treatment to ensure clarity regarding the medical and/or psychological problems that need to be addressed in treatment.

The Vice President for Student Affairs will then:

  • Receive and review documentation from the student's healthcare provider(s) and other relevant documents.
  • If the leave was involuntary, consult with the Director of Counseling or the Director of Wellness Services or others as appropriate.
  • Contact the student's parents/guardian as appropriate.
  • Provide an opportunity for the student to meet with the Vice President for
  • Student Affairs and Associate Dean of the Conservatory as needed to discuss readmission.
  • 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 readmission.

OR

  • Deny the student's request for readmission, specify when and if the next request for readmission will be considered and notify the student's division and other administrative offices of the decision regarding readmission.  The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs is final.
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