Routine Health Care
The Outpatient Clinic
Students use the Health Center at Dewey House for routine medical care for illnesses and injuries at the average rate of 15 visits per student per year. In general, students should go to the Health Center during their free time. Students should not miss classes in order to go to the Health Center unless symptoms are of such a nature or magnitude that they interfere with the student’s ability to function normally in that class. From time to time, students may be uncertain as to whether symptoms warrant missing class or not, and under these circumstances they should feel free to consult Health Center staff for advice.
- If you are too sick to go to class and need to go to the Health Center during a class, you need to be in the Health Center at the beginning of the class to be excused from that class. (This same expectation applies to missing sit down meals).
- If you are too sick to go to class, you should not go to your co-curricular activity that day. (The nurse may ask you to stay in or return to the Health Center during your co-curricular time).
- If you are sick enough to miss all of your classes, you should expect to spend the night in the Health Center.
- If you are sick enough to miss classes two days in a row, you should expect to spend the night in the Health Center.
- If you are sick enough to miss classes on Friday, you should expect to spend Friday night in the Health Center.
- If you are unable to complete or to hand in any graded assignment because you are sick and/or in the Health Center, you should call your teacher as soon as possible to acknowledge that the assignment will be late and to clarify when the assignment can be completed.
Students stay overnight in the Health Center at the average rate of one night per student per year. Students are expected to call their parents any time that they are admitted for an overnight stay. If the duration of stay is greater than two nights, the school physician will call the parents as a matter of routine. Depending on the nature of the illness or injury, a discussion between the school physician and parents may take place much earlier. Visitation of students confined to the Health Center is at the discretion of the nurse on duty. Occasionally, depending on the nature of the illness or injury, students confined to the Health Center will be permitted to attend some or all of their classes.
Day Student Health Care
It is assumed that a day student will continue under the care of the family physician. However, the Health Center at Dewey House is available in an emergency. Also, as with boarding students, day students are subject to the school’s medical supervision when participating in sports or when illness or injury occurs at school.
If you wish to discuss a personal issue in order to identify and clarify ways to respond to it, you are encouraged to seek the assistance of a member of the counseling staff. The counseling team includes two licensed psychologists who are on campus on a regular basis. A consulting psychiatrist is available by appointment.
If you wish, you may meet with a counselor in confidence to discuss personal concerns, issues, or problems. You may contact any of the counselors directly or with the assistance of your advisor, Class Dean, teachers and coaches, parents, or Health Center staff.
In addition, 16 student peer counselors, all of whom have received training for their role, are ready to act as helpful listeners or sources of support.
Dentists and Other Specialists
The Health Center staff does not include a dentist or other medical specialists. If such services become necessary, the Health Center will arrange appointments and transportation to area offices.
Sexuality Counseling & Reproductive Health Care
Deerfield Academy feels that adolescent development includes issues of friendship, romantic attachment, and intimacy. While affirming young people’s needs to understand and express their sexuality, the school feels that intimate sexual contact is not appropriate within the context of school life. However, it is recognized that there will be occasions that necessitate counseling and care in specific areas relating to sexuality. The school addresses these concerns through academic and Health Services programs that provide necessary information for students to make responsible decisions.
With the full understanding that adolescents are legally free to obtain contraception, pregnancy testing, and counseling on their own from doctors and clinics in this area or home communities, the Health Center will offer these services in the hope that the student will instead choose to talk with those who have the health and well-being of that student as their foremost concern. Contraceptive counseling will be offered through the Health Center. Counseling will focus on the nature and availability of contraception and if the discussion results in the student deciding to obtain contraception through on-campus services, a follow-up visit can be scheduled with the school physician or nurse practitioner.
Pregnancy testing will be offered through the Health Center as requested. In the event of a student pregnancy, a health staff counselor will assist the student in obtaining information needed to make an informed decision about possible courses of action. The counselor will encourage the student to include parents and partner in the decision making process and will facilitate bringing those concerned together if requested.