The Academy recognizes that there are occasions when a student may benefit from a leave from school to address a problem, while still remaining in good standing. A leave may be voluntary or required. A Voluntary Leave is initiated by a student or the family and must be approved by the Head of School. A Required Leave is initiated by the Head of School, the Dean of Students, or a designated representative.
Leaves may vary in length, though longer absences are more difficult to accommodate. For a leave beyond a few days, whether voluntary or required, return would not be automatic and would be subject to review based on criteria specified at the outset. In the case of an extended leave, repeating all or part of a year may be necessary. It is not appropriate to use a leave of absence to postpone or otherwise interfere with any pending disciplinary proceedings.
The following descriptions outline typical forms of leave, although individual circumstances may require other responses:
Medical Leaves might include those for severe or prolonged illnesses, significant injuries, especially those requiring major surgery, or psychological problems, including depression or eating disorders. A Medical Leave can be voluntary or required.
The school physician convenes a Leave Committee to determine the timing of and criteria for the student’s return to school. While the student is on Medical Leave, the school physician and/or school psychologist will work with the family and, when appropriate, the attending physician or psychologist at home. The Leave Committee will receive updates of the status of the student while away on Medical Leave and, at the appropriate time, will assess the readiness of the student to return from Medical Leave. Informed by a recommendation of the Leave Committee, the decision concerning the return from Medical Leave will be determined by the Head of School.
The degree of impact of a Medical Leave on a student’s academic status will vary with the amount of class time missed, the timing in the academic calendar, and the point in the student’s Deerfield career. The Academy will take steps to help the student make up missed work and, when appropriate, to adjust expectations about the work necessary to complete a given course.
A Personal Leave may be granted at the request of the student and family or may be required by the Academy. The decision to allow or require a Personal Leave is made by the Dean of Students in collaboration with the Academic Dean, the school physician, and the student’s advisor and teachers. At the start of the leave, criteria for return will be specified. Informed by a recommendation from this group, the decision concerning the return from Personal Leave will be determined by the Head of School.