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. Such a leave may be voluntary or required. A Voluntary Leave is initiated by a student or the family and must be approved by the Assistant Head of School for Student Life or the Dean of Students. A Required Leave is initiated by the Assistant Head of School for Student Life, the Dean of Students, or a designated representative.
Leaves may vary in length, though longer absences are more difficult to accommodate. For a leave, 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 school 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 severe depression, suicidality, or eating disorders. A Medical Leave can be voluntary or required.
The Director of Medical Services convenes a Leave Committee, consisting of the Assistant Head of School for Student Life or the Dean of Students, Class Dean, Director of Studies, and the student’s advisor, to determine the timing of and criteria for the student’s return to school. While the student is on Medical Leave, the Director of Medical Services, psychologist and/or counselor will work with the family and, when appropriate, the student’s healthcare providers at home. The Leave Committee will receive updates on the student’s status 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 Director of Medical Services in consultation with the Director of Counseling and Assistant Head of School for Student Life or Dean of Students.
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 reasonable and 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 Assistant Head of School for Student Life or Dean of Students in collaboration with the Director of Studies, Director of Medical Services, 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 Assistant Head of School for Student Life or Dean of Students and the Director of Studies.