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Concord Academy

06.0 Health Center and Counseling Center

Adolescence is a time of physical and emotional growth that brings with it challenges and risk. The Health and Counseling Center staff provides support, guidance, and resources during this exciting and, at times, overwhelming period. The Health Center is located on the first floor of the Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC). The Counseling Center is located on the second floor of the SHAC. 

The Health Center is staffed by nurses Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on school days. A nurse is on call after hours and on weekends. Boarding students should see their house faculty first, who will contact the nurse on call, as needed. The school physician oversees the medical care of students seen in the Health Center.

An annual physical examination is required of each student. The school health forms, filled out by the student’s parents and physician, must be in our online health information system. Completed forms are required for registration. The Health Center staff must be informed of any changes in a student’s allergies, medications, or general health status during the school year.

Please note that Concord Academy does not conduct or require the vision, hearing, and postural screenings that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires for all public school students. It is recommended that families consult with their health-care providers, local school committees, or local boards of health for information about these examinations, and that they ensure these exams are carried out for their children. Student health records will be maintained for seven years. Parents and students over 18 years of age may request to receive this information in part or whole at the time of graduation, transfer, or withdrawal.

For the names and contact information of our Health Services providers click here.

6.01 Confidentiality Policy

Concord Academy recognizes that when students see a counselor they expect a certain level of confidentiality. Parents will be informed of these sessions if the student is determined to be at risk to themself, or to others. If students are engaging in self-destructive behaviors, counselors and members of the Health Center staff may need to share information with parents, advisors, house parents, and others to ensure student safety. In such situations, students are told that relevant information must be shared with the appropriate people at school and at home.

Concord Academy has an obligation and responsibility to maintain the safety and health of all students in its charge. Because the Health Center and Counseling Center staff work as a team, certain information will be shared among staff members in order to coordinate care and treatment.

6.02 Counseling Center

Self-awareness and personal growth are valued at Concord Academy.  The counseling staff is available in the Counseling Center for drop-in sessions, short-term counseling, and evaluations. Students are encouraged to use counseling services to discuss a decision, to gain perspective, or to solicit help with problems associated with school, family, or other life situations. There is no charge for short-term or intermittent counseling sessions. Referrals for longer-term counseling services may be made by the counseling staff after discussions with the student and their parents. Students who need to take a personal leave due to mental health issues will work closely with the director of student support services and other adults on campus.

To ensure anonymity, appointments with the Concord Academy counseling staff are made through a confidential sign-up procedure explained on the bulletin board in the Counseling Center.

6.03 Medication Policy

In an effort to provide the safest environment for all students, the Health Center staff oversees the administration of all prescription medications, including but not limited to controlled substances, for all boarding students. Boarding students taking psychotropic medications must be attended to by a local physician. Day students taking controlled substances while at school (e.g., Ritalin, codeine, Adderall) must keep them in the Health Center, where they will be administered by the Health Center staff. No student may be in the possession of controlled substances.

Parents must notify the Health Center if any medication changes are made during the school year. This policy applies to day and boarding students.

6.04 Leave Policy

Occasionally circumstances require a student attending Concord Academy to take a personal leave of absence from the regular program of participation and study at the school. A personal leave of absence may be the result of an illness, a medical problem, a psychological or emotional issue, or some other circumstance that interferes with the student’s ability to continue the program at Concord Academy.

Request Originating From the Student and/or Family:

A student may submit a request for a personal leave to the assistant head/academic dean or the director of health and student support services indicating the general reason and need for the personal leave. All requests will be kept confidential, and the student’s record will indicate only that they voluntarily took a personal leave from the school.

Request Originating From the School:

When the school’s medical and psychological consultants advise the academic dean, director of studies or the director of health and student support services that a student’s needs and interests cannot adequately be met by Concord Academy, or that a student’s continued enrollment may compromise the school’s ability to serve other students, the student may be asked by the school to take a personal leave of absence. A leave also will be required if the director of health and student support services concludes that a student poses significant risk to himself or herself or others, including, but not limited to, suicidal behavior. The decision to ask a student to take a personal leave will be made by the academic dean and director of studies in consultation with the director of health and student support services, who will inform the student of the decision in a private meeting. The student’s parents will be invited to attend this meeting. If they are unable to attend, the dean of students will inform the student’s parents of the decision. If the student does not agree to take a personal leave from the school, the school may determine that they must take an involuntary personal leave from the school.

If circumstances allow, students who are on personal leave may attempt to continue some academic work during their absence. However, because contact with teachers and other students in the classroom is considered an integral part of the academic experience at Concord Academy, continuing work while on personal leave is considered a temporary measure only. The viability of a student’s continued work will be reviewed throughout the personal leave by the academic dean or director of studies and the student’s teachers. The school reserves the right to withdraw a student from any classes when, in the opinion of the school, a student is unable to maintain their academic standing.

Return to Campus

Due to the potential impact on the student as well as on the community, students on personal leave are not permitted to return to campus for social events, cultural events, or chapels, unless they obtain permission from the dean of students. 

In order for a student on leave to be reinstated at the school, the physician, psychiatrist, or other professional who treated them during the leave must submit a written opinion to the director of health and student support services. In addition, a student may be required to undergo a medical or psychological evaluation by a member of the Concord Academy counseling staff, or by an outside physician or psychological consultant jointly approved by the director of health and student support services and the student’s family. In considering reinstatement, these recommendations will be considered in relation to the impact on the community and CA’s ability to support the individual, which may be counter to medical opinion. The final decision about reentry will be made by the appropriate school officials.

A student cannot return immediately to Concord Academy after being hospitalized for behavioral health reasons. Any student who has been hospitalized must first successfully complete a step-down program before reinstatement can be considered.  

Class advisors, coaches, teachers, and house faculty may be informed of the leave, and the student and their family will be informed of this communication. Roommates of students on personal or medical leave will be invited to attend one or more meetings with a member of the counseling staff. The purpose of the meeting(s) is to support the roommate by helping them to process any conflicting emotions and thoughts.

Returning to campus after an extended leave can be a stressful experience for both the student on leave and the CA community. In creating a plan for re-engagement, CA and the family need to consider multiple points of view, weighing each to achieve the best overall outcome. For example, some students on leave will benefit from a period of re-acclimation, where contact and connections can be gradually increased to help prepare the student and campus community for reentry. In other situations there may be a need to prepare accommodations to support physical or academic limitations. In other cases, separation with limited contact or no connection for a period of time may be best for all concerned. Communication between the student, their family, and the dean of students when a student on leave wishes to return to campus will facilitate the best experience for all, thus is required.

Concord Academy’s leave policy does not alter, in any way, its academic requirements, tuition refund rules, disciplinary procedures, or standards governing its students.