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.
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.
As a condition of enrollment, parents are asked to provide the school with information about the student’s physical and emotional health. In part, this information is obtained to comply with state law; it is also needed to keep the school well-informed of the health of all students. The school is sensitive to the privacy of this information and is committed to protecting the confidentiality of students and their families as indicated in the “Confidentiality and Privacy” policy in this handbook.
Director of Health & Student Support Services. M.Ed., LICSW
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Licensed clinical social worker, MSW, LICSW
Dr. Carlos Hoyt
In accordance with Massachusetts law, the school requires all students to provide proof of up-to-date immunizations or a certificate of exemption before attending school. Proof of immunization should be provided on a form signed by a licensed health care provider. A student with a qualified religious or medical exemption must provide the school with an exemption form. A medical exemption must be signed by a licensed health care provider, attesting that the student is exempt from a specific vaccine(s) because of medical reasons. A religious exemption must be signed by the student’s parent or guardian (and by students age 18 and older), attesting that immunization conflicts with the tenets of their religious beliefs. Students who do not provide proof of up-to-date immunizations or qualify for an exemption will not be permitted to attend the school or participate in any school activities.
Students who are exempt from the state’s immunization requirements may be prohibited from attending school and participating in school activities in the event of an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease. Students excluded from the school for this reason will not be permitted to return until (1) the danger of the outbreak has passed; (2) the student becomes ill with the disease and completely recovers; or (3) the student is immunized. In determining whether there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease, the school may consult with appropriate medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Parents/legal guardians are asked to provide the school with immunization information to comply with state immunization laws. The School is committed to protecting the privacy of students and their families by treating all such medical information confidentially and restricting the use of, and access to, this information for medical management only, in accordance with applicable law.
The school may exclude from school any student who has a communicable illness or has been exposed to an infected person if the school determines, in its sole discretion, that such exclusion is appropriate for the welfare of the student who is excluded from school and/or the welfare of other students or employees at the school. In reaching the decision to exclude a student from the school, the school may consult with appropriate medical professionals, including the Centers for Disease Control, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
An Appendix with updated policies in effect during the Covid-19 pandemic will be made available prior to the start of the school year. We hope these policies will only be temporary. More generally, the school expects that students and their families will cooperate with the school in following recommended protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, until such time as a vaccine is available.
Any community member experiencing symptoms related to Covid-19 will be immediately isolated and/or removed from campus until they are cleared to return by a healthcare provider.
In particular, should a boarding student experience any Covid-19 symptoms, or be exposed to someone with symptoms, they will be isolated in the Health Center and their local ambassador or parent/guardian will be required to pick them up within an eight-hour window.
If and when appropriate, the School will disseminate information to students and families regarding campus health and safety issues through regular internal communication channels. For example, the school may provide families with information about the nature and spread of communicable illnesses, including symptoms and signs to watch for, as well as required steps to be taken in the event of an epidemic or outbreak. Of course, we encourage all parents and guardians to contact medical professionals with any questions or concerns about communicable illnesses or immunization issues.
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. The school physician oversees the medical care of students seen in the Health Center. Boarding students who feel unwell should see their house faculty first, who will contact the nurse on call, as needed. For more information about when boarding students get ill, follow this link.
Concord Academy recognizes that when students visit the Health Center or 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 themselves, 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 faculty, outside professionals, law enforcement officers, 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.
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.
In addition to the staff available mentioned above, the school also works with a number of local providers, some who come to campus to work with students, others in the local area, if students need more support than our staff can provide. These services are covered by a family’s private insurance and will be billed accordingly. The staff will often ask for a release of information from families to work with the outside providers, but the therapist’s primary relationship is with the student and family, not the school.
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.
A school nurse, in collaboration with the parent/guardian and student’s physician, will establish an individualized medication administration plan for any student requesting medication self-administration privileges. The student will be involved in the decision-making process and the student’s preferences respected to the maximum extent possible. In a collaborative effort, the School Nurse together with the student, the student’s parent/guardian, and physician will determine the student's understanding of the student's medication(s) and competency in the administration of the student's medication(s). Based on this determination, the School Nurse will allow or disallow self-administration privileges in accordance with state and federal laws. The self-administration of medication(s) shall include self-administration while on school property or during school-sponsored trips. A duplicate dose of life-saving medication provided by the parent/guardian will be stored at the Health Center. It is the sole responsibility of the parent/guardian to notify the Health Center in order to update the student’s medication administration plan with respect to any medication(s), dosing revisions, and health status changes.
Parents must notify the Health Center if any medication changes are made during the school year. This policy applies to day and boarding students.
The early response process provides an initial community response to concerning physical or emotional health behaviors.
Students and adults may invite members of the community to make use of resources available at health services. Concerns may include a range of issues, including family and relationship issues, stress and anxiety issues, nutrition and diet, or other transitional issues that are a part of the high school experience.
The early response process may also be used for issues that are acute, pervasive, and detrimental to members of the community. Community members can also respond on behalf of individuals who are unable or unwilling to seek help themselves. In those instances where a student is reporting concerns about another student, every effort will be made to maintain the anonymity of the student sharing the concern. Examples include, but are not limited to, suicidal thoughts or threats, self-injurious behavior, emotional outbursts, abuse or misuse of substances (including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs) sexual behaviors, significant weight gain or loss, or other behaviors that may impact the immediate safety of an individual or the community.
Student safety is the highest priority. Responses may vary depending on the severity of the concerns and the intensity, duration, and frequency of the behaviors. For students requiring urgent medical attention, 911 will be called. Regardless of the severity of the concern, a consultation will be arranged with the student and a member of health services (depending on if it is an emotional or physical health concern). At that time, a member of health services, in consultation with the director of health and student support services, will determine the nature and urgency of the concern.
An appropriate response will be pursued that will reflect the best interests of the individual and the community. Responses could range from a one-time consultation to the exercising of the personal leave policy found in this handbook. In response to situations involving harm to self or others, the dean of students and the student’s parents will be notified. If the student is a boarder, the director of residential life and house faculty will also be notified.
There are times when a student’s health requires them 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, or a psychological or emotional issue.
Concord Academy’s leave policy does not alter, in any way, its academic requirements, disciplinary procedures, or standards governing its students. Students on leave are temporarily separated from Concord Academy and are welcomed back once they have met conditions for return.
Permanent withdrawals (ultimately a family’s decision) and dismissals (ultimately the school’s decision) from the school are distinct from leaves in that they require re-application to return to the Concord Academy community. Concord Academy does not offer deferrals.
A student may submit a request for a personal leave to the dean of academic program and equity 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 will be processed by the dean of academic program and equity and the director of health and student support services. The student’s record will indicate only that they voluntarily took a personal leave from the school.
When the school’s medical and psychological consultants advise the dean of academic program and equity 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 themselves 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 dean of academic program and equity 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 dean of academic program and equity 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.
Due to the potential impact on the student as well as on the community, students on personal leave may not permitted to return to campus 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.
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. A re-entry meeting between the student, the family, the director of health services, the dean of students, and the dean of academic program and equity is required for a student’s return to the community.