Medical Leave of Absence Policy
Students may experience medical situations that significantly limit their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. In those situations, students can request a medical leave of absence (MLOA). A MLOA allows students to take time away from the College for the remainder of the semester in order to receive treatment. Students are encouraged to discuss their request with someone in the Institute for Student Success.
The following procedures provide for an individualized and reasonable approach for assessing a student’s eligibility to take and return from a MLOA.
The Exit Process
Students interested in a MLOA must submit the online form below and be prepared to move-out of residential housing within 24 hours of the MLOA being approved are not permitted on-campus during a MLOA.
The Institute for Student Success will review a student’s request for a MLOA and contact the student as quickly as possible to allow the student to immediately step away from the College and receive needed support. Students approved for a MLOA are not permitted on campus until they have been approved through the Return to Active Status process.
A MLOA may impact financial aid, student account or academic progress, so students considering a MLOA are required to contact Student Financial Services, and their academic adviser to verify impact.
Policy and Process when Ursinus Mandates Medical Leave
In rare instances, Ursinus may deem it necessary to mandate a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) when a student is unable to participate in campus life due to medical issues. No student will be required to take a MLOA without an individualized assessment and consideration of reasonable modifications or accommodations which, if accepted by the student, would be expected to enable the student to participate in campus life. Among accommodations the Institute for Student Success will consider are whether the student may safely complete their course work and/or research while living off campus and/or whether they might succeed with a reduced course load. Circumstances in which Ursinus might consider a student for a mandated Medical Leave include, but are not limited to, situations in which a student’s medical condition causes them to exhibit behavior that:
- Harms, threatens to harm, or seriously endangers any person, including themselves, or that demonstrates an inability to care for themselves;
- Significantly or repeatedly disrupts the educational, residential, and other activities of Ursinus; or
- Demonstrates an inability to engage in a medically recommended level of treatment while maintaining participation in daily activities at Ursinus.
The decision to mandate a MLOA will be made jointly by a Student Affairs Dean and the Institute for Student Success. They will consider information and recommendations provided by medical professionals, Ursinus staff, faculty, and the student. They will provide the decision to mandate a Medical Leave to the student in writing. The decision will explain the rationale supporting the decision, the details of the leave, and any conditions the student is expected to satisfy prior to requesting to return.
A student who disagrees with the Institute’s decision to mandate a MLOA may submit an appeal, or review request, to the Dean of Students, but the leave decision will remain in effect while the appeal is pending. The Dean of Students must receive the appeal within seven working days of the decision to mandate leave, unless the Dean of Students agrees to accept a late review request due to exceptional circumstances. The student must make the request in writing and include detailed information describing the rationale for the request to overturn or modify the leave decision. The student may submit any medical documentation that supports their appeal. The Dean of Students may meet with the student if deemed appropriate, review all pertinent materials associated with the leave decision, and consult with others who may have useful information. The Dean of Students may affirm, overturn, or modify the leave decision within ten working days from the date of receipt of the request, although this period may be extended due to staff availability or unusual circumstances. The Dean of Students’ decision will be communicated to the student in writing and shall be final.
Returning from a MLOA
Students interested in returning to the College from a medical leave of absence must complete a Request to Return to Active Status form and attach the Authorization to Release/Request Confidential Information form at least one month prior to the anticipated semester for return. This ensures sufficient time to complete the process.
The Request to Return to Active Status form includes the following:
Treatment Summary completed by a medical practitioner, including:
- Period of treatment, Diagnosis, Summary of Treatment Progress, Prognosis
- Whether or not student complied with recommended treatment
- Whether or not the student is deemed ready to return
- List continuing treatment plan and recommendations
- Personal Statement addressing the following questions:
- What is your understanding of the difficulties that led you to take a Medical Leave of Absence?
- What have you done since you went out on leave to get treatment, cope with, or otherwise improve the situation?
- What are your plans for coping once back on campus if readmitted?
The College may also require this information be submitted at a later time if it is determined that the other information submitted is not sufficient to make a recommendation about return. In those cases, the College will provide the student with a written explanation for this determination. Any requests for additional information may extend the College’s timeframe for reviewing requests to return. The College will notify the student of any situations where its review is delayed and the cause for the delay.
Processing a Student’s Request to Return from a MLOA
Once materials have been submitted, the student should call the Institute for Student Success to confirm receipt of materials and to discuss the review process. The Director of Wellness will review the Treatment Summary and the Institute for Student Success will determine if the student appears ready to resume academics and campus life. Every effort will be made to respond to the student’s request for return in a timely manner.
Significant weight will be given to the student’s treatment providers regarding the student’s ability to function academically and safely at the College with or without accommodations. During the process of reviewing an application the Institute for Student Success consults with the Director of Wellness regarding the Treatment Summary. If the Director of Wellness determines that information provided by the treatment provider is incomplete, requires further explanation or clarification, or when there is a disconnect between the medical information provided by the treatment provider and other information in the student’s files, the Director of Wellness will contact the treatment provider to obtain additional information. In extraordinary circumstances (e.g. The College is concerned about the medical provider’s credentials), the Institute for Student Success may request that the student undergo an additional assessment to allow the College to make a determination about the student’s readiness for return. In those rare instances, the Institute for Student Success will notify the student of its rationale for making this request.
Once a return is approved, the Director of Wellness will contact the student to request a check-in visit to review the students’ safety and review their plan for sustained health, including recommendations for ongoing treatment, off campus. Students with disabilities are eligible for reasonable accommodations and/or special services in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAA) of 2008. Students are responsible for communicating their requests for academic accommodations to Disability Services. Detailed information on the process for requesting accommodations may be found on the Disability Services website.
A student may appeal the recommendation that they are not ready to return to the College by submitting an appeal letter in writing to the Dean of Students within 7 business days of receiving notice of the negative decision. The student may also submit any information they believe to be relevant to the appeal.