Definition of Medical Leave

A medical leave is a leave of absence from Maine College of Art (MECA) based on a qualified and documented medical issue. A medical leave may be taken for up to four (4) consecutive semesters. Should a medical leave be granted during a semester already in progress, that semester shall count as the first of the two semesters. A medical leave is initiated by the student and supported by documentation provided by a medical professional. MECA may request additional documentation from a provider to make a final decision.

Initial Request

A student requesting a medical leave must complete an Exit Notification Form with the Registrar indicating his/her request for a medical leave. When the Exit Notification Form is submitted, it must be accompanied by documentation from a medical professional that specifies: 1) the reason(s) for the leave (i.e. diagnosis), 2) the reason(s) the leave is needed (i.e. the symptoms), 3) the expected duration of the leave, and 4) the criteria under which the medical professional will be able to recommend the student’s reentry at MECA.

Review

Within forty-eight (48) business hours of receiving the completed Exit Notification Form and medical documentation, the Director of Residential Education & Housing (or designee) will review the submitted documentation and contact members of the MECA community to discuss the case. Based on the documentation and advice, the Director of Residential Education & Housing (or designee) will inform the student of the decision in writing; in the event that a decision is made not to grant a leave of absence, this notification shall also include a description of the appeal process.

Grading

A medical leave effectively withdraws a student from all enrolled classes. The student’s instructors will assign a grade of withdrawal (W) or, if requested by the student, the grade the student has earned up to the date of the withdrawal taking into consideration requirements for the whole semester.

Request to Return

When a student who has voluntarily withdrawn wishes to return to MECA, s/he must submit a reentry letter requesting a return to the College. The letter should include detailed and comprehensive written documentation from a medical professional that indicates: (1) symptoms, (2) current and future treatment plan, (3) reason(s) that the voluntary medical withdrawal no longer poses a significant risk or threat to the health and safety of the individual student and/or the MECA Community, and (4) that the student is capable of successfully returning to MECA. The Director of Residential Education & Housing (or designee) shall review the submitted documentation and contact members of the MECA community to discuss the case. Based on the documentation and advice, the Director of Residential Education & Housing (or designee) shall inform the student of the decision in writing; in the event that a decision is made not to grant a return, the notification will also include a description of the appeal process. If readmitted, the student must adhere to any conditions set forth in the letter by the Director of Residential Education & Housing (or designee). If a student does not adhere to these conditions, the student may be removed from MECA at any point through due process established within the Student Code of Conduct.

Appeal

A student may appeal a denial of either the request for a medical leave or the request to return from medical leave. This appeal, along with a report from the Director of Residential Education & Housing Director (or designee) must be submitted in writing to the Dean of the College. The Dean of the College has the ultimate authority for the medical leave process.

Relationship of Medical Leave to the Student Conduct

All MECA students are accountable to the standards articulated in the Student Conduct Code. A student’s decision to pursue a medical leave in no way suggests that the student will not be held accountable if his/her behavior was in violation of the Student Conduct Code.

Campus Access

A student on a voluntary leave may maintain contact with the MECA community with permission of the Director of Residential Education & Housing (or designee).

Confidentiality

All information received and/or reviewed during the medical leave process, willbe held in the strictest confidence and shall constitute the working papers of the Director of Residential Education & Housing (or designee) rather than a component of the student’s official academic file. Documentation and official letters of notice written by an agent of MECA shall be considered part of the student’s file and not that of the academic file. An academic file will only disclose that the student is on leave for a standard amount of time.