Absence and Leave of Absence Policy

Absence and Leave of Absence Policy

Last updated: October 31st, 2022 at 10:38 am

Students can be absent for a maximum of five (5) consecutive days in any one semester. If a student is absent for more than five (5) consecutive days, they may be subject to a leave of absence (LOA). If there is a trend seen where a student is absent for multiple days in a semester, OSA will meet with the student to discuss their circumstances.

An approved leave of absence is limited to a temporary absence from the curricular program with reasonable expectations that the student will return from the leave of absence. A leave of absence requires preapproval, and the student must follow university policies and procedures in the leave application process. Students must immediately notify the Unit Director/Clerkship Director and the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) when an academic experience or educational activity may be missed.

Students should be aware that their return and reintegration into the curriculum may require repeating or auditing of classes or clerkships / electives already taken. Students should also understand that, depending upon the length of the leave of absence, graduation may be delayed.

i. Students considering a leave of absence (LOA) must notify the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs (ADSA), if the student is currently enrolled in semesters 1-5, or the Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs (SADSA) if the student is enrolled in semesters 6-10 or the Medical Advancement Preparatory Program (MAPP), as early as possible to discuss the reason for the leave, the steps to initiate the leave, the conditions of return from leave, potential consequences of taking a leave, and, if pertinent, alternatives to a leave of absence. Students are also required to meet with the Director of Financial Aid prior to submitting the request for LOA to fully understand the impact of leaves on financial aid and scholarships.

ii. After discussion, if the student feels that a leave of absence is the best option, they must complete and submit the Leave of Absence Approval Form.

iii. In emergency situations, the SADSA, in the exercise of reasonable judgment, may bypass some or all of the below steps to ensure campus safety or patient safety in the clinical sites, and/or the safety of other students, faculty and staff. Nothing in this or other policies shall be construed to prevent WAUSM from requiring students to always meet the university/program essential eligibility requirements and technical standards, and the policies and procedures that assure campus safety.

iv. A student who is repeatedly absent may be placed on an Administrative Leave of Absence (ALOA), administratively withdrawn at the discretion of the University without the ability to reapply for admission.

v. A student may return earlier than the established return date when the conditions of return are met earlier than anticipated if approved by the SADSA.

vi. If a student chooses not to return from leave at the designated date and does not request an extension of leave, the student may withdraw from the program. In cases where the student does not withdraw, WAUSM may choose to dismiss the student from the program.

a. An administrative leave of absence (ALOA) is one that is determined or mandated by the Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs. Reasons for an Administrative Leave of Absence include, but are not limited to:

i. Severe circumstances that warrant an interruption in the student’s education

ii. Failure to abide by WAUSM policies, including, but not limited to, those related to student behavior and conduct, and the WAUSM technical or professional standards

iii. Financial reasons

iv. Health and safety reasons and/or substance misuse

b. WAUSM is concerned for the general safety, health, and well-being of the campus community including students, faculty and staff and the safety and well-being of patients. On occasion, a student may experience circumstances that significantly limit their ability to function safely or successfully as a
student, or the student may no longer meet the minimum technical and/or professional standards of the program. In these cases, the SADSA, or Executive Dean or designee, may place such a student on an Administrative Leave of Absence.

c. The SADSA may place a student on an Administrative Leave of Absence, in cases where the student becomes so disruptive as to interfere with the academic pursuits and other activities of the academic and/or clinical community or to be considered to pose a threat to the care of patients.

d. The SADSA may place student on leave when the student poses a risk to themselves or others, if a student demonstrates inability or unwillingness to carry out substantial self-care obligations such as participation in their own healthcare, compliance with healthcare visits, rehabilitation, or monitoring programs.

e. The SADSA will advise the student to take a personal leave of absence. If the student is unwilling to take a student-initiated Personal Leave of Absence, the SADSA will place the student on an Administrative Leave of Absence.

a. An Educational Leave of Absence is generally not granted for a period beyond one year. The 12-month period begins on the first day of the student’s leave of absence. An Educational Leave of Absence may only occur during semesters 6-10.

a. The SADSA may grant a personal leave of absence. If the leave is due to medical reasons, the student must provide the appropriate medical documentation, including but not limited to, a letter from the treating physician clearly stating the nature of the medical condition and reasons it requires a leave of absence. The SADSA may require additional information to determine the appropriate timeframe for return. The SADSA reserves the right to require a second opinion if the reason for the medical leave is not common for the medical condition or to confirm that a medical condition exists or if the SADSA believes a second opinion is warranted.

b. In cases of LOA for medical / health reasons:

i. The student must provide to the OSA a letter / documentation from the healthcare provider directly involved in the student’s care.

a. Students who feel that they need more than 12 months LOA may request an extension. The student must provide written documentation to the SADSA for the extension, leave length, and the rationale for the extension.

b. Students may appeal decisions made by the SADSA. Appeals are handled by the Executive Dean. The student will provide written documentation to the Executive Dean explaining the rationale for their appeal.

a. The SADSA, in consultation with appropriate University officials, faculty, and staff will determine the conditions for return from leave, requirements to remain in active status once the student returns from leave and the system for student monitoring upon return.

b. Upon return from the ALOA, SADSA, in consultation with all pertinent parties will determine the student’s placement within the curriculum. The return may require repeating, or auditing of classes or clerkships / electives already taken.

c. In the case of medical / health reasons, students need to provide documentation from the health care provider directly involved in the student’s care that they are fit to return to studies. The student may be required to comply with the healthcare provider’s prescribed treatment as a condition for returning from PLOA.

Note: A student who is granted a Leave of Absence for which the effective date for the leave is on or after the first day of the semester and they are enrolled in the WAUSM Healthcare insurance will remain enrolled in the health insurance for the semester when the leave was taken.



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