How Do We Treat Our Students Who Have Been Dropped From the Clinical Program Due To Coronavirus?
Scenario: Our clock-hour program includes a clinical which is required for all students in the program. The students were enrolled and attending the clinical; however the hospital has now decided to cease all clinicals/externships due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Answer: According to guidance NASFAA received from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), in certain instances, schools may use a leave of absence for their students. Per ED:
"Normally, institutions are not permitted to put students on a leave of absence while coursework, including clinicals or internships/externships, is suspended. However, if a student’s coursework is cancelled as a result of COVID-19 and the student is enrolled in a clock hour program, in this limited circumstance the Department will permit the institution to put the student on an approved leave of absence until the institution can resume coursework or can find another placement for the student. This will prevent the institution from considering the student to be withdrawn and performing an R2T4 calculation that will need to be reversed.
Note that this guidance only applies if there is a reasonable expectation that the institution will be able to resume coursework and/or find a placement for the student. If the institution cannot resume coursework or find a placement for a student in this circumstance within 180 days, or if the number of days in all of the student’s approved leaves of absence in a calendar period has exceeded 180 days, the student must be considered withdrawn and an R2T4 calculation performed."
The above guidance has been excerpted from the COVID-19 FAQs document attached to ED's March 5, 2020 Electronic Announcement.
See AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, Must It Be a Title IV-Approved Leave Of Absence To Qualify Under the COVID-19 Guidance?
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Publication Date: 3/20/2020