Health Policies

Health Policies

Good health enables students to focus on their educational and professional goals and their learning experiences.  The College is committed to providing a learning environment that emphasizes good health care as both a foundational component of personal growth as well as an integral element of participating in a learning community.  In order to assist students in making positive choices about personal health and wellness, the Mary Walker Health Center provides programs and services in primary health care, counseling and mental health and wellness education programs:  Primary Health Care  315.312.4100; Counseling and Mental Health Care 315.312.4416; Lifestyles Center  315.312.5648  (Wellness and Alcohol and Other Drugs programs).

1.     Health Care Services  

Students seeking services at Walker Health Center must comply with the following requirements:

     A.   All students, graduate and undergraduate, part-time and full-time, must submit a completed health history form and an immunization record to the Walker Health Center in order to register for orientation, enroll in classes, reside in residence halls, and receive services from the health center.

     B.   All students must present a valid student identification card at the welcome desk in the health center, counseling center or Lifestyles Center.

     C.  All full-time students are required to provide evidence of health insurance coverage either through the student health insurance plan available from Auxiliary Services (315.312.2106) or as a dependent under a parent or guardian plan or as a subscriber to a personal insurance plan.

     D.  All graduate and undergraduate students enrolled as either part-time or full-time and registered for academic credit at the College shall pay the Student Health Fee that appears on the student bill each semester (including summer courses) of enrollment.  The health fee provides the sole funding source for health services and is reviewed annually by a student advisory committee.  

    E.  A request for a waiver of the student health fee may be submitted to the Dean of Students Office by any non-resident student who is enrolled entirely in one of the following:

  • Distance learning/on line courses
  • Courses located at an extension site or branch campus
  • Courses at the Oswego campus that are scheduled to begin at 4:00 pm or later
  • An internship or field experience outside of the Oswego vicinity

2. Immunization Requirements: Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR)

     A.   Public Health Law 2165 prohibits students from attending classes or living in residence halls unless they comply with state mandated immunization requirements. Therefore, every undergraduate and graduate student registered for academic credit and meeting as a class or a sub-set of a class to fulfill class obligations is responsible for presenting proof of immunity to Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) in accordance with New York State Public Health Law 2165. Proof of immunity is a completed Immunization Record signed by a medical practitioner and is to be submitted to the Director of Student Health Services in the Mary Walker Health Center. Certified immunization information can also be obtained by the student from their physician, their high school or from a previously attended college in New York.

    B.  Exemptions from the immunization requirement are persons born before 1957 and students registered for on-line course(s) that do not include group meetings in a classroom or group session during the semester, either on campus or at an alternate site.  Waivers are also granted based on evidence of medical or religious reasons upon written request to the Director of Health Services at the Mary Walker Health Center on campus (315.312.4100).

    C.  Specifics of the MMR immunization requirements are:

  • Measles (rubeola) - Documented proof of two inoculations with a live virus vaccine, the first given after the first birthday:

˃                Physician documentation of the disease or

                  Serologic (blood test) proof of immunity to rubeola

  • Mumps - Documented proof of 1 inoculation with a live virus vaccine on or after the first birthday:

˃                Physician documentation of the disease or

˃                Serologic proof of immunity to mumps

  • Rubella - Documented proof of one inoculation with a live virus vaccine on or after the first birthday or Serologic proof of immunity to rubella

 3. Immunization: Meningococcal Meningitis

Colleges in New York State are now required to maintain a record of the following for each student enrolled for at least 1 credit hour per semeste

  • A response to receipt of meningococcal disease and vaccine information signed by the student or student’s parent or guardian: AND EITHER
  • Record of meningococcal meningitis immunization within the past 5 years OR
  • Acknowledgment of meningococcal disease risks and refusal of meningococcal meningitis immunization signed by the student or student parent or guardian.

4. Mental health Intervention

      A. Welfare Intervention

             1.)    In some cases, a student may experience increasing psychological or physical distress and lose their ability to focus or to study due to the onset of physical or     emotional conditions or relationship issues. Under stressful conditions, students can experience difficulty studying, sleeping, eating, interacting with others, or successfully completing their academic obligations, field experiences, or employment obligations.  In some instances, the College, through the Residence Life staff or University Police, will visit a student’s residence to check on their welfare.

            2.)     Timely recourse to on-campus or off-campus referral services can be important to successfully addressing emotional distress, psychological health, or health and personal safety issues.  In cases where the student cannot focus on their studies, is anxious or disrupting class or campus activities, cannot sleep or eat properly, the student should contact the Health Center or the Counseling Center.  Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to engage such students and help them seek services available on campus.  College intervention in all such cases, when possible, will focus on mitigating the distress and the risk so that the student may return to the effective pursuit of their educational purposes, if possible. 

B. Mental Health Supports and Interventions

           1.)      Occasionally, a student under stress may act in ways that are inconsistent with successful participation in classroom, field placement, residence hall, or other College activities.  Faculty, staff, and students who encounter students that appear to be experiencing distress in their interpersonal interactions, daily activities, or academic performance should contact the Counseling Center, the Health Center, the Residence Hall Director, or the Compass staff to discuss their concerns in a private setting.  Usually, the Counseling Services Center staff can advise the reporter on a specific strategy for referring the student to counseling services, and in some cases, intervene on site to help the student.

           2.)      Concern for the welfare of a student that includes a perceived imminent threat of harm to the student or to others should be reported immediately to University Police at 315.312.5555.  Counselors are on call and can be contacted by University Police for immediate referral, on site or in the counseling center.  Less imminent but serious concern for a student’s welfare should be referred to the Counseling Center at 315.312.4416, Walker Health Center at 315.312.4100, the Associate Provost at 315.312.2232, or the Dean of Students at 315.312.5483.

           3.)      Most students experiencing emotional distress can be served at the College’s Counseling Services Center, or through their referral.  Occasionally, a student will act against their own health and safety due to distress or psychological concerns.

            4.)     Students are sometimes transported, voluntarily and involuntarily, to the Oswego Hospital for medical and psychological evaluation and to assess the need for psychiatric services.  All students transported to the hospital for evaluation are mandated to report to the College’s Counseling Center the next class day after discharge from the Oswego Hospital.  Vouchers are available from the hospital Emergency Room and from the Behavioral Unit for taxi service for college students to return back to their residence hall.  Students will, at that point, authorize the release of information to the Counseling Center and Oswego Hospital so they can share information regarding the condition and needs of the student.

     C. Behavioral Intervention Team

The College provides a Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) to respond to students experiencing psychological or emotional distress, exhibiting distress or disoriented behavior or where referral or transport to a hospital for reasons of psychological or emotional distress or disorientation occurs.  Generally, the Behavioral Intervention Team will assess the nature and pattern of behavior, the level of severity of disruption, a pattern of disruptive occurrences, the imminence of an occurrence of harm, the likelihood of an occurrence of harm, the duration of the risk of harm, and the extent of disruption to College activities.  All BIT deliberations and information related to a student are private to the extent permitted by law. Consultation may occur with officials of the College with a legitimate educational interest or other appropriate parties.  The objective of the Behavioral Intervention Team is to engage the students in managing and ultimately alleviating their distress.

D. Mandatory Evaluaiton and Medical Withdrawal

        1.)    Whenever the behavior of a student appears to pose a serious threat to the health or safety of others or to the functioning of College activities, a mandatory referral for psychological or other health evaluations to assess a student's ability to continue to take advantage of College programs and activities may be made by the Dean of Students or designee as a result of a Behavioral Intervention Team assessment.  The student would be notified and the assessment would be conducted by a staff member at the Counseling Center. The student may choose to be evaluated also by an external evaluator with the approval of the Dean of Students or designee.  The student must initiate the evaluation process within 48 hours of being informed that it is required.

         2.)    The student may be directed to authorize the release information from medical and/or psychological practitioners who have previously or are currently treating her/him.  The student is required to provide release of information so that counseling professionals and the Dean of Students or designee can share information and gather broader information regarding support received from caregivers outside the College

         3.)    The evaluation will assess the following:

               a)    The nature, duration, and severity of the risk that the student poses to the safety of others

               b)    The likelihood that a student constitutes a threat to the safety of others exists and will continue

               c)    Actions, if any, that could be taken to manage and/or reduce the student’s risk to others and maintain enrollment

               d)   The likelihood that the student can regain and maintain academic success within the context of our social and residential environment

         4.)     A student who has been directed by the Dean of Students or designee to participate in a psychological evaluation may be subject to interim suspension from the College and/or interim revocation of his/her campus room and board agreement until the evaluation is completed. Upon completion of the psychological evaluation, the student will meet with the Dean of Students or designee. The student's ability to fully participate in the College curricular and extracurricular programs and services will be reviewed by the Dean of Students or the Behavioral Intervention Team and recommendations will be made to the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee for a final determination.  This assessment may result in deregistration from enrollment or in establishing conditions for continued enrollment.

         5.)    In cases where the distress or disorientation causes a violation of the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, a Statement of Charges may be filed and the student will be subject to College disciplinary action.  If a student withdraws from SUNY Oswego while disciplinary action or a mandatory evaluation is pending, that student is prohibited from access to College facilities and grounds and all College-sponsored activities and events, pending the completion and outcome of said disciplinary action or mandatory evaluation.

 E.  Return to Enrolled Status

Students separated from the College under this policy may make a request to return by providing documentation from an appropriately licensed mental health professional that the distress and attendant conduct have been resolved. The documentation should address:

          1.)     Compliance with the student’s provider’s treatment recommendations, including any recommendations for medication evaluation/management, and progress with treatment plans.  How well and how long the student has complied with treatment recommendations will be important information to be taken into consideration.

          2.)     Assessment regarding ability to function socially and academically without disruption to others in the campus community and without supervision of the student’s behavior.

          3.)      Recommendations that have been made to the student for ongoing counseling and medical care.

          4.)      A plan for the student’s follow-up in the Oswego area that includes treatment by mental health professionals (off campus) that is coordinated and addresses treatment recommendations.

The documentation should be accompanied by a written request from the student and submitted to the Dean of Students or designee. The Dean of Students or designee may require the student to be evaluated by a staff member at the Counseling Center. The Dean of Students or designee will then recommend to the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee whether or not the separation will be reversed.  The decision will be made by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee and is final.   Conditions for readmission may be required by the College prior to readmission. In addition, if the student was academically disqualified during the semester of their withdrawal, the student must also apply for academic reinstatement through the dean of the college or school that houses their major.

 5. Student Health Insurance

        A.  Full-time students are automatically enrolled in the College's Student Health Insurance Plan and the health insurance charge appears on the student bill.  Students will be covered under this policy if they pay the health insurance premium as part of their payment of tuition and other fees.  If students wish to continue to be covered under their parent's or a personal health insurance plan, a Health Insurance Waiver Form and proof of health insurance must be submitted.  The waiver form is available here

        B.  If choosing to continue a parent or personal health insurance plan, please make sure this plan has coverage for out-patient services in Oswego. This is important for outpatient ordered tests such as x-rays or lab work. Insurance is not necessary for services at Walker Health Center, but insurance may be utilized for testing.

        C.  Coverage begins on August 1 of the current academic year.  Students purchasing the insurance for both semesters will have coverage through July 31 of the succeeding year.  Full-time undergraduate and graduate students will see the charge for the insurance from August 1 - December 31 on the fall bill.  This charge can be removed from your bill by returning the waiver form to Auxiliary Services no later than September 15 of the current semester.  If the insurance is waived for the fall semester, it will automatically be waived for the spring semester.  The charge for the insurance from January 1 - July 31 will be on the spring bill if it was not waived the previous fall semester.  In order to remove the charge for the spring semester the waiver form must be submitted to the Auxiliary Services Office no later than February 15 of the current semester  Questions related to the Student Health Insurance Plan can be directed to Auxiliary Services, 506 Culkin Hall, 315.312.2107.

 6. Hiv (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Testing

NYS law requires that all patients presenting to a health care facility be offered an HIV test.  This law went into effect on September 1, 2010.  Therefore ALL students receiving Mary Walker Health care services are offered the opportunity to have an HIV test. The cost is $5.00.They may opt in or out. We encourage students to have an HIV test administered.  The results are available in approximately twenty minutes. Students will receive information at the time of their visit about this policy and the benefits of testing for HIV.

 7. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome    

      A. The best current medical evidence indicates that restrictions need not be placed on the employment, enrollment, or residential status of people with AIDS, whether they are symptomatic or not, as long as their health enables them to perform the duties and activities required as students or employees.  Special accommodations for people who are immunologically compromised will be made on an individual basis.  Students seeking accommodations shall present documentation to Director of Student Health Services and/or Disability Services.

      B.  General principles in forming this policy are the health and safety of all individuals; the right to privacy; the need to respond flexibly on a case-by-case basis; and adherence to the recommendations of the Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  The College considers AIDS a medical condition falling within the definition of a disability in the Human Rights Law.  Discrimination based on AIDS will not be condoned in the Oswego community.

 8. Infectious Disease Outbreak

In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, the College contingency plan will be implemented by the Director or designee of Student Health Services. Specific members of the college contingency team will be notified. Collaboration with Oswego County, NYS State Health Department, and/or Center for Disease Control (CDC) will follow research based protocols.  Communication updates will be managed by SUNY Oswego Public Affairs.