With the 2023-2024 academic year in full swing, a few poignant changes have caused a stir among Concord Academy students. One such hot topic is the controversy over the new Health Center guidelines, mainly surrounding the specific rules for the possession of medication for boarding students. 

Julie Genova, the new director of medical services at CA, explained the change in policies in a meeting with all boarding students on September 5, 2023. Essentially, all boarding students are no longer permitted to have any medication in their possession or stored in their dorms without having registered with the Health Center in a one-on-one meeting. Boarders are also not allowed to take any medication without the permission of the Health Center. This, at first, sounded like a reasonable request to most until she continued to detail that this guideline applied to everything: cough drops, itch cream, Tylenol, and even vitamins. 

I can not argue with legal logistics and lawsuit possibilities—which, most likely, are the reasons why CA put these new guidelines in place—but I certainly have an opinion on the way in which this policy change was handled. These new rules were thrown in the boarding community’s face like a threat in the midst of an already-everchanging, overwhelming beginning of the year. If the argument still stands that this is for our own safety, then why was that not at the forefront of the discussion? As conversations continued through the boarding assembly and afterward, all that students heard was a series of “no’s” that would limit them from taking care of themselves. Moreover, many saw it as another annoying errand to run, and the Health Center became very crowded in the days directly following this change.

Another point that struck many including myself was the fact that the Health Center would not permit any medication that was not in English with absolutely no exceptions. Again, I do realize that there was likely a legal basis behind this decision. However, considering how many international students call CA home, I wonder if there could have been a better compromise on this specific issue. Imagine the jet-lagged student realizing that their prescribed medication—which is important for their health—is something that they are no longer allowed to take. Now, they must schedule an appointment, if not multiple, with a new doctor—which is likely no easy feat for a high school student who does not live in the US. This problem is only further exacerbated for new students who are more likely to not have many local connections. 

If the intention of these changed rules was to protect us, I truly think CA should have made that clearer and shown it through action by putting forth plans to aid students in the change and extend a helping hand. What could have been a collaborative effort to make our community a safer place was instead received as an outright, unaccommodating demand from the school administration.