Under the Department of Education’s (DOE) Title IX regulations, an institution that receives federal funding “shall not discriminate against any student, or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom.”
According to the DOE, appropriate treatment of a pregnant student includes granting the student leave “for so long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician,” and then effectively reinstating the student to the same status as was held when the leave began.
Pregnant students are entitled to reasonable accommodations for as long as their physician deems medically necessary. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will review each student’s situation individually, as reasonable accommodations will be highly dependent on each person’s condition and the requirements of individual courses.
Examples of possible reasonable accommodations (when deemed medically necessary) are:
- Excused absences for care/recovery
- Reviewing lectures online
- Receiving assignments at home
- Opportunity to make up field/lab work
- Change in exam dates
- Assignment of an incomplete grade
- Allowing withdrawal with prorated refund
Pregnant students requiring accommodations should be treated in a similar manner as a student who has a temporary disability, and will be given an opportunity to make up missed work wherever possible. To the extent possible, Morningside will take reasonable steps to ensure pregnant students who take a leave of absence or medical leave return to the same position of academic progress that they were in when they took leave, including access to the same course catalog that was in place when the leave began. The Title IX Office has the authority to determine that such accommodations are necessary and appropriate, and to inform faculty members of the need to adjust academic parameters accordingly.
As with disability accommodations, information about pregnant students’ requests for accommodations will be shared with faculty and staff only to the extent necessary to provide the reasonable accommodation. Faculty and staff will regard all information associated with such requests as private and will not disclose this information unless necessary. Administrative responsibility for these accommodations lies with the Title IX Office, who will maintain all appropriate documentation related to accommodations.
In situations such as clinical rotations, performances, labs, and group work, the institution will work with the student to devise an alternative path to completion, if possible. In progressive curricular and/or cohort-model programs, medically necessary leaves are sufficient cause to permit the student to shift course order, substitute similar course, or join a subsequent cohort when returning from leave.
Students are encouraged to work with their faculty members and Morningside’s support systems to devise a plan for how to best address the conditions as pregnancy progresses, anticipate the need for leaves, minimize the academic impact of their absence, and return to making academic progress as efficiently and comfortably as possible. The Title IX Office will assist with the plan development and implementation as needed.
Title IX does not assist with childcare issues, bonding time, or similar parenting situations and challenges. Rights under Title IX are restricted to the medical recovery from pregnancy.