What is homebound services/instruction?
“Homebound” or “hospitalized” means a student who is capable of profiting from academic instruction but is unable to attend school due to illness, disease, accident, pregnancy or handicapped conditions, who has been examined by a competent medical doctor and is certified by the doctor as being unable to attend regular classes for a period of not less than three school months (ARS 15-761 (4) (3) as amended, 1984).
The purpose of homebound service/instruction is to maintain continuity in the educational process for those students who, because of an extended illness or condition, cannot attend school. Flagstaff Unified School District shall provide instruction, as appropriate, for student confined to home upon the request of parents and with the appropriate forms completed by a licensed medical physician.
Homebound instruction is intended to provide short-term tutoring/instruction and should not replace or duplicate school-based instruction. Therefore, the school team should prioritize and limit the subject areas to be taught by the homebound teacher. Homebound instruction, although correlated with what the student is missing in the classroom, shall be geared to the student’s needs and what the student is capable of doing during the period away from school. Our goal is to return students to the school setting as soon as possible. Students are exited from Homebound at the end of each school year. If homebound instruction needs to continue the following year, new paperwork must be completed and eligibility determined.
What is homebased services/instruction?
Homebased instruction under IDEA is determined by the IEP team. Medical documentation is not required for the IEP team to determine that instruction in the home is appropriate for the student. The Exceptional Student Services Director should be consulted in this case.
Who can receive homebound services/instruction?
- Only students who are enrolled in the Flagstaff Unified School District are eligible for homebound services/instruction.
- General or special education students may receive instructional services in a homebound setting.
- A student who is seen by a licensed medical physician and is expected to be away from the classroom (due to physical or medical reasons) for medical reasons for at least 3 months are candidates for homebound services.
- Pregnancy cases, which are problematic and includes a student who is unable to attend school for a period of less than 3 months. A competent medical doctor must certify that the student is unable to attend regular classes due to risk to the pregnancy or to the student’s health. Keep in mind that pregnancy in and of itself does not warrant homebound services. Homebound services are not provided because of issues related to the child (i.e. lack of childcare, sickness of a child or because the child is nursing).
- A student who is emotionally unstable and is under the care of a psychiatrist or licensed mental health provider.
When determining if homebound services are appropriate, the following must be considered:
- Length of medical absence
- Other school options, including: shortened schedule, change of courses, peer helper, intermittent rest periods (if any of these can be arranged, then homebound services are not needed.)
- Other activities in which students may be involved (if student holds a job, attends other school functions, or regularly takes part in personal outings in the community, then homebound is not needed. Other options should be considered.)
- Students must take all required tests.
Homebound Instruction IS:
Homebound Instruction IS NOT:
- Designed so that the student does not fall significantly behind during the period of confinement
- Interactive; the student is expected to participate in the instructional process and complete assignments
- Expected to include homework
- Intended to make every effort to ensure academic progress
- Intended to provide priority to core academic subjects
Roles and Responsibilities
- Intended to supplant school services
- Expected to have all work completed in the presence of the homebound teacher
- A substitute for course credit that must be earned according to class requirements
- A guarantee that specialty classes (i.e., requiring labs, special facilities or equipment) will be comparable
- Automatically inclusive of elective courses
- A guarantee of on-time graduation; all diploma requirements must be met for graduation
Identifying and serving students through Homebound Instruction is a shared responsibility and requires collaboration between parents, schools, and central office staff.
Student Support Services Director
The Director has responsibility for the following actions:
- Documenting the receipt of requests for homebound instruction
- Determining eligibility for Homebound Instruction
- Validating requests for homebound instruction for students with IEP’s, submitting such requests to the IEP team for determination of a change in placement
- Communicating the status of the request to appropriate school personnel, including the data clerk so that they can set the student up in Synergy as a Homebound student
- Entering Homebound attendance (minutes of instruction) in Synergy
- Coordinating the overall provision of services in a timely manner
- Facilitating the student’s return to instruction in the classroom
- Providing oversight of instruction
- Documenting that students who receive homebound services are included in Arizona’s State Assessment program.
Once parents request homebound services, the school counselor is responsible for:
- Contacting the Student Support Services Director to discuss the student’s situation and request homebound services
- If the director determines that the student may qualify for homebound services, then the counselor will provide parents with a medical certification for homebound services packet
- The school counselors should assist the family in determining how to best support the student in the interim until homebound services are approved
- Providing a record of the student’s schedule of classes, teachers, grades, and such other information as may be necessary
- The school counselor is responsible for insuring that the school test coordinator is aware of students who are receiving Homebound Instruction. The school testing coordinator will assist in coordinating the administration of state tests along with the homebound teacher.
The school counselor, classroom teacher(s), and the homebound teacher have joint responsibility in implementing the homebound program, including determining the manner and location in which the student will take any state assessments.
A student receiving homebound instruction is maintained on the rolls of the original attending school. The classroom teacher will:
- Provide the homebound teacher with appropriate instructional materials and information
- Be responsible for grading all assignments and tests, along with entering grades into Synergy
- Posting student grades as appropriate at the end of the reporting period
- Prompt feedback to the homebound teacher and student is expected, and necessary, in order to ensure progress
- Maintain close contact with the homebound teacher to monitor the instructional progress of the student
- Collaborate with the homebound teacher about the curriculum and appropriate instructional strategies
- Collaborate with the school’s test coordinator (STC) and the homebound teacher regarding state assessment
Homebound teachers are responsible for:
- Maintain close contact with the student’s teacher(s), counselor, and the Student Support Services Director to receive and implement appropriate educational programs
- Collect and use assignments and materials provided by the classroom teacher
- Provide direct instruction to the student
- Maintain an accurate record of the hours of instruction provided for each assigned student and file such information with the Director of Student Support Services
- Submit the student’s completed work to the designated school representative once completed and maintain written documentation of work completed with the homebound records
- Document any instructional time that is interrupted because of the child not being available for the instruction period
- Obtain necessary training for administering state tests
- Teachers may not teach a homebound student on school holidays or snow days.
The student and parent/guardian are expected to work cooperatively with the assigned homebound teacher and school personnel to comply with school policies and procedures for:
- Notifying the school counselor that homebound services may be needed
- Obtaining the medical certification for homebound services form from the physician or licensed clinical psychologist requesting homebound services and completing parental signature forms in order to begin homebound instruction, and returning the completed application form to the counselor at the student’s school
- Having a responsible adult in the home during the entire period of instruction
- Providing adequate facilities for teaching (quiet room without interruptions, with a table, chairs and appropriate supplies) or provide transportation to another agreed upon facility
- Having the student ready for instruction at the time designated by the homebound teacher
- Supervising daily homework
- Notifying the teacher, prior to the scheduled visit, if there is a contagious illness in the home or if there is an emergency
- Keeping all appointments with the homebound teacher (excessively missed appointments may result in suspension of services for general education students and may relieve the school from providing make-up services to students with disabilities)
- Making every effort to complete school assignments
- Advising the homebound teacher of any change in the student’s status that would necessitate modification or termination of homebound services
- Notifying the Director of Student Support Services of any missed appointments or tardiness by the homebound teacher
- Following the health care provider treatment plan by keeping appointments, therapy sessions, and so forth.
Certifying Physician or Clinical Psychologist
Homebound instruction is designed to provide continuity of educational services between the classroom and home or health care facility for students whose medical needs, both physical and psychiatric, do not allow school attendance for a time period of more than 3 months. At the time of the initial request, the physician or clinical psychologist must complete the medical certification for homebound services form as provided by the parent/guardian.
The School Nurse
The school nurse plays an essential role in the identification of students who may be eligible for Homebound Instruction due to medical conditions. Therefore, the school nurse will review requests for Homebound Instruction, which are based on medical conditions. The school nurse will review the information provided on the medical certification prior to forwarding the application to the Director of Student Support Services for approval. This process may include reviewing the student’s clinical file and/or contacting the certifying physician.
For students with medical conditions, the school nurse will be requested to participate in planning for a student’s return to school subsequent to a period of Homebound Instruction. This role may be consultative or advisory, but will serve to assist the student’s IEP or 504 team, or other support staff, in understanding the student’s need for accommodations and modifications in the school environment.
Homebound Instruction Application
The following steps comprise the application process:
- Parent/guardian requests the Homebound Instruction application from the student’s school counselor.
- Application is completed by a medical doctor; for psychiatric conditions, a psychiatrist or a licensed clinical psychologist is acceptable
- The application is submitted to a school counselor at the student’s school. For students with medical conditions, the application is routed to the school nurse for review prior to submitting to the Director of Student Support Services.
- The medical certification for homebound services is then forwarded to the Director of Student Support Services for processing.
- The Director will review the application, and contact the parent/guardian and the certifying medical professional if needed.
- If all information is complete and accurate, the Director may approve the application.
- If more information is needed, the Director will notify the parents that the application is incomplete and will identify the type of information needed in order to consider the application for approval.
Considerations for Students Identified with Disabilities
Students with disabilities have rights and protections under IDEA. If a student with a disability is found eligible for Homebased Instruction, the responsibilities for planning, implementing and monitoring the academic program remain with the student’s IEP team.
Hours of Homebound Instruction
Homebound students are required to have 4 hours per week with the homebound teachers. These hours may not be applicable in all instances (i.e., for students with IEP’s, the IEP team determines the hours required in accordance with the student’s educational needs).
Review and Termination of Services
Students receiving homebound instruction should return to school-based instruction as soon as possible.
The homebound teacher will assist the student, family, and school personnel with the student’s transition back to the classroom setting. However, other support staff, such as the school nurse, school counselor, IEP case manager, or school psychologist, may be more appropriately assigned to the student for transition purposes depending on the nature of the student’s needs.
If a student has an IEP, the IEP team must amend the IEP upon the ending period of homebased services in order to either return the student to the school setting or continue the homebased placement. Homebound/homebased instruction is designed so the student does not fall significantly behind during the period of confinement. It is necessary for the student to participate in the instructional process and complete assignments. Homework should be expected. Not all work will be completed in the presence of the homebound/homebased teacher. Every effort will be made to ensure academic progress; however, course credit must still be earned according to class requirements. Priority will be given to core academic subjects. Specialty classes (i.e., those requiring labs, special facilities or equipment) may not be comparable. Elective courses are not guaranteed.
For more information regarding homebound services, please contact your student's school counselor.