Homebound

Services

Homebound services are available to all students who are enrolled in Hanover County Public Schools. The program is designed to provide continuity of educational services between the classroom and home setting for students whose medical needs, either physical or psychiatric, preclude school attendance. It may also be used to supplement the classroom program for health impaired children whose conditions may interfere with consistent attendance (e.g., students receiving dialysis, chemotherapy, or radiation treatments) or for children with disabilities that prevent regular school attendance.  

While homebound instruction is helpful to students whose illnesses and special needs preclude school attendance for a period of time, it has limitations. Students who are injured or whose illnesses make it difficult for them to complete assignments independently may fall behind in their work. Students may not be able to complete requirements for certain classes while receiving homebound instruction. We encourage parents to work closely with the school contact person, typically the student’s school counselor, to make program choices that will ensure the success of their children who require homebound instruction.  

Homebound services are typically administered in the student’s home with a parent or responsible adult present. If an adult is unable to be present in the home during instruction, an appropriate public place (e.g. local library) can be utilized for homebound instruction. Parents are encouraged to work closely with the homebound teacher to establish a mutually agreed upon meeting time and place. A parent (or responsible adult) is required to be in the home while homebound instruction is provided by the homebound instructor.  

Eligibility

Students may be found eligible for homebound instruction if medical evidence shows that they are physically or emotionally unable to attend the regular public school. Eligibility is determined on the basis of information submitted by a physician, psychiatrist, or licensed clinical psychologist through the Homebound Referral Form. A treatment plan must also be submitted with any requests for homebound instruction. Homebound instruction will be available only to those students whom it is anticipated will be absent a minimum of two (2) weeks. Any student illness that prevents regular school attendance for less than two weeks is best handled at the school level rather than with homebound services. If a student experiences intermittent excessive absences due to a chronic medical condition, homebound services may be appropriate before the student actually misses a full two weeks of school. Homebound may be provided for these students on a periodic basis as specified by the physician.

In order to maintain a student’s eligibility for homebound instruction, he/she is not allowed to sustain outside employment or participate in extracurricular activities, unless the need for these activities is specifically stated in writing by the physician, psychiatrist, or clinical psychologist. Participating in school activities during the school day is not allowed and after school hour school activities will require permission from the school principal and homebound coordinator. Homebound instruction is not provided after the school year is completed. Any question regarding the approval of homebound services in unusual situations should be directed to the Homebound Coordinator at (804) 365-4535. If a child suffers from an emotional disorder and the attending psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist recommends homebound instruction, such instruction may be approved. A treatment plan must accompany the Homebound Referral Form for students suffering from an emotional disorder. The treatment plan must outline the child’s mental health diagnosis, treatment history, current treatment, and a date for returning the child to school. Weekly counseling is recommended for students who receive homebound instruction for emotional disorders. A mandatory review every nine weeks and written documentation is required to extend homebound. Homebound instruction is available to students who are pregnant following the birth of the child for six weeks or longer with a verification note from their physician. In cases where the physician determines that school attendance would present a health risk to the student prior to delivery, additional medical information is required before homebound services can begin.

In order to evaluate the need for homebound instruction, the parent/guardian of the student is requested to grant Hanover County Public Schools written permission to consult with the physician, psychiatrist, or licensed clinical psychologist. The exchange of information is essential in determining the initial eligibility and continued eligibility of the student in receiving homebound services. The Homebound Referral Form contains a statement for the parent to sign, granting Hanover County Public Schools permission to consult with the appropriate medical professional.

Procedures for Obtaining Homebound Services

In order to obtain homebound instruction, the parent or guardian must obtain a copy of the Homebound Referral Form. Contact the Homebound Office, for a copy of the form. The form must be completed in its entirety, signed by the attending physician, and returned to the school contact person or sent directly to the Homebound Coordinator located at the School Board Office at 200 Berkley Street, Ashland, Virginia, 23005. The fax number is (804) 365-4813. All requests for homebound instruction must be approved before services can begin. Prescription notes and letters from physicians in lieu of the initial medical referral form will not be accepted. When homebound instruction is requested for children who are emotionally unable to attend school, a treatment plan form must accompany the Homebound Referral Form. Once the request has been reviewed and approved, approval will be indicated by signature and a copy will be returned to the school contact person.

Obtaining Homebound Teachers

The school homebound coordinator is responsible for locating a homebound teacher for the student. A list of homebound teachers will be provided to every school contact each September and updated as the school year progresses. Any teacher currently employed by Hanover County Public Schools is eligible to provide homebound services. Homebound teachers must have a current teaching license.

Special Education

Below is a clarification of terminology specific to children receiving special education services who receive services in the home.

“Homebound instruction” means academic instruction provided to students in the home setting (or other agreed upon location) who are unable to attend school for extended periods of time that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a physician, psychiatrist, or licensed clinical psychologist. For a child receiving special education services, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be amended to reflect the homebound placement, including the number of hours of service.

“Home-based instruction” means academic instruction provided to students in the home setting (or other agreed upon location) in accordance with the child’s IEP. The IEP must be amended to reflect the home-based placement, including the number of hours of service. In certain situations, the home-based instruction may be provided for special education students who have been suspended from school or for students who are waiting for another educational placement to be arranged.

All guidelines of homebound must be followed if the referral for the services is a result of a recommendation from a medical professional. If services are a result of an IEP decision, the special education lead teacher specialists must be notified and involved in the IEP process for children receiving home-based services.

Each school is responsible for ensuring the delivery of appropriate educational services for students who have IEP’s. The homebound or home-based program for these students should be monitored by the special education case manager who will inform the homebound teacher of IEP modifications and/or accommodations. The Special Education case manager is responsible for ensuring that legal responsibilities for implementing the IEP are followed. This includes the revision of the IEP for homebound services, monitoring due dates for IEP and triennial, and updating IEP progress. Eligibility for home-based instruction is determined through the IEP process and does not require approval from the homebound coordinator. 

Hours of Homebound Instruction

  • Elementary school students (K–5 grades) up to five hours of instruction per week

  • Middle school student (6–8 grades) up to eight hours of instruction per week

  • High school students (9–12 grades) up to ten hours of instruction per week

When long-term homebound instruction is requested for high school students carrying more than five credits, the student’s schedule may need to be revised. All time allotments for homebound instruction are dependent upon the physical and emotional condition of the student. Every effort is made to ensure academic progress; however, students must still earn course credit according to class requirements.

The program for homebound instruction follows the calendar for the regular school year. We do not permit homebound teachers to meet with students during school vacations, holidays, or snow days. There may be circumstances when services need to be extended a few days beyond the last day of school. These unique situations need to be handled by the home school. School personnel will work closely with the student, parent, and homebound teacher to determine an appropriate education plan for the student to complete assignments. School Administration should notify the HCPS Homebound Coordinator prior to the last day of school if services need to be extended. Although homebound instruction is not typically provided when school is not in session, individual student’s medical circumstances or a teacher’s schedule may warrant instruction to be provided on a more flexible schedule (e.g. weekends). This alternative requires prior approval by the HCPS Homebound Coordinator.

The homebound teacher and parent should agree on an appropriate schedule and meeting place. If a schedule cannot be agreed upon, a delay in services may occur until we can locate another homebound teacher.

A missed appointment for homebound or home-based is reported to the home school as a day of absence and an excuse must be provided, similar to the practices that occur the home school.

Responsibilities of the Home School

The home school is responsible for monitoring the educational services while the student is receiving homebound instruction. Students receiving homebound instruction are carried on the attendance rolls of their home schools. A staff member from the home school is designated as the contact person for each individual case. The school contact person is typically the child’s school counselor, but this will vary depending on the school. The school contact person, classroom teacher(s), and the homebound instructor will work cooperatively to provide services. The school homebound coordinator is responsible to:

  • Notify the teacher(s) of the need for homebound instruction, and establish an effective means of communication with the homebound teacher

  • Notify the teacher(s) of their responsibility to provide the homebound teacher with the necessary materials and assignments in a timely manner

  • Notify the teacher(s) of their responsibility for grading, to maintain records of grades, and provide new assignments as work is completed

  • Provide all necessary homebound timesheets, contract, and student progress reports to the homebound teacher

  • Provide signature on the homebound timesheet and student progress report prior to the timesheet being submitted to the school board office for payment

  • Provide classroom teacher(s) with information from the student progress monthly report submitted by the homebound teacher as appropriate

  • Keep on file the student progress report

  • Work with the homebound teacher to provide overall instruction to the student placed on homebound and monitor the progress of the student

  • Notify the parent and student one week before homebound is to terminate

Homebound teachers are not responsible for creating assignments or tests. The instructional program is the direct responsibility of the classroom teacher. This includes the responsibility to collaborate on a regular basis regarding the content and appropriate materials to enable students to stay current with class expectations.

Responsibilities of Homebound Teachers

The homebound teacher is essential to the team of persons whose function is to provide the materials and instruction that will enable the homebound student to maintain academic progress while recovering. This role requires accurate and timely communication. To ensure the success of the program, the homebound teacher must collaborate with the classroom teacher(s).

Once the school contact person has obtained a homebound teacher, the homebound teacher is responsible to:

  • Establish an effective means of communication with the school contact person and the classroom teacher(s)

  • Obtain all necessary homebound timesheets and student progress reports in order to document all hours of instruction and planning

  • Contact the parent(s) to arrange a schedule of instruction within 24 hours of accepting the homebound position and begin providing instruction as soon as possible; do not delay homebound services in an effort to obtain all assignments from the school

  • Confirm that the parent (or responsible adult approved by parent) has made arrangements to be in the home during homebound instruction

  • Provide instruction, monitor the student’s work for accuracy, and communicate any concerns about the student’s progress to the school contact person (Return completed work to the home school on a regular basis for the classroom teacher(s) to grade.)

  • Submit homebound timesheet and student progress report to the school contact person for signature before forwarding the timesheet to the school board office by the end of each pay period. (The school homebound coordinator will provide the classroom teacher(s) with information from the student progress monthly report submitted as appropriate.)

  • Submit timesheet once signed by the school homebound coordinator to the Homebound Coordinator at the School Board Office, (804) 365-4535.

  • Homebound teachers will submit the Student Progress Report with the timesheet. A copy of the Student Progress Report will be kept at the school and shared with the classroom teacher(s) as appropriate. The progress report should state specifically all subjects taught, tests administered, and the level of effort displayed by the student.

  • Claim only the actual time spent in planning and consulting with the child’s teachers. Do not include any time spent in travel to the child’s home. It should be noted that some homebound students may not require the full amount allocated for planning. Homebound teachers will receive payment for up to (1) hours per pay period per child for secondary students and up to one half (1/2) hour per pay period per child for elementary students to compensate for planning time.

  • Accurately report your time spent providing instruction. This is crucial, as we perform random audits on individual timesheets each year to verify the reliability of the timesheet.

Responsibilities of the Parent(s) and Student

We expect the parent(s) and the student to work cooperatively with the home school and assigned homebound teacher. Parent(s) and student are required to:

  • Arrange for a parent (or responsible) adult to be in the home while homebound instruction is provided

  • Provide an environment conducive to learning

  • Work closely with the homebound teacher to establish a mutually agreed upon appropriate public place (e.g. local library)

  • Arrange for parental transportation of the student if homebound instruction is being provided at a public place such as a library

  • Sign and initial the teacher’s time sheet to confirm that the services listed were provided

  • Keep all appointments with the homebound teacher as arranged (We do not permit students to cancel homebound sessions. Excessive cancellations of appointments may result in the inability of the student to earn credit or be promoted. Cancellations may also result in the suspension of the service.)

  • Work with the school to set reasonable goals and make any necessary changes to the student’s instructional program as necessitated by the student’s condition
    Make every effort to keep up with schoolwork as assigned

  • Provide updated medical documentation at the end of the approved period of time (Alert the homebound instructor and the student’s school of any change in the medical status that might result in the modification or termination of homebound services.) 

Review and Termination of Services

The duration of homebound instruction depends on the nature and extent of the illness or disability of each student. Students should return to school when homebound instruction is no longer medically necessary, whether or not assignments are complete and up to date.    

If a student is medically unable to return to school at the end of the approved period of time, we require additional updated medical documentation. The parents of every child receiving homebound instruction are responsible for providing to the homebound coordinator updated written verification from a medical professional. For the extension of services, prescription notes and letters from physicians are accepted.

Homebound instruction services will be terminated if written medical verification is not provided in a timely manner.

Contact

Lauran Ziegler, Assistant Director Special Education
(804) 365-4535

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