Hanover County Public Schools Homebound and Homebased Services Guidelines


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. For students receiving services through a 504 plan or an individual education plan (IEP), a 504 or IEP meeting should be scheduled to discuss any needed accommodations.

Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Homebound services have in the past typically been administered in the student’s home with a parent or responsible adult present. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic requires infection control measures be in place to protect those particularly vulnerable, guidance will be provided and protocols will be in place in order to safely transfer resources between home and school. In person, face to face instruction has been suspended during this health emergency.


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 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 online homebound services can be considered as an option.

In order to maintain a student’s eligibility for medical homebound instruction, he/she is not allowed to sustain outside employment or participate in extracurricular activities, unless the physician, psychiatrist, or clinical psychologist specifically states the need for these activities in writing. Participating in school activities during the school day is not allowed and after school activities will require permission from the school principal and homebound coordinator. Homebound instruction is not provided after the completion of the school year beyond the final report card issue date. 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 at the end of the nine weeks and written documentation is required to extend homebound.

Homebound services are available to students who are pregnant following the birth of the child and in cases where the physician determines that school attendance would present a health risk to the student prior to delivery. Six weeks of homebound services are provided post-partum.

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.

Hours of Homebound Instruction

Hours of homebound instruction based on the student’s grade level. The number of core classes the student is enrolled in per week determines the number of hours of homebound service the student required. Typically two hours of instruction is provided for each core class.

  • Elementary school students (k–5 grades) up to five hours of instruction per week. 
  • Middle school students (6–8 grades) up to eight hours of instruction per week.
  • High school students (9–12 grades) up to eight to 10 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 should be made to ensure academic progress; however, course credit must still be earned according to class requirements.

Homebound instruction is designed so that 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 a homebound 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 may not be comparable. Elective courses are not guaranteed.

The program for homebound instruction follows the calendar for the regular school year. Homebound teachers are not permitted to meet with students during school vacations, holidays, or snow days. School personnel need to work closely with the student, parent, and homebound teacher to determine an appropriate education plan for the student to complete assignments. It is expected that the homebound teacher and parent will agree on an appropriate schedule. If a schedule cannot be agreed upon, a delay in services may occur until another homebound teacher can be located.

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. A letter will be sent to the parent to confirm homebound approval.

Obtaining Homebound Teachers

All homebound teachers must have a current teaching license issued by the Virginia Board of Education. The school contact person is responsible for locating a homebound teacher for the student. A teacher in the student’s school may be considered as the student’s homebound teacher. If this is not possible, a teacher from another school in Hanover County Public Schools may be an option. 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 even if their name does not appear on the current homebound list.Due to schedule conflicts, there may be instances when two homebound teachers need to be utilized to fulfill the necessary hours of instruction.

Homebound/homebased teacher’s timesheets are required to be completed, signed by both the homebound teacher and school counselor or administration designee, then sent to the attention of Lauran Ziegler/Linda Clark at the School Board office for verification of KRONOS hours entered for payment by the end of the pay period in which the service was provided. Current HCPS employees are required to follow specific given directions when submitting their hours in KRONOS in order to receive payment for homebound/homebased services. These directions can be found on the HCPS intranet under the “Instruction” section. Timesheets that are received past the pay period deadline may not be processed. 

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 through online instruction(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 through online instruction (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 IEPs. The homebound or home-based program for these students should be monitored by the special education case manager. 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 services, implementing accommodations, 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. The lead teacher specialist for special education should be involved in any meeting where homebased is discussed. A copy of the prior written notice should be sent to the homebound office for documentation.

Responsibilities of the Home School

Each school in Hanover County will designate a school homebound coordinator, typically a school counselor. In the event that a student is attending face to face school and it becomes necessary for homebound instruction, this person will work in conjunction with The Hanover County online school to coordinate transition between the two schools.

The school homebound coordinator is responsible to:

  • Contact Lauran Ziegler, assistant director of special education and 
    coordinator of homebound services for Hanover County Public Schools upon receipt of a homebound referral form.
  • Adhere to guidelines in HCPS return-to-learn plan.
  • Secure a homebound teacher.

Coordinators are required to provide the name, phone number and email address of the person providing homebound/homebased instruction to Linda Clark via email as soon as they are secured. Homebound/homebased teachers will need to complete a brief training before beginning instruction.

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 Teachers

The classroom 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. 

The teacher of record is responsible for grading.

In addition, the student’s 504 coordinator or IEP case manager will perform oversight of student progress.

Responsibilities of the Parent(s) and Student

We expect the parent(s) and the student to work cooperatively. 
Parent(s) and student are required to:

  • Arrange for a parent (or responsible) adult to be in the home while instruction is provided.
  • Provide an environment conducive to learning.
  • 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 medically able, 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.


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

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