Guidelines for Homebound and Home Based Instruction

Homebound Forms (Word format)
Homebased Form (Green) - revised July 2019
Homebound Instruction Form (Blue) - revised July 2019

Office of Special Education
450 Radio Lane
, VA 22701
(540) 825-3677 ext. 3135


Culpeper County Public Schools

Revised July, 2019


The Virginia Board of Education through the regulations establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia requires in 8 VAC 20-131-180 that:
Homebound instruction shall be made available to students who are confined at home or in a health care facility for periods that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a licensed physician or licensed clinical psychologist.  For students eligible for special education or related services, the Individualized Education Program committee must revise the IEP, as appropriate, to direct off-site instruction. Credit for the work shall be awarded when it is done under the supervision of a teacher licensed by the Board of Education and meets the requirements of 8 VAC 20-131-110.
Schools are encouraged to pursue alternative means to deliver instruction to accommodate student needs through emerging technologies and other similar means. Standard units of credit shall be awarded for successful completion of such courses when the course is equivalent to that offered in the regular school program and the work is done under the supervision of a licensed teacher.  Verified units of credit may be earned when the student has successfully completed the requirements and passed the SOL test associated with the course.  The local school board shall develop policies governing this method of delivery of instruction that shall include the provisions of 8 VAC 20-131-110 and the administration of required SOL tests prescribe by 8 VA 20-131-30.
Instruction that occurs within the environs of the child’s home falls in several categories: home-based (also known as administrative homebound), home instruction, and homebound.  Please note that these procedures address only students requiring homebound instruction.
These procedures have been developed to provide guidance for CCPS staff, students, and parents in the provision of homebound instructional services to students who are confined at home or in a health care facility.  For the purposes of homebound instructional services, “confined at home or in a health care facility” means the student is unable to participate in the normal day-to-day activities typically expected during school attendance; and absences from home are infrequent, of relatively short duration, or to receive health care treatment.

Overview of Services

Culpeper County Public Schools (CCPS) is responsible for providing instructional services for public school students who must be temporarily confined at home or in a health care facility.  This includes health care facilities located outside of Culpeper County if the student is enrolled in CCPS. Students must be enrolled in CCPS in order to receive homebound instruction.
The goals of homebound services are to sustain continuity of instruction and to facilitate the student returning to school.  Homebound instructional services are not a guarantee that the student will progress in the academic program.
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 limited period of time. Homebound instruction may be used to supplement the classroom program for students with health impairments whose conditions may interfere with regular school attendance (e.g., students receiving dialysis or radiation/chemotherapy; or students with other serious health conditions).

Eligibility for Homebound Services

Eligibility for homebound instructional services is a collaborative decision between the treating health care provider, parent/guardian, and CCPS personnel.  Prior to requesting homebound services, the parent/guardian and school personnel should explore options for school-based instruction to meet the medical needs of the student. If homebound services are needed, approval of services is based upon a completed medical certification of need.  
In order to start the process of homebound instruction, the Homebound Instruction Medical Certification of Need form, available at the CCPS website and in all CCPS school offices, must be completed by the student’s licensed health care provider (MD or licensed nurse practitioner, licensed psychologist) and parent/guardian and turned in to the Office of Special Education, located in the CCPS School Board Office at 225 Radio Lane, Culpeper, VA.  
The medical certification of need is the health care provider’s documentation of the student’s illness, treatment plan, and the estimated length of recovery time.  The certification must be fully completed, including parental permission to contact the treating physician or licensed clinical psychologist, in order for the student to be considered for homebound services.  The Office of Special Education reviews all requests for completeness of information and appropriateness of the request and will follow up with the treating physician or licensed clinical psychologist to clarify the need for homebound instruction versus school-based instruction with appropriate accommodations, as necessary.  Homebound services are for student illness/injury only; services are not appropriate to compensate for absences related to family care or illness. 
Requested homebound instruction for students receiving special education services shall be subject to review by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  As part of its review and determination of a change in placement, the IEP Team must review the approved medical certification of need for homebound instruction and determine the appropriate placement for the student based on the student’s educational needs.  Parental consent must be obtained to amend the IEP, prior to initiation of homebound services. 
If the IEP Team determines that homebound services are appropriate, the team must include language in the IEP that clearly defines the time period for the frequency and duration of the homebound services.  The IEP may also include a statement that the IEP Team will reconsider the need for continuation of services by a specified date.  The IEP Team will add a statement that addresses the fact that these services are temporary and thus do not constitute a permanent change in placement and are not the “stay put” placement should the IEP Team and parents later disagree over the continuation of homebound services. 

Initiation of Service

Once the Homebound Instruction Medical Certification of Need form is received by the Office of Special Education, every effort will be made to approve or deny requests within three instructional days. However, this timeline is dependent on being able to communicate with the health care provider in the event that additional information/clarification is needed.

Homebound instruction will be initiated as soon as possible following receipt of a complete certification, but no later than five instructional days upon approval of the request.  In cases where the student has an IEP, the approval of the homebound request will be transmitted to the IEP Team by the Office of Special Education and the student’s special education case manager will schedule an IEP meeting for the purpose of reviewing the homebound approval and determining a change in placement for the student. 
Homebound instruction is provided by licensed teachers and most are teachers employed full-time by Culpeper County Public Schools.  Since most homebound teachers work in schools during the school day, homebound services are usually provided in the evenings and/or on weekends.  
In the event that services do not start within five days of approval, or if approval was delayed due to difficulty communicating with the health care provider, CCPS will determine whether compensatory services for the student are warranted, and the amount of compensatory services.  For students with IEPs, the IEP Team will review and determine whether compensatory services for the student are warranted if there is any delay in the initiation of services or any interruption in the services.

Types of Homebound Services/Settings for Services
Homebound services are individualized to meet the needs of individual students.  For example, some students require “full-time” services (for up to 9 weeks) based on acute illnesses that prevent them from attending school for a short period of time.  

Other students may have the need for intermittent services based on chronic illnesses that “flare up” periodically.  These are services that would start and stop, based on pre-defined triggers.  Examples of students who may require intermittent homebound services are those with cancer, while they are receiving chemotherapy or are immune suppressed; or, children with sickle cell disease who are in “crisis.”  The homebound instructional services for these students should be individualized to minimize the interruption of instruction

Based on the premise that instruction should take place in the school setting to the fullest extent possible, CCPS will provide part-time homebound instruction for students who can tolerate less than a full day in the classroom setting.  
Homebound instruction may be provided to eligible students utilizing online technology.  
If the home setting is not deemed appropriate for instruction and the student’s condition allows, homebound instruction may take place at the school, public library, or other agreed upon location.
For secondary students requiring homebound services, every effort is made to secure homebound teachers licensed in secondary content areas.  For this reason, it may be necessary for multiple homebound teachers to be assigned to secondary students. 

Review and Termination of Service

Students receiving homebound instruction are expected to return to school-based instruction as soon as possible.  Homebound services will be approved for periods no greater than nine calendar weeks.  If it is necessary for homebound instruction to continue beyond nine weeks, an extension or reauthorization form, including treatment plan, progress towards treatment goals, and specific plans to transition the student back to the school setting, will be required from the treating health care provider to document the need for extended services.

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 homebound services in order to either return the student to the school setting or continue the homebound placement.

Hours of Homebound Instruction

Homebound 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 is expected.  Not all work will be completed in the presence of the 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 (i.e., those requiring labs, special facilities or equipment) may not be comparable.  Elective courses are not guaranteed (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

What it is or not

The following represents the minimum hours of instruction to be provided.  These hours may not be applicable in all instances (i.e., for students with IEPs, the IEP Team determines the hours required in accordance with the student’s educational needs).

1. Elementary school students – one hour per day
2. Middle school students – eight hours per week
3. High school students – two hours per core academic subject per week; other accommodations on an individualized basis

When calculating the amount of hours per week of homebound instruction owed to a student, holidays and other days that CCPS is closed are not counted.  Services are typically not provided on those days unless the parent/guardian and the homebound teacher mutually agree to a homebound session on such day.  The session would count for hours owed for other days that CCPS is open.

Responsibility for Provision of Services
The Classroom Teacher
A student receiving homebound instruction is maintained on the class roll.  The classroom teacher will:

1. Provide the homebound teacher with appropriate instructional materials and information;
2. Collaborate with the homebound teacher to provide instructional consultation and problem-solving;
3. Be responsible for grading procedures in collaboration with the homebound teacher;
4. Maintain close contact with the homebound teacher, supervising online instruction to monitor the instructional progress of the student; and
5. Collaborate with the homebound teacher about the curriculum and appropriate instructional strategies.

Time is of the essence.  When informed that a student has been approved for homebound instruction, it is imperative that classroom teachers act quickly to gather instructional materials and assignments to provide to the homebound teacher and that assignments and materials are consistently provided in a timely manner during the time that the student is receiving homebound instruction.
It is not always realistic for students on homebound instruction to complete every assignment and activity that takes place in a classroom.  Teachers must prioritize assignments and activities to make sure the student participates in critical activities for mastery of skills and standards, but have the flexibility to excuse assignments that aren’t essential.
In addition to the option of decreasing the number of assignments required for students on homebound instruction, teachers should also keep in mind that some assignments and activities done in a classroom will need to be modified for 1:1 implementation by the homebound teacher.  Students with certain medical conditions may require a modification of assignments as well.   Some families do not have access to a computer or to the internet, in which case assignments may need to be modified.  Projects are often ideal for homebound instruction depending on the resources available to the student.  It may be appropriate to substitute several assignments on a topic for a project that the student can complete at home.  Teachers must communicate and collaborate with the homebound teacher to determine an appropriate plan for assignments.  

Teachers must inform the homebound teacher of their use of google classroom, Powertest or any other technology resource used in the classroom and provide the homebound teacher access to these resources.  

Students participating in homebound instruction still need to take scheduled SOL tests.  Classroom teachers should make sure to coordinate with your school’s testing coordinator and the homebound teacher regarding which tests need to be administered and any accommodations that are required for students with IEPs or 504 Plans.

Responsibilities of the Homebound Teacher

1. Contact the parent/guardian immediately upon being given the homebound assignment to establish a regular weekly schedule of homebound instruction.

2. Maintain close contact with the student’s teachers, counselor, or the Office of Special Education to receive and implement appropriate educational programs;
3. Use assignments and materials provided by the classroom teacher;
4. Maintain an accurate record of the hours of instruction provided for each assigned student and  submit a weekly documentation form to the Office of Special Education;
5. Submit the student’s completed work to the designated school representative prior to the end of the grading period and maintain written documentation of work completed, or in cases where online instruction is used, provide a written record; and
6. Document any instructional time that is interrupted because of the child not being available for the instruction period. 
7. Inform the Office of Special Education of any difficulties with scheduling or any other concern that arises. 
8. Any sessions canceled by the homebound teacher must be made up as quickly as possible.  Sessions canceled by the parent are generally not made up.  However, if the student has a chronic illness that causes frequent cancellations, CCPS will make every effort to accommodate the missed sessions.  Cases will be addressed on an individual basis.

The Student/Parent/Guardian will:
1. Notifying the school division that homebound services may be needed, discussing the process for initiating services, and signing a release of information form so the school can share information with the physician about homebound services prior to the official request being made
2. Obtaining the medical certification of need from the physician or licensed clinical psychologist requesting homebound services and completing parental signature forms in order to begin homebound instruction
3. Having a responsible adult in the home during the entire period of instruction
4. Providing adequate facilities for teaching (quiet room without interruptions, with a table, chairs and appropriate supplies) or provide transportation to another agreed upon facility
5. Having the student ready for instruction at the time designated by the homebound teacher
6. Supervising daily homework
7. Notifying the teacher, prior to the scheduled visit, if there is a contagious illness in the home or if there is an emergency
8. 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 division from providing make-up services to students with disabilities)
9. Making every effort to complete school assignments
10. Advising the homebound teacher of any change in the student’s status that would necessitate modification or termination of homebound services
11. Notifying the Office of Special Education of missed appointments or tardiness by the homebound teacher
12. Following the health care provider treatment plan by keeping appointments, therapy sessions, and so forth.
Since homebound instruction is not intended to supplant school services, if it is necessary to extend homebound instruction beyond the initial time frame or longer than nine calendar weeks, it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to obtain additional documentation from the health care provider, including a transition plan outlining the justification for the extension of homebound instruction, the additional time homebound instruction is anticipated, the specific steps planned to return the student to classroom instruction, and the changes in the amount and kind of activity for the study during the extended homebound instruction.

For questions about homebound services, please call the Office of Special Education at (540) 825-3677, Extension 3135.