Homebound Instruction

  • What is Homebound Instruction?  

    Homebound Instruction is a service the District may provide during a temporary period of excused absence not to exceed three months (90-days). Excusal from school attendance during this period may be granted, “…upon receipt of satisfactory evidence of mental, physical or other urgent reasons, but the term ‘urgent reasons’ shall be strictly construed and does not permit irregular attendance.” (22 PA. CODE CH. 11 Sec. 25) (WCSD Policy: 9325 Homebound Instruction).

    Homebound Instruction is not a replacement or substitute for school attendance. Homebound Instruction is also not to be confused with “Home Schooling”. Section 1327.1 of the Pennsylvania School Code provides for a home education program designed to permit a parent, guardian or legal custodian ("supervisor") who has a high school diploma or its equivalent to conduct a home education program for his or her child or children.

    The general education guideline for homebound education is not to exceed a total of ninety (90) calendar days.  Certain circumstances could require additional instructional time.  All requests for homebound instruction beyond ninety (90) calendar days will be based on student need according to medical and school district determination.

    A school district may provide homebound instruction for a total of three months without consulting or notifying the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The reasons for allowing a student to receive homebound instruction in lieu of being physically present at school are defined by regulation as mental, physical, or other urgent reasons. However, the term "urgent reasons" shall be strictly construed and not permit irregular attendance. See 22 Pa Code § 11.25(a)

    Purpose 

    The purpose of Homebound Instruction is to provide students with some level of instructional services during a temporary period of absence so that on return to school they can re-engage successfully with their instructional program.

    Homebound instruction is provided for temporary and urgent reasons; it is not a long-term solution. Students on homebound instruction generally are confined to home or a care unit. A doctor does not "order" homebound instruction but rather provides the diagnosis to enable the school district to make an informed decision on how to best provide for the student's education.

    The goal of homebound services is to keep the student current with classroom instruction and facilitate the student’s return to the current classroom setting.  Homebound instruction is not intended to replace school services and is, by design, temporary. It is not a remediation program and is not designed to provide students with time to make up previously missed assignments. The goal of homebound instruction is to keep the student as current as possible with classroom instruction. It is expected that the family and school will minimize academic work missed due to absences prior to the initiation of homebound services.

    Criteria for Eligibility 

    1. A student may be excused from school attendance and provided Homebound Instruction for a period not to exceed three (3) months, providing the following criteria are met.
      1. The parent/guardian must document urgent reasons by providing medical documentation using the Physician’s Referral for Homebound Instruction Form from a physician for an acute condition that prevents the student attending school for a period of at least four (4) weeks.
      2. If the urgent reason is due to a condition that is treated by a specialist, the proper documentation will be required to be completed by the treating specialist. For example: respiratory dysfunction, documentation by a pulmonologist, allergist or immunologist will be requested. If the urgent reason is due to mental/behavioral conditions, documentation by a board certified psychiatrist will be requested.
      3. The physician’s documentation is not to be construed as prescriptive. The Office of Pupil Services in collaboration with building administration will make a determination regarding the approval of Homebound Instruction if the documentation provided (a) validates that the student cannot be in a school setting, (b) demonstrates a treatment plan that includes goals/supports that returns the student to the school setting as quickly as possible, and (c) provides a projected date when the student will return.
      4. If additional information is required by the Certified School Nurse (CSN) for clarification of the medical documentation, the parent/guardian must give written consent consistent with FERPA, HIPAA and the Mental Health Act. This consent will permit designated school personnel (CSN, principal, etc.) to speak with the physician regarding information that pertains to the student’s inability to attend school.
      5. At any point, the District may request additional information about a student’s absences and health status to justify continuation of Homebound Instruction. If the information is not provided, the District may terminate Homebound Instruction and the student shall be marked as truant. Continuation of Homebound Instruction beyond three (3) months requires submission of a new Physician’s Referral for Homebound Instruction, which may or may not be approved.

    Procedures 

    The timeliness of the school and the District in processing homebound requests is dependent on the completeness and proper documentation of the required Physician’s Referral for Homebound Instruction.

    1. All requests for Homebound Education are referred to the principal.  (see “Roles and Responsibilities, Administrator”)
    2. Completed Homebound Education Application form (Appendix A) is returned to the principal.      
      1. The principal verifies that all parts of the SEC-137A are completed, including the anticipated return to school date.
      2. the principal may need to contact the medical professional(s), requesting additional information before requests are approved.
      3. The principal corresponds with the CSN and attendance officer with the decision and, if approved, the number of hours allowed and end date of services.
    3. If the request is denied, the student must attend school and shall be marked as truant if he or she does not return to school.
    4. If the Homebound Education Application request is approved:
      1. If the student is regular education, the principal arranges for Homebound Instruction to start.
    5. Teacher identification process is initiated by the principal or assistant principal.
    6. Teacher contacts the student’s parent/guardian to set up a schedule to deliver instruction.
      1. The delivery of Homebound Instruction is consistent with the Warren County School District school year calendar and no instruction is conducted on any District-observed holidays, weekends, or during the summer holidays.
      2. instruct up to a maximum of four (5) hours per week for all assigned homebound students combined.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education counts an hour of weekly instruction as equivalent to a day of school attendance.  Therefore, five hours of weekly instruction are equivalent to five days of school attendance and four (4) hours is equivalent to a four-day week. 
      3. Homebound Instruction hours may not carry over week to week.  Unless a session can be made up during the same week it was missed, it cannot be made up.
      4. Schedule to provide instruction after school hours, concluding no later than: 7:00P.M. for homebound students that are in grades K through 6, and 8:00P.M. for homebound students in grades 7 through 12
    7. Part-time Attendance
      1. A school district may structure Homebound Instruction for a student such that the student attends school part-time, as his or her condition allows; homebound instruction requests need not be restricted to students who are unable to attend school at all. This is a local decision.
      2. If a student attends school for partial days, then Homebound Instruction would be prorated. For example, if a student attends school half-days, only 2.5 hours of Homebound Instruction is required for the equivalent of five (5) days of instruction.

    Extension or Early Termination of Homebound Services

    1.  In order to continue homebound instruction beyond the termination date, the parent must submit a completed Request for Extension of Homebound Education Application form to the principal five (5) school days priorto the termination of services.
    2. If the student is able to return to school before scheduled to do so, the parent must obtain a medical release statement.
    3. An IEP-R meeting to terminate or extend Homebound Instruction for a student receiving Special Education Programming must occur prior to a change in placement.  A NOREP documenting a change in placement due to a parent and Licensed Physician’s recommendation will be issued to the parent.

    Special Education

    Homebound Instruction is not a special education placement. However, students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) may receive Homebound Instruction during a temporary excused absence from school attendance after which they will return to school. Homebound Instruction is not to be confused with “Instruction Conducted in the Home”, which is included in the definition of special education located in the federal regulations (34 CFR §300.39(a)(i)) and is recognized as a placement option on the continuum of alternative placements for students with disabilities (34 CFR §300.115). This option is restricted to students who, because of a severe medical condition or mobility impairment, are unable to leave home to attend school.

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