A nonpublic school pupil unable to attend school because of physical, mental, or emotional illness or injury as substantiated by a licensed physician is eligible to be instructed at home or in a hospital by a tutor provided by the school district in which the pupil resides. If a prolonged absence is foreseen and such instruction seems appropriate, it is recommended that the administrator of the nonpublic school discuss with parents the possibility of arranging for homebound instruction. An absence of two weeks is generally considered a prolonged absence. This should be verified by a statement from the pupil’s physician. The parents should then be encouraged to contact the public school district and make arrangements for instruction to begin as soon as possible. If the parents so desire, the nonpublic school administrator could make the contact with the district.
Commensurate with C.R. 175.21, instruction should be provided for a minimum of five hours per week, preferably for one hour per day, at the elementary level and for a minimum of ten hours per week, preferably two hours per day, at the secondary level. During the period of time that the pupil receives instruction under the auspices of the public school district, the district may claim the pupil for State aid purposes.
Communication between nonpublic school personnel and the tutor employed by the district is essential to ensure continuation of the pupil’s normal program. The nonpublic school administrator should make textbooks, other materials, and appropriate records of the pupil available to the tutor as instruction begins. At the conclusion of this interim service, the tutor should submit to the nonpublic school a report of the pupil’s progress during the period of homebound instruction.
Questions and Answers
Who is eligible to receive homebound instruction?
A resident of the public school district enrolled in a public or nonpublic school is eligible for this service if qualified. Home instruction is a form of tutorial services, provided to public or nonpublic students, by the public school district of residence. These services are provided in accordance with Commissioner's Regulations 175.21 to students who are unable to attend their public or nonpublic school because of physical, mental, or emotional illness or injury. Parents requesting these services must comply with local board of education requirements to provide medical verification of the student’s inability to attend school for a time that exceeds the number of days required by the district (about 10 days).
Tutorial services are also used by public schools to comply with compulsory education requirements (Education Law 3205) for students unable to attend school because they have been suspended.
If the parents and public school are in disagreement concerning the validity of the medical reason provided for the student not to attend school, the parents should encourage and provide permission for their private physician to discuss his/her recommendations with the Public School Medical Director. Parents also have the right to ask that their child be evaluated by the public school for special education or Section 504 needs pursuant to the federal, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). Parents may appeal school practices to their board of education and then the Commissioner of Education that they believe to be unlawful. Educational laws and the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education may be reviewed at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/sss/lawsregs/. Directions for making an appeal to the Commissioner of Education are available at http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals/.
Who provides homebound instruction?
A teacher holding certification at the appropriate level provides the instruction. The district of residence is responsible for providing the teacher but it may, if appropriate, contract with another district to provide this service.
When should homebound instruction begin?
Instruction should begin as soon as possible after the parents have notified the public school district and provided a statement by the pupil’s physician that the pupil will be hospitalized or homebound for more than two weeks.
How is a pupil’s enrollment status affected during the period of homebound instruction?
The pupil should enroll in the public school for the purpose of receiving homebound instruction and the district may count the student in its attendance report for State aid purposes.
Where should homebound instruction take place?
The site for instruction depends on the physical condition and location of the pupil. Every effort should be made to provide an environment conducive to learning and in which the health and safety of both the pupil and tutor are assured. Instruction may be provided in the home or hospital. If the student was suspended from school, instruction may be provided in the local library if appropriate space is not available in school district buildings.
Can a public school district delay or deny homebound instruction?
Homebound instruction should begin as promptly as possible. However, on rare occasions it may be necessary to withhold or delay the provision of homebound instruction. Exceptional circumstances, such as health hazards to others caused by a communicable disease, should be documented by an appropriate professional.
How long must homebound instruction continue to be available?
This service must be made available until the pupil is capable of returning to school. If a question arises about this, the public school district should consult with the pupil’s physician.
If a pupil attends school part-time, e.g. three days a week, is the pupil entitled to homebound instruction?
In most cases, no. However, in cases in which the student has an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or a Section 504 plan which clearly establishes a need for homebound instruction on a part-time basis, exceptions may be made.