Questions and Answers

Q1     What are instructional services to pupils who are homebound or hospitalized?

A1     Homebound or hospitalized students are those students who are unable to attend their regular classes because of illness or injury and who are determined medically capable of benefiting from instruction.

The purpose of the homebound/hospitalized service is to help students keep up with their studies and to progress as far as possible given their physical condition and their inability to attend the regular school program.

This is a “service” that is provided to help pupils keep up with their class work to the extent their health and ability allow.  This service is not designed to replace classroom programs.  The process is designed to provide guided instruction until the pupil can return to school on a full or part-time basis.

Q2     Does the local school district have the obligation to provide instructional services to homebound and hospitalized pupils?

A2     Yes, the school district has an obligation to provide instructional services to the pupil who is in a home or hospital setting.  In addition, the parent and the pupil have a responsibility for the pupil’s independent study.  Therefore, the success of the program relies on the cooperative efforts of the parent, pupil and the school.  Because it is the responsibility of the local school district to provide the instructional service to the homebound or hospitalized pupil, it is the authority of school districts to determine the curriculum and operation policies of the service.  Importantly, it is not necessary to replicate the complete school program in the home or hospital.  In addition, the hospital has an obligation to contact the school district in which a child resides to arrange educational services for a convalescent crippled child.

Q3     When does the responsibility begin?

A3     The local school district is responsible for providing homebound or hospitalized instructional service when:

1)  The pupil who is eligible to receive a service has been enrolled in a school district and assigned to an appropriate regular or special education program.

2)  The pupil is unable to attend school because of illness or injury.

3)  The pupil has been absent from school for one week.

4)  Medical personnel have determined that the pupil is able to participate in instructional activities.

Q4     What must the school district do?

A4     When the conditions above have been met, the local school districts should:

1)  Initiate services within 15 school days after verification, by a licensed physician, of a medical condition which requires the pupil to be confined to the home or hospital. Such verification shall indicate the anticipated duration of the required confinement.

2)  Provide homebound or hospital services a minimum of 2 non-consecutive periods of instruction per week of at least 45 minutes.  Related services personnel may supplement, but not substitute for, the teacher’s instruction.

3)  Assign a teacher to act as a liaison between the school and the pupil.  The teacher is responsible to ensure that the pupil has appropriate materials, is kept informed in regards to assignments and activities carried out in the class, and receives the necessary direction and assistance to complete the instructional activities.

4)  Provide the service or contract with the local operating district and make payment for the service, if the student is hospitalized outside of the district of residence.  The district of residence is responsible for delivering or contracting for the service.

Q5     What is Homebound/Hospitalized instruction?

A5     Homebound and Hospitalized Service is provided to pupils unable to attend school because of a medical condition.  The provider brings the curriculum from the teacher of record to pupils in the home or in the hospital to help the pupils keep up with their studies.

Q6     Who is eligible?

A6     Public school pupils certified by their attending physician or hospital as having a medical condition that requires the pupil to be homebound or hospitalized for longer than five school days are eligible.

Q7     Are pupils attending a private, parochial, or home school eligible for public school funded homebound and hospitalized services?

A7     No.  It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to work with a nonpublic school to assure continuity of instruction when their child has a medical condition that precludes attendance at a private, parochial, or home school.

A pupil from a nonpublic school or home school that is enrolled part-time in a public school may receive homebound and hospitalized services only for those nonessential elective courses that the nonpublic or home schooled pupil is enrolled in at the public school at the time.

Q8     Where do parents apply?

A8     Parents notify the school district the child attends when the pupil is homebound or hospitalized.  When plans are being made for a future hospitalization that will result in the loss of more than five consecutive school days, the parent should also notify the school district.  The school district will make prior arrangements with the hospital or treatment facility so that service is available when needed.

Q9     When does the service begin?

A9     The educating district must make arrangements for the service to begin as soon as possible but no later than five school days from the date of being notified or the date when the pupil is physically capable of benefiting from instruction.  Where prior arrangements have been made with a hospital or treatment facility, service will be available as soon as the pupil can benefit.

Q10     How much service is provided?

A10     General education pupils will receive a minimum of two 45-minute periods per week.  Pupils receiving the service under the special education rules receive a minimum of two nonconsecutive hours of instruction per week.  Homebound service will be provided during regular school hours unless otherwise scheduled by the district.

Q11     Who can provide this service?

A11     The district may use any certified teacher to provide the service for the general education pupils.  When a pupil is hospitalized outside the state, the district may contract with a certified teacher in another state or Canada.

A certified special education teacher must provide the service for handicapped persons where specified by the individualized educational planning committee.

Q12     Who can certify eligibility?

A12     The certification must be from a licensed physician.  Counselors, psychologists, social workers, or other types of behavioral therapists are not able to certify eligibility.  Medical persons such as chiropractors or occupational or physical therapists cannot certify.  Only a licensed physician is able to certify eligibility.

Q13     How can I get technical assistance?

A13     Contact the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Customer Satisfaction, Post Office Box 30008, Lansing, Michigan 48909; telephone: 517-373-6534 or 888-323-4231.

Q14     What is the homebound teacher’s responsibilities?

A14     A homebound teacher will contact the pupil’s classroom teacher(s), referred to as “teacher(s) of record,” to identify the specific subject areas and content that the pupil should study while away from school.  The teacher(s) of record should determine the subject matter that should be given priority, considering the pupil’s present level of achievement and instructional needs.

The homebound teacher will meet with the pupil a minimum of two periods per week.  The purpose of these meetings are to take the assignments to the pupil, provide support to the parents or other care giver so they can help guide the pupil in the instruction, provide tutorial services to help the pupil gain basic information to complete assignments, and to provide other support that might be useful in helping the pupil maintain as much academic progress as possible while temporarily away from school.

Q15     What are the responsibilities of the teacher of record (classroom teachers)?

A15     The teacher(s) of record should determine the subject matter that should be given priority, considering the pupil’s present level of achievement and instructional needs.  The teacher of record must:

1)  Record the pupil as having excused absences (code “H” will appear in MI Star).

2)  Provide the instructional content to the pupil through the homebound and hospitalized teacher.

3)  Provide the necessary instructional materials, such as textbooks, and work pages.

4)  Give the grade for the class or subject.

Q16     What are the parent’s responsibilities?

A16     Michigan law requires a parent, legal guardian, or other person having control or charge of a child age six to sixteen to send the child to school during the entire school year, except under certain limited circumstances (MCL 380.1561).  The exceptions include, but are not limited to, sending a child to a state -approved, nonpublic school or educating the child at home in an organized educational program.

Parents are responsible, under the compulsory school attendance law, to ensure the school district is notified when the pupil is homebound or hospitalized.  The parent must provide the name of the attending physician or the hospital and authorize the release of sufficient information to allow the school district to determine eligibility.

When the pupil is homebound, the parent should:

1)  Provide access to the pupil’s home, and help schedule teacher visits so they do not conflict with medical treatments.

2)  Provide an appropriate environment and the necessary supervision for their child to complete assignments.

3)  Help the child schedule time for study, ensuring appropriate instructional materials are available and at hand.

4)  Support the child with the learning activities to the extent possible and as agreed upon with the teacher.

While parents should encourage the child to keep up with school work, they should not do the work for the child.  If the parent feels assignments are too difficult, or feels the child does not have the prerequisite skills needed to carry out the assignment, this information should be communicated to the teacher of the homebound and hospitalized service and/or the pupil’s classroom teacher.

Q17     What are the pupil’s responsibilities?

A17     The pupil must:

1)  Ask for assistance and/or clarification as needed to complete assignments.

2)  Attend to the class activities to the extent that they are physically capable.

3)  Return materials and supplies after completing assignments.

4)  Continue to work with the teacher(s) of record to do any extra work needed so that the pupil has minimum competencies needed to complete the subject or grade, after returning to school.

Q18     Are pupils who are able to attend school part-time eligible for homebound and hospitalized services?

A18     No.  Pupils who are able to attend school part-time are expected to do so and do not qualify for this service.

Q19     Can homebound and hospitalized services be used for providing alternative education for pupils who do not wish to attend school and do not have a medical problem?

A19     No.  This service is not intended as an educational alternative for pupils with behavioral problems, pupils who have been expelled, pupils who have normal pregnancies (see next question below), pupils who wish to remain at home with newborn babies (see next question below), or pupils who wish to remain home to care for their own children.

Q20     Pupils who are pregnant often wish to take medical leave just prior and for a period of time after delivery.  Do these pupils qualify for homebound and hospitalized services?

A20     Eligibility is based upon the receipt of a diagnosis from a physician identifying specific medical complications related to pregnancy that cause or are expected to cause confinement to the home or hospital for a period of more than five school days.  If the physician identifies a medical condition associated with the delivery, which requires hospitalization or confinement to the home for bed rest for more than five days, the pupil would qualify for homebound and hospitalized services.

Per the Michigan Department of Education (Jan 2011), the following determination was made concerning pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery:

The State School Aid Act, MCL 388.1601, et seq, does not define the term “medical condition.” But on the basis of federal law and federal regulations, that term, in this context, must be read to include pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery. Title IX, 20 USC § 1681(a), requires that no student may be denied participation, on the basis of gender, in any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The federal regulations that implement Title IX include a requirement that with respect to any service offered, pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and recovery must be treated in the same manner and under the same policies as any other temporary disability. Homebound/hospitalized service is an educational program offered for the benefit of students temporarily unable to attend school for medical reasons. In accordance with federal law and regulation, pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery must be treated as any other medical reason for prolonged absence from school.

Q21     Section 109 of the State School Aid Act requires the provision of homebound and hospitalized services as a condition for receiving state aid.  Are there any other fiscal ramifications regarding the provision of this service?

A21     Yes.  Pupils receiving homebound or hospitalized service during the pupil count period are considered to be in attendance and, therefore, are eligible to be counted in membership.  If the district fails to provide the service during the count period, then the district will lose the membership count and the related foundation allowance for that count period.