September 30, 2022 Emergency Regulations Regarding Homebound Instruction
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
We are writing to advise you that the Board of Regents has adopted an emergency rule regarding homebound instruction. Homebound instruction is an educational service provided by a school district to resident students who are anticipated to be unable to attend school in person for at least ten days during a three-month period due to illness or injury that requires the student to remain at home or in a hospital or other institution for the treatment of children.
Below is an outline of the requirements that are now in effect as a result of the emergency rule. It is anticipated that the emergency rule will be presented to the Board of Regents for permanent adoption or revisions during the Board of Regents’ October 2022 meeting. Following that meeting, we will let you know if any changes are made.
Responsibility for Homebound Instruction
- The district of residence (the district where the student legally resides) remains responsible for providing instructional services to resident students enrolled in a public or non-public school from Kindergarten through age 21 when, due to a temporary or chronic physical, mental, emotional illness or injury, as documented by the student’s treating healthcare provider, the student is unable to participate in the student’s usual education setting.
Requests for Homebound Instruction
- To request homebound instruction (at home, a hospital or an institution), a parent or guardian (“parent”) must submit a request to the district of residence that includes written medical verification from the student’s treating healthcare provider demonstrating the student’s anticipated inability to attend school in person for at least ten days during the next three months.
- The district must forward the request to its medical director for review. Upon consent from the parent, the medical director may contact the student’s treating healthcare provider to seek additional information regarding the student’s health.
- Within five school days after receipt of the written medical verification from the student’s treating health care provider, the district must notify the parent of the medical director’s approval or reason(s) for denial.
- Within five school days of the parent’s receipt of the medical director’s denial, the parent may appeal the denial to the district’s board of education. While the appeal is pending, the district must continue to provide homebound instructional services to the student.
- The district must provide instructional services to the student within five school days after the district receives notification of the student’s medical condition or within five school days from the parent’s request, whichever occurs first.
- Currently, elementary students must receive at least five hours of instruction per week (to the extent possible, at least one hour daily) and secondary students must receive at least ten hours of instruction per week (to the extent possible, at least two hours daily).
- Commencing on July 1, 2023, elementary students must receive at least ten hours of instruction per week (to the extent possible, at least two hours daily) and secondary students must receive at least 15 hours of instruction per week (to the extent possible, at least three hours daily).
- The district, in consultation with the parent (and student, when appropriate), must establish a written home, hospital or institution instruction delivery plan to continue the student’s academic progress and to maintain a record of delivery of instructional services and student progress.
- The instruction delivery plan must include at least the following:
- the number of hours per week and hours per day that the student will receive instruction;
- the method by which instructional services will be delivered;
- the location where instruction will be provided (e.g., home, hospital or institution); and
- an explanation of how the instructional services will enable the student to maintain academic progress.
- A student may receive less than the required minimum hours of instruction described above (currently, at least five hours per week for elementary students and at least ten hours per week for secondary students) if requested by the student’s parent and if the parent supports that request with documentation from the student’s healthcare provider. In this situation, the district must:
- ensure that the student is unable to receive the minimum hours of instruction;
- document in the student’s instruction delivery plan the reason why the student is receiving less that the minimum amount of instruction; and
- ensure that the student’s instruction delivery plan is reviewed regularly, but not less than once a month, to determine when the student’s instructional hours may be increased.
- Students receiving homebound instruction that is less than the required minimum hours of instruction do not count towards the total number of students in attendance at the district for purposes of calculating State aid pursuant to Education Law § 3602.
- Homebound instruction may be provided by: (i) the district of residence; or (ii) by a tutor who contracts with the district of residence and holds a New York State teaching certificate or who is a teacher employed by a board of cooperative educational services (BOCES) that contracts with the school district of residence. For students receiving instruction at a hospital or institution, the instruction may also be provided through a contract with a school connected to the hospital or institution or through a contract with the local school district in which the hospital or institution is located (this contract must be limited to the cost of educational services and may not include maintenance or medical services).
- Homebound instruction may be provided remotely by an appropriately certified teacher who is not in the same physical location as the student and where there is regular and substantive daily interaction between the student and teacher.
- The district of residence must maintain a record of the instruction provided to homebound students, including:
- the dates of service;
- the number of hours of service provided each day;
- the type of instructional services;
- the instructor’s name;
- the subjects taught; and
- the location where the services are provided.
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities for whom the committee on special education (“CSE”) recommends homebound instruction must be provided with the instruction and related services as determined and documented by the CSE. Home and hospital instruction must be provided for at least the same minimum number of days and length of time as set forth above (currently, at least five hours per week for elementary students and at least ten hours per week for secondary students).
We recommend that you review, and revise as necessary, any applicable policies, regulations and procedures.
If you have any questions or need assistance updating your policies, regulations or procedures, please contact Lauren Schnitzer, Michelle Mahabirsingh or one of our other attorneys by calling (631) 694-2300.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
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