Eligibility / Application

Parent/Guardians are to notify their child’s school that homebound services may be needed. Signing a release of information form would assist the school team in sharing information with the physician about homebound services prior to the official request being made.

If homebound services are needed, approval of services is based upon a completed application form, which includes a medical certification of need.

In some circumstances, students may receive Homebound Instruction on an intermittent basis. Students with episodic conditions may receive Homebound Instruction when they are unable to attend school for more than two consecutive weeks. In these cases, the parents should notify the school as soon as they suspect that the student’s condition is such that they are entering a period of extended absence. Schools may initiate processes to consider eligibility under IDEA or Section 504.

Homebound instruction for students receiving special education services is subject to review by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). As part of its review and determination of a temporary change in placement, the IEP Team must review the approved medical certification of need for homebound instruction and determine the appropriate temporary placement for the student based on the student’s educational needs.

To be included in the IEP if the IEP Team determines that homebound services are appropriate:

  • Language in the IEP that clearly defines the time period for the frequency and duration of the homebound instruction (mandatory)
  • A statement identifying a date for reconsidering the need for continuation of services by the IEP Team (optional)
  • A statement clarifying the change in placement is temporary

Parental consent must be obtained to amend the IEP, prior to initiation of homebound services.

Eligibility for Homebound Instruction

Students must be enrolled in Arlington Public Schools and meet the following criteria:

  1. The individual having custody and legal responsibility for the student must be a resident of Arlington County.
  2. The student must have one of the following conditions that prevent him/her from attending the public school program:
    1. A physical illness or accident which prevents attendance in any of the public school programs, as attested to by a licensed physician or licensed clinical psychologist.
    2. A psychiatric condition which prevents attendance in any of the public school programs, as attested to by a licensed psychiatrist.

Students hospitalized in the D.C. area may receive homebound instruction. Arlington students hospitalized outside this area may be instructed under contract with the local school system in the geographic area they are hospitalized.


Students who are experiencing difficulties attending school may be referred by staff or parent/guardian for consideration of eligibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)/Special Education or Section 504, if their medical condition appears to be having an impact on their ability to access a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). Such referrals should be directed to the school principal or designee.

Any parent/guardian of a student who they believe is in need of homebound instruction may request such services through the Coordinator of Homebound Instruction. School staff may also recommend that the parent/guardian pursue homebound instruction based on explanations provided by parent/guardian regarding student absences from school. A parent/guardian must submit three components of the Application for Homebound Instruction to apply for homebound instruction:

  1. Student Information and Release Form
  2. Medical Certification of Need
  3. Release of information

The parent/guardian of the student for whom homebound instruction is requested will be responsible for completing and submitting the Homebound Instruction Application including the Medical Certification of Need.

The parent/guardian must have the student’s medical professional of record—a licensed physician, licensed clinical psychologist, or licensed psychiatrist—complete the Medical Certification of Need which 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 for APS staff to contact the treating physician or licensed clinical psychologist, in order for the student to be considered for homebound services.

A medical certification is to include:

  • current diagnostic information,
  • treatment plan — including description of plan for return to school (may be on separate document, attached to the application),
  • projected duration of need for Homebound Instruction, and
  • contact information for the certifying professional

The parent/guardian is to return the three components of the Homebound Instruction Application to the school principal or the director of counseling services.

The school administrator identifies a staff member to be the school-based homebound coordinator (point of contact/designee) for the Homebound Instruction process, to include following up on the application and coordinating services if the student is determined to be eligible for Homebound Instruction.  If the student is receiving Special Education or Section 504 services, it may be appropriate to designate the case manager as the point of contact.

School Nurse: The school nurse is to review the information provided on the Medical Certification of Need prior to forwarding the application to the Coordinator of Homebound Instruction for approval.  This process may include reviewing the student’s Clinic file and/or contacting the certifying physician.

The School Information Form is to be completed and submitted by school staff along with the three (3) components (family application, medical certification, medical release) and identified school-based homebound point of contact/designee for the student to the school principal or director of counseling services.

The school principal or director of counseling services will review and forward all completed materials to the Coordinator of Homebound Instruction within two (2) business days.

School staff shall provide instructional materials for the student to access their education until the homebound instructor is assigned.

Application Review

The Coordinator of Homebound Instruction will (1) document the receipt of requests for homebound instruction, (2) review the application for completeness of information and appropriateness of the request, (3) validate requests for homebound instruction for students with IEP’s, submitting such requests to the IEP Team for determination of a change in placement, and (4) contact the medical professional of record for verification to clarify the need for homebound instruction versus school-based instruction with appropriate accommodations, as necessary, within five (5) business days of receipt of the application. Such verification can be made by medical/professional staff designated by the medical professional of record.

If more information is needed, the Coordinator of Homebound Instruction is to notify the parents and the school-based point of contact/designee (as identified on the application) that the application is incomplete and identify the type of information needed in order to consider the application for approval.

Once verification is obtained from the medical professional of record, the Coordinator of Homebound Instruction notifies the parent/guardian of approval and consults with designated school personnel regarding needed services within three (3) business days.

After verification with the student’s medical provider of record, the Coordinator of Homebound Instruction will determine eligibility for homebound instruction and will notify (a) the parent/guardian and (b) the designated school staff member, i.e., the elementary school principal or the director of counseling services in a middle school or high school.

Approval of homebound instruction is for a finite period of time, and no more than nine weeks upon initial approval.

The Coordinator of Homebound Instruction then communicates the status of the request to appropriate school personnel.

If approved, the process moves on to the next stop on the road map, initiation of service.


Parents/guardians who are denied homebound instructional services may appeal the decision to the Chief Academic Officer. The timeline for the appeal process will be provided in the denial letter sent to the parent/guardian. The appeal should be made in writing within ten (10) business days of the date of the receipt of the denial letter and include any additional medical documentation from a licensed physician, clinical psychologist, or licensed psychiatrist. Should additional time be necessary to gather required medical documentation from the provider, the parent/guardian should contact the Superintendent/designee in writing. The Superintendent/designee may extend this timeline for no more than ten (10) business days. While an appeal is pending, students shall remain enrolled in Arlington Public Schools.