Frequently Asked Questions: Homebound

What is the difference between medical homebound and IEP Placement for homebound?

School districts can, and usually do, provide homebound services to students who are not disabled, for reasons such as surgery, accidents, pregnancies, or prolonged illness. There is not a state statute or regulation that specifically addresses this, but the department does allow these students to be counted for state aid if the level of homebound services is at least 5 hours per week.

For students who receive services through an IEP, homebound is part of the continuum of educational placements that are considered when discussing what would be the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for a student to receive their services. Homebound is a very restrictive placement. Students are entitled to all special education and related services set forth in the IEP while on homebound placement. 

My child’s placement has been changed to Homebound by the IEP Team. I was told he could only receive 5 hours of homebound instruction per week. Is this correct?

Students are entitled to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that allows them to make progress toward the general education curriculum as well as make progress toward meeting their IEP goals. A student with a disability who receives at least 5 hours of instruction per week can be counted for full attendance for funding purposes, but the amount of instruction a student receives is an IEP Team decision. Students with disabilities must receive sufficient homebound instruction to be provided with FAPE. In general, five hours a week of homebound instruction is not considered FAPE for a student with an IEP. 

A student was placed on homebound but the district doesn’t have anyone available to provide services and states that it may take weeks, what happens in the mean time?

Homebound services should be started as soon as possible. The district should vigorously seek a qualified instructor and document the attempts. All delays should be explained to the parent/guardian.

If the district experiences a delay in providing the homebound instructor, the district shall develop a plan to provide instruction and ensure the delay does not hinder progress. For students with IEPs, if there is any delay in the initiation of services or any interruption in the services, the IEP team must meet and determine whether compensatory services for the student are warranted due to the delay or interruption in service. (IDEA Federal Regulations 300.323 (2)). 

A student with a disability has been suspended over 10 days cumulative this school year (no change of placement), what services should be provided?

A student who has been given multiple short term suspensions totaling more than 10 days in a school year is not long term suspended and has not had a change of placement so long as no “pattern” of suspension has been created. When a student with a disability has been suspended for more than 10 days in a school year, but is not long-term suspended, the school district administration, in consultation with the child’s teacher, will determine which services are needed to enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the child’s IEP. (IDEA Federal Regulations 300.530(d)). 

A student with a disability has been suspended over 10 days consecutively (change of placement), what services should be provided?

The IEP team determines placement and changes in placement. Homebound placement may be an appropriate option to consider as well as other options including: alternative schools or contractual arrangements with other districts’ private agencies.

If the removal is a change of placement, the child’s IEP team also determines the appropriate services to be provided to enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals set out in the child’s IEP. Only providing the missed homework or class work is NOT a provision of special education or related services under IDEA. (IDEA Federal Regulations 300.530(d)). 

If an IEP student who has been long-term suspended or expelled is placed on homebound to receive continued services, does the school district have to award credit? Is this an IEP team decision?

This is NOT an IEP team decision, but rather is left up to the school district's administration. IDEA does not require or prohibit that credit be awarded in such a situation. IDEA only requires the continued services. Whether to award credit is a decision to be made by the district; it is recommended the school district consult with their lawyer on this issue as there has been at least one Missouri court decision on the awarding of credit to a student suspended (he was not special education).

A doctor states a child cannot attend school and should be put on homebound. What if the school disagrees?

Educational decisions are made by the district. Medical documentation is relevant to determining the need for homebound services but the decision is not made by the physician. If the student has an IEP, the IEP team will make the decision on homebound services and placements. Parents who disagree with that decision have the rights set forth in the Procedural Safeguards, including filing a Child Complaint or a Due Process. The Procedural Safeguards can be found at the following link:

A student without an IEP will be considered truant if that student does not attend school for an extended period and the district has not approved homebound instruction. Parents may choose to homeschool a student in this situation. Homeschooled students are not truant. 


A child with an IEP is receiving homebound services. Does the homebound teacher have to be a special education teacher?

No. The homebound teacher must have either teacher certification or a substitute certificate. It is expected that a homebound teacher who is not a special education teacher will be working with the child’s special education case manager who does have special education teacher certification. 

When a child is receiving homebound instruction, is travel time calculated into the number of hours provided?

No. Travel time and prep time cannot be calculated as part of instructional homebound minutes. Homebound instruction is only the actual time that the student and the homebound teacher are working together. 

Must homebound occur in the student’s home?

No. It is the school’s decision where homebound services will be provided. Sometimes districts provide what they refer to as “homebound” in a “neutral” site such as a library or other public location. It is best to clearly identify the location that the homebound instruction will take place in the IEP so that there is no confusion about what is meant by “homebound”. 

If a child is placed on homebound, are they required to participate in state testing such as Grade-Level assessment including the MAP and MAP-A or The End Of Course Exam (EOC) testing?

Yes. Students who are receiving homebound services must take the Grade-Level Assessments (MAP, MAP-A) unless they have a medical waiver. Test examiners of homebound students must receive training in the administration of Grade-Level Assessments. Information on medical waivers can be obtained by contacting the Accountability Data Section in the office of Data System Management (573-526-4886). Requests for medical waivers are reviewed by a committee composed of Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) personnel from several DESE divisions. This committee is responsible for approving or denying the requests for medical waivers.

For EOC exams, all students must be tested in the required content before graduation, including students who are in special education and those who receive homebound services. Students who receive homebound instruction will not be able to participate in online testing. 

My school district is considering placing my child in the Missouri State School for the Severely Disabled (MSSD), but my child’s educational placement is ‘home bound’. Does my child qualify?

Students who are otherwise eligible for the MSSD based on the severity of the disability will not be accepted if they require permanent homebound placement because such a restrictive placement requirement would not allow attendance at a separate day program such as MSSD. Students who would otherwise qualify and require only intermittent homebound placement would be accepted for placement. (DESE State Plan – Regulation X State Operated Programs).

Is there a set amount of credits a student can receive each semester when on homebound?

No. This is a local district decision.

Are school districts required to submit applications for reimbursement for services provided to homebound students?

No, Due to recent changes in the funding mechanism, it is no longer necessary for school districts to submit homebound applications to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as there is no special funding/reimbursement for school districts that are providing students with homebound services; all funding has been rolled into the foundation formula funding.  This applies to students with and without disabilities.

For documentation purposes, some districts may decide to continue to use the DESE Homebound Instruction Application found on our website.  However, it is important to remember this form is to be used for the district's documentation purposes only and should NOT be sent to DESE.



Where do I get information about claiming hours for state aid purposes when a student is receiving homebound services for medical purposes.

Claiming hours for state aid is addressed in the Attendance Hour Reporting document.