Can an IEP team decide to provide a student with instruction at home only if the student’s medical doctor provides a medical order for instruction at home?

Published: June 24th, 2016

No. Homebound instruction under State law and home-based instruction under the IDEA are not the same thing. Arizona law identifies “homebound” as a funding category that can be used to provide instruction to a student whose doctor has certified that the student is unable to attend regular classes due to illness, disease, accident or other health condition “for a period of not less than three school months.” [A.R.S. § 15-901(13)] The statute goes on to state that homebound services can also be provided to a student with a chronic or acute health problem whose doctor certifies that the student is “unable to attend regular classes for intermittent periods of time totaling three school months during a school year.” [Id.] The regulations that implement the IDEA require schools to ensure the availability of a continuum of alternative placements to meet the needs of children with disabilities. [34 C.F.R. § 300.115(a)] The continuum must include, among other things, home instruction and instruction in hospitals and institutions. [Id. at subsection (b)] Placement decisions are made by a child’s IEP team; medical documentation is not required for the IEP team to determine that instruction in the home is appropriate for the child.