CCSA Answers: Charter Schools and Home and Hospital Instruction

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April 10, 2018 Question: Can a charter school provide Home and Hospital Instruction?

Answer: It depends on whether or not the student has an individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan.

Yes, if a charter school student has an individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, and if that IEP or Plan provides for instruction in the home or hospital, then the charter school must ensure that the student receives those services. Instruction in the home and hospital is among the continuum of program options that must be made available to students with disabilities, pursuant to Education Code Section 56361. These services are also included in the definition of "designated instruction and services" that may be required to enable an individual with disabilities to benefit from special education under Education Code Section 56363. A charter school that operates as an LEA for special education is responsible for providing home and hospital instruction services to students who may require it, and the school may work with their SELPA to secure such services. A charter school that operates as a school of their authorizer for special education purposes should work with the authorizer to provide instruction in the home or hospital when needed.

No, if a charter school student does not have an IEP or Section 504 Plan. This is because while there are many programs authorized in the Education Code, including Home and Hospital Instruction and Saturday School, only those programs that specifically reference charter schools in the Education Code, may be offered by charter schools. Home and Hospital instruction is included in Education Code Section 48206.3, which does not reference charter schools.

If a charter school student has a temporary disability that makes attending school impossible, and the student does not have an IEP or Section 504 Plan, the charter school could provide the student with a short or long-term independent study contract. However, such an independent study contract must be strictly limited in scope, unless an independent student program is included in the charter petition. If the charter school does not have an independent study plan in place under the existing charter petition, the school would first need to establish independent study policies and obtain board approval of said policies. Alternatively, the student could disenroll from the charter public school and enroll in a traditional public school to receive Home and Hospital Instruction.