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Testimony: Students’ Right to Home or Hospital Instruction Act of 2019

Sometimes the children we work with face a serious health condition that keeps them out of school for a prolonged period. They might be hospitalized or confined to home for more than 10 straight days, or they may have a chronic condition, like sickle cell anemia, that causes repeated, intermittent absences. More than 150 DC students find themselves in these situations every year and request home or hospital instruction.

That is why Children’s Law Center Special Counsel Buck Logan testified in support of B23-392, the “Students’ Right to Home or Hospital Instruction Act of 2019.” The bill will help ensure that students who are confined to home or hospital receive some educational instruction until they can return to school.

Buck pointed to three problems parents currently face in obtaining Home or Hospital Instruction (HHI): a lack of transparency, HHI is being denied or delayed without justification, and even when students are found eligible, there are no legally enforceable minimum standards governing the quantity and quality of HHI.

Buck noted that the bill works to remedy these problems, recommending the following revisions to make it stronger:

  1. When a parent appeals the denial of eligibility, we recommend the bill require that the student receive HHI pending the outcome of the appeal.
  2. Propose the bill require LEAs to provide at least 5 hours per week of direct home or hospital instruction for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, and at least 2½ hours per week per core subject for students in grades 6 through 12.  
  3. promote greater transparency 

Read the full testimony here: