Upshur County Board of Education members were briefed this week on policy governing the education of homebound students in the school system.
Tina Lou Edwards presented the nuts and bolts of the program to board members, and its improvements over the years.
Edwards said the first policy was introduced in 1998, and revised in 2005. It was designed to administer lessons to students who were homebound and would be out of school longer than three weeks because of injury, illness or communicable disease. Edwards said pregnancy is not an acceptable reason for homebound instruction.
To be considered for homebound education, each student must be approved and monitored by a physician, and the situation must be reviewed each nine weeks for reapproval. The requests also go before a committee for approval.
"We want to get students back into the classroom as quickly as possible," Edwards said.
She said she does gain permission from parents or guardians to speak with the healthcare providers regarding updates on the student's condition.
Edwards said most of the students on the homebound program during the recently completed school year were at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
Of the 28 students served by the program this year, 20 were high school students; four were Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School students and four were elementary school students in the county.
Twelve of the students on the program are expected to return to the classroom with the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.
One of the pitfalls of the program, Edwards said, is keeping students current on homework grades, because they are at home rather than in the classroom, which causes a lag in feedback.
"We are working on better communication to be sure students know grades and where they stand," Edwards said.
Upshur County Board of Education member Teresa Bellamy asked how certain tests such as the WESTEST are administered to students in the program.
Administrators said those tests are, if at all possible, given at school, many times after the regular school day has concluded.
"We work together to see what is best for them," Edwards said.
Board members also approved the renewal of a contract between the school system and the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, which will provide local healthcare services for the upcoming school year, with $6,000 in funding coming from the school system.
Board members also accepted two grants totaling $8,000 from the West Virginia Development office. The $3,500 grant will be used to purchase laptops, software programs and equipment for Hodgesville Elementary School. The remaining $4,500 will be used to purchase playground equipment for Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.