Information for School Personnel
Welcome, superintendents and district representatives! Here, you will find HEAV’s annual letters to superintendents and helpful links to information pertinent to Virginia’s compulsory attendance and homeschool laws.
Homeschool law and related statutes:
HEAV Letters to Superintendents
July 19, 2021
Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) is a statewide homeschool organization that has supported homeschool families since 1983. We work to provide accurate information and are listed in the VDOE Home Instruction Handbook as a resource.
Through the years, HEAV has appreciated the opportunity to work with many superintendents and their staff in implementing homeschool laws throughout the Commonwealth. Now that another homeschool year is fast approaching, I would like to share some concerns parents have brought to us with the hope that we can amicably resolve them.
Some school districts—often unintentionally—are asking for more information than the homeschool statute requires. This creates confusion for parents and an unnecessary burden on the staff because of additional phone calls, emails, and letters.
We encourage parents to provide the information the law requires; yet, we are finding requirements in some districts inconsistent with the law at various processing points. Though this may not necessarily have occurred in your district, I would like to make them known to you so we can work together for consistency in applying the requirements of §22.1-254.1, known in the statute as the homeschool declaration of policy and requirements.
• The statute does not specify a particular method or form of delivery when parents notify the superintendent of their intent to provide home instruction. It does not require the use of a particular paper form, electronic form, or website portal.
• The statute requires parents to annually notify the superintendent of their intent to provide home instruction and provide evidence of how they have complied with the law. The statute does not require a parent to ask permission to homeschool or wait for a response–only to notify. §22.1-254.1(B)
• When withdrawing a student from public school, the law does not require parents who have complied with the statute and have evidence of notifying the superintendent of their intention to homeschool to wait for a response or permission from the superintendent before withdrawing their child and beginning to homeschool. §22.1-254.1(B)
• A child’s birthdate or grade level is not required when notifying. Providing the child’s age as of September 30 is consistent with compulsory attendance laws. §22.1-254(A)
• The school board, not the superintendent, has the responsibility of acknowledging religious exemption (RE). The statute does not require a parent to submit RE information to the superintendent before submitting it to the school board. §22.1-254(B)
• Homeschool parents are not required to complete public school surveys or provide homeschool termination forms, homeschool diplomas, or transcripts upon graduation.
• Providing immunization records is not a requirement to homeschool according to the declaration of policy and requirements for home instruction (§22.1-254.1). While all parents of school-age children must comply with immunization laws, parents cannot be denied the right to homeschool based on vaccination records—they are not one of the requirements. The law is specific that only the superintendent may request and receive these private medical records. Vaccination exemptions are also available. §22.1-271.4, §32.1-46(D)
• A description of curriculum is limited to a list of subjects the parent plans to teach during the coming year. §22.1-254.1(B)
• Parents who choose to provide the results of a standardized achievement test are required to provide a composite score in or above the 4th stanine to show academic progress. Sub-test scores are not required. §22.1-254.1(C)
• A Virginia certified tutor (teacher) has two options: 1) comply with §22.1-254(A), the compulsory attendance law, with no requirements as long as they provide evidence of current teacher certification in a letter to the superintendent, or 2) comply with §22.1-254.1(A)(ii), the home instruction statute, by providing a
notice of intent and selecting option (ii) that requires yearly notification, a curriculum description, and annual assessment.
• Districts must notify parents of the availability of AP, PSAT, ACT, and Pre-ACT tests and financial assistance. §22.1-254.1(F)
• Public high schools that offer JROTC must include qualified homeschool students in their JROTC programs. 116th Congress, H.R. 2500, Code Section 2031 of Title 10, USC (g)(1), National Defense Authorization Act
• School divisions are prohibited from sharing information provided by parents who comply with the homeschool statutes (§22.1-254, §22.1-254.1) other than sharing with the VDOE the numbers of homeschoolers in their districts. §22.1- 254.1(G)
In 2020 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in a homeschooling case, Sosebee v. Franklin County School Board, that school boards cannot legislate or require more information than the elected state legislators have clearly outlined in the statute. The court concluded that “the power to amend statutes is the power to make law; that power rests squarely and solely on the General Assembly, not school boards.”
Superintendents cannot add to the requirements of the homeschool statute by developing a new policy or requesting additional information, then requiring compliance. Neither can they fail to implement the clear mandates from the Code.
I respectfully ask you to please review your notice of intent forms, online portals, how to-homeschool website pages, and the instructions you provide to your appointed homeschool assistants and staff.
It is my hope that we can work together for a smooth transition for parents who choose home instruction as a viable educational alternative.
I appreciate the positive relationship HEAV has developed with many of you throughout the years. I am glad to discuss any questions you may have now or in the future at 804- 278-9200. You may also find helpful information at www.heav.org.
With best regards,
Director of Homeschool Support & Government Affairs