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The Home Hospital Program

Dr.+Kenny+Townsend+with+a+student.
David Chow
Dr. Kenny Townsend with a student.

There are two different types of people when it comes to the Home Hospital program: those who know nothing about it, and those who know everything about it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about right now, it’s probably because you, or someone close to you, has never had to go through it. On the other hand, you might know every single detail about the program and how it operates. Whether you’re an expert on the subject or the first time you’ve heard about it is when you read the title, there’s one thing for sure: the home hospital program is a very helpful resource for students in need. 

Home Hospital is a program for students with medical circumstances that prevent them from going to school for a period of time. The student can start home hospital after they get a signed medical form and approval from their school. The program is designed to help students stay up to date in their school work, and to help students make the transition back to regular school when they get better. The students get assigned a teacher who meets with them in person or online for five hours a week. Whether their condition is mental or physical, the students typically remain in the program for one to two months and in rare occasions it lasts longer. The home hospital teacher is in charge of the student’s curriculum which is based off of their school teachers’ online curriculum (their canvas page).  Through this, the home hospital teacher can give the students grades and help them manage their workload. 

Dr. Kenny Townsend, a teacher for Liberty Alternative School who also works for their Home and Hospital Instruction Program, spoke about his experiences as a home hospital teacher. Dr. Townsend said the most important thing he does for students is “helping them heal from the situation physically and emotionally and helping them get back to their lives like they were before as soon as possible.” He noted that returning to school can be difficult for students, “It’s normally awkward because most of the students know that [the home hospital student] has been gone and it’s this sort of uncomfortable thing. Whatever gossip it is that’s spreading around about them and why they’ve been gone usually isn’t true.” When asked what the best part of his job is, Dr. Townsend said, “Seeing them improve is huge.” He elaborated saying, “Oftentimes when I’m assigned, I see students at their lowest and they’re not always going to get better… The most rewarding thing is seeing a student at their lowest and seeing them improve mentally, physically, and transitioning back to school happily.” He said the hardest part of his job had to be “seeing a student struggle.” He continued, “The Home Hospital program is a little different… you get more emotionally invested in the students because you get to know them more. When you see situations where students aren’t recovering from whatever their illness is, that is very difficult emotionally.” 

All students deserve a fair shot to perform well in school. With programs like Home Hospital, and with teachers like Dr. Townsend more students facing health issues are able to do so. With this support hopefully anyone who has/will go through the program makes a full recovery and can transition back to school easily.

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Emmalee Fredrick, Features Writer

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