Principals' Perceptions of Online Learning Post-Pandemic in Small Virginia School Divisions

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the perception of school principals in school divisions with a student population of fewer than 2,500 as of June 2022, within the Commonwealth of Virginia regarding their school's use of online learning post-pandemic. School principals' perceptions regarding online learning can impact future implementation practices when global pandemics do not require the use of online learning. A qualitative study was conducted to analyze the perceptions and attitudes of principals. The research questions were: 1) How do principals in small school divisions perceive their school division's size as impacting decisions about online learning? 2) How have principals of small school divisions institutionalized online learning post-pandemic? 3) What perceptions do principals in small school divisions have about online learning post-pandemic? The research included building principals from elementary, middle, and high schools in small Virginia school divisions to better understand how the different age levels impact decisions regarding online learning. Interviews were conducted individually with eight interview questions. The findings suggest that online learning has not increased in the rate of use since the pandemic. Regarding principals' perceptions regarding online learning note concerns about the effects on their students. Particularly, 67% of elementary principals expressed concerns regarding the ability of younger students to gain foundation fine motor skills through online learning. Overall, principal participants agreed that there is a place for online learning to provide additional educational opportunities and access for their students when used in specific situations and circumstances.



online learning, post-pandemic, leadership perceptions