Wisconsin District Administrators’ Decision-Making Approaches during COVID-19 Pandemic-Related School Closures
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Elannani, H. (2023). Wisconsin District Administrators’ Decision-Making Approaches during COVID-19 Pandemic-Related School Closures. Research in Educational Policy and Management, 5(2), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.46303/repam.2023.6


This study sought to examine the decision-making approaches used by Wisconsin district administrators when addressing COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures. It also examined the factors that impacted their decisions to close the schools or keep them open, the stakeholders considered when making these decisions, and the learning formats and platforms used during school closures. The research thesis was that Wisconsin district administrators’ decision-making approaches during the COVID health emergency were more classical and shared than political and that they were driven primarily by the well-being of students and staff. A survey was emailed to all Wisconsin district administrators. The survey results showed that Wisconsin district administrators’ decision approaches were predominantly classical and incremental in nature and high in satisficing, mixed scanning, and shared decision-making. The garbage can and political approaches ranked the lowest. The results from the interview questionnaire revealed that all Wisconsin district administrators followed state mandates to close the schools but relied heavily on input from stakeholders before making any mitigation decisions or choosing any learning format. They prioritized the well-being of students, families, and staff when making such decisions. The primary factors taken into consideration by district administrators to decide on virtual or in-person learning included guidance from health authorities, number of infection cases, student learning, availability of technology, and community dynamics. District administrators facing epidemic health emergencies need to seek all stakeholders’ input on mitigation measures, but student learning should be the primary driver behind closing schools or going back to in-person learning.

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