Date of Award

11-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Michael Wischnowski

Second Supervisor

William Stroud

Abstract

The research focused on the impact pandemic influenza could have on K-12 school systems. The research looked at responses of school leaders regarding the pedagogical, community health, social, and economic impacts of a pandemic. During an influenza pandemic school districts may be asked to close for as long as 12 weeks to reduce contact among children and stop the spread of disease. School superintendents' perceptions and attitudes were sought regarding school policy implications associated with long-term closure of K-12 school districts. The research methods used for this study included: (a) electronic survey, (b) face-to-face interviews, and (c) focus group. Information and data were collected and examined from 19 school districts. The research findings are being used to inform school and public health officials of the perceptions school district superintendents have regarding the potential for long-term school closure due to pandemic influenza. Key findings were (a) school superintendents do not have a clear understanding of who has the authority to close all county schools in the event of a pandemic, (b) school superintendents are essentially equally divided on whether or not a school board policy on extended school closure is needed, and (c) over 50% of the superintendents were not sure or did not believe BOCES should coordinate a task force to address the issue of pandemic influenza planning in schools.

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