Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Cherie Gaines

Second Advisor

Christopher Stotts

Third Advisor

Jerrod Pendergraft


After the COVID‑19 pandemic came to the United States in March 2020, teachers and educational leaders looked to virtual learning as a way for students to overcome learning challenges and improve educational experiences for students. Stakeholders were met with conflicting claims about virtual learning. Proponents of virtual learning claimed virtual teaching and learning platforms strengthened education because they provided additional tools when traditional classroom settings were impossible. Opponents claimed virtual learning resulted in learning loss, therefore failing to improve student learning. In this qualitative interpretive study of a rural school system in Tennessee, using instrumental, semi‑structured interviews, I uncovered the perceptions teachers had about student learning environments as a result of virtual learning. The purpose of this study was to determine teachers’ perceptions of virtual learning and students’ emotional health, students’ motivation to learn, students’ personalized instruction, students’ classroom performance, and students’ learning loss in a virtual learning environment. In 24 interviews, teachers in this rural district desired fewer technology gaps, assistance with managing student engagement and attendance, ways to improve missed instruction, and increased training, support, and professional developments in virtual learning.


Semi-structured interviews, Teacher attitudes, Virtual classrooms