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The Politics of School Reopening during COVID-19: A Multiple Case Study of Five Urban Districts in the 2020-21 School Year

Nearly all schools in the United States closed in spring 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a micropolitical lens, we analyze traditional public and charter schools reopenings for the 2020-21 school year in five urban districts. Districts’ adherence to and strategic uses of public health guidance, as well as a combination of union-district relations and labor market dynamics, influenced reopening. Parents, city and state lawmakers, and local institutional conditions also played a role, helping to explain differences across cases. We provide a rich description of reopening decisions in each of our case districts, and offer theoretically-grounded explanations for how factors identified in prior studies—which were interrelated and varied across local contexts—influenced district decision-making.

Keywords
COVID-19, school reopening, qualitative research, multiple case study
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/0bke-pz42

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Singer, Jeremy, Julie A. Marsh, David Menefee-Libey, Jacob Alonso, Dwuana Bradley, and Hanora Tracy. (). The Politics of School Reopening during COVID-19: A Multiple Case Study of Five Urban Districts in the 2020-21 School Year. (EdWorkingPaper: 22-605). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/0bke-pz42

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