School (Dis)Connectedness During Comprehensive Distance Learning


  • Nazia Swartz University of Oregon
  • Chris Benz University of Oregon



Connectedness, Chronic Absenteeism, Comprehensive Distance Learning


Previous studies suggest that students who attend school consistently are more likely to perceive a connection to their school, teacher, and peers. This mixed-methods study was set in a public middle school in the Pacific Northwest.  Extant attendance data and responses to a researcher-generated survey of students who met the state’s definition for chronic absenteeism were analyzed to explore changes in students’ self-reported feelings of being connected to school, teacher relationships, peer relationships, and school climate before the COVID 19 pandemic and during Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL). Survey responses from 105 middle school students, all identified as chronically absent in the current school year based on attendance data, suggest a decrease in the way in which positive school relationships are formed, peer relationships are nurtured and maintained, and school climate is cultivated during Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL). These changes have had a significant impact on the degree to which students feel connected to school in a virtual environment. Implications for practice are discussed.


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