Exploring Parent Perceptions of Virtual Learning in School: Learning During a Pandemic

W. Catherine Cheung, Michaelene m Ostrosky, Mia Chudzik, Courtney O'Grady, Alana Ackerman, Natalie Perez, Rebecca l. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools were required to shift to virtual learning. Parents and students had to adapt to this sudden change in learning environments and many of their home lives also changed dramatically. Some families faced additional challenges in accessing virtual learning and in balancing their daily lives. The purpose of this study was to explore parent perceptions of virtual learning. Interviews were conducted with 20 parents of students who attended middle or high schools in underserved areas in one Midwestern US state in the summer of 2021. The majority of participants were between 36-45 years of age, and most participants identified as White (55% or n = 11), with 30% identifying as Black. Additionally, the majority of participants reported having a college degree (55%, n = 11). Nineteen parent participants were female (95%). Constant comparative analysis and emergent coding were used to analyze the data. The findings revealed that virtual learning impacted participants' daily routines, with participants sharing positive and negative aspects of their stress levels and their children's academic performance. Some parents reported less stress due to the flexibility afforded through virtual learning, whereas other parents noted an increase in their stress level as a result of having to assume extra responsibility for their children's school work. In addition, the majority of parents reported that virtual learning negatively impacted their children's mental health. Some parents of students with disabilities reported that their children had positive experiences with virtual learning. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-300
JournalSocial Education Research
StatePublished - May 31 2024


  • virtual learning
  • school
  • COVID-19
  • parent perceptions


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