Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Jared Schlenker


Kindergarten through 12th grade school administrators and educators are tasked with the challenge of ensuring every student is consistently attending school. Balfanz and Byrnes (2012) and Henderson et al. (2014) stated that either students cannot attend school because of multiple factors, students will not attend, or students do not attend because of a lack of value in education. Then, in 2020, the school attendance challenge was heightened with educating students during a worldwide pandemic. During this time, school environments varied from 100% virtual learning to hybrid learning—meaning they had both virtual and face-to-face instruction—to 100% face-to-face instruction. After knowing how students’ education was delivered and how attendance was calculated, many wondered if student attendance rates changed. This research explores chronic absences and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data was collected from one middle school in western North Dakota and used to determine if there were changes in chronically absent students before, during, and after the pandemic. The researcher developed a questionnaire to gain insight from parents who had chronically absent students and that data was analyzed to determine patterns and explanations for why students were chronically absent. The study data revealed that the middle school in western North Dakota did experience an increase in chronic absent students during the COVID-19 pandemic and it continues to be concerning. The leading reasons for the absences remain the same, which are unexcused and absent/guardian coded absences. The parents who responded to the questionnaire revealed mixed feelings on how they perceived the school’s communication to them and support of their child when absent.