Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Franz, Dana; Javorsky, Kristin

Committee Member

Alley, Kathleen

Committee Member

Xu, Jianzhong

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


The COVID-19 pandemic caused severe disruption to students worldwide, especially younger ones. This instrumental case study investigated how elementary students in a rural United States southeastern community experienced the sudden, extended closure of their school building facilities triggered by this health emergency. Multiple stakeholder perspectives were gathered through semi-structured interviews with the elementary school principal, three classroom teachers, three elementary-aged students, and three student family members, along with classroom observations as well as corresponding documents and artifacts. Interview commentaries and weekly reflective commentary journal entries were employed to address data validation and reliability issues. The findings demonstrate how the rural elementary school community leveraged its unique strengths (e.g., partnership with families, communal leaders, businesses, and local institutions) and overcame disadvantages under emergency conditions. Salutary lessons drawn from the COVID-19 extended school facilities closure were shared from the perspectives of the rural school stakeholders.