In this study, the authors sought to explore superintendents’ understandings of the various influences on how their districts implemented a 100% virtual learning experience for students for the 2020-2021 academic year. Understanding these influences allowed the authors to develop a framework for leading redesigns of learning systems in long-term crisis situations. In this qualitative study we conducted semi-structured interviews with fifteen superintendents in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Findings showed that districts sought to plan equitable virtual learning experiences for all students based on unintentional influences and the district’s intentional responses. We found that during an educational crisis, learning plans emerged as a result of the feedback between unintentional influences (politics, availability of resources, and needs of stakeholders) and district leaders’ intentional responses (leveraging relationships, communicating purposefully, and reinforcing the educational mission).


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