Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Charles K. Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet L. Deck

Third Advisor

Dr. Emily Stegall


The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic had substantially altered others' daily social interactions and the delivery of education globally. From preschool to universities, educational institutions worldwide temporarily closed their brick-and-mortar facilities to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The transition from in-person to virtual learning was very abrupt, and the transition forced teachers of all experience levels to adapt to a new normal of virtual instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of high school special education teachers’ confidence to deliver virtual instruction to students within a school district that was 100% virtual due to COVID-19. Five high school SPED teachers participated in virtual interviews using Zoom video conferencing. Results of the study revealed three salient themes: communication, online instruction, and teachers’ ability to adapt. Two subthemes of online instruction were identified: perceptions of online instruction and barriers to online instruction. Results of the study indicated the need for teachers to have a streamlined online process for the documentation, delivery, and reporting of special education services. Findings suggested that teachers need professional development available to them that would be tailored to online teaching strategies, student engagement strategies, online platforms that could be utilized to enhance instruction, and virtual tools that could assist teachers in providing services for students with IEPs. Future research using a mixed-methods approach among high school SPED teachers would allow investigators to gather additional qualitative and quantitative data.