Australia’s school response to COVID-19 as portrayed by print media: a study of the first three months of the crisis

Lilly Yazdanpanah, Venesser Fernandes, Melissa Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The emotional nature of crises and the constant evolution of circumstances make the story of crisis management a messy one. Hence, in understanding Australia's school education response to the COVID-19 crisis, this article interrogates the crisis management events portrayed in print media from March to May 2020. Using Boin, Kuipers and Overdijk's (2013) 10 executive tasks, 52 Australian newspaper articles published from March to May 2020 were critically analysed. The findings revealed that while Australian newspapers positioned state and federal governments as critical actors in determining and communicating how schools should prepare and respond to the ever-changing health crisis, instances of dissonance between the objectives of the state and federal governments were revealed, creating confusion in understanding and establishing Australia's response to the role of schooling during the pandemic. We argue that the media's framing of the pandemic exposed the tensions between Australia's state and federal governments as they attempted to respond to the crisis in different and, at times, conflicting ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Studies in Educational Administration
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Media analysis
  • Australian schools
  • crisis management
  • governance

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