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Quarantine is one of the most common approaches following infectious diseases outbreaks. In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, most governments worldwide have set instructions and policies to prevent the spread of the disease by imposing lock-down, social distancing, and home ...

Quarantine is one of the most common approaches following infectious diseases outbreaks. In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, most governments worldwide have set instructions and policies to prevent the spread of the disease by imposing lock-down, social distancing, and home quarantine. Accumulating evidence indicated the overwhelming impact of pandemic social isolation on mental health. Anxiety and depression were the most common indicators of psychological impact reported across studies.

During this pandemic, a sudden and worldwide transition of the entire education system to an online educational format occurred. Even though undergraduates are not at particular risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection, their daily activities were affected dramatically by the pandemic. Multiple studies have discussed the prevalence of stress-related disorders, such as anxiety and depression, in undergraduate students. However, fewer studies have addressed risk factors that predispose students to mental health issues.

The transition from a face-to-face to an online educational environment made students feel anxious about altered assessment tools, unacquainted learning environment, closed libraries, time management, concentration, learning methods, and motivation to study. More challenges are added to students in colleges with the practical nature of education, such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and nursing.

With its continuous waves of danger alerts and posing a persistent health crisis, this pandemic has highlighted multiple aspects in our societies that need to be urgently investigated and not be overlooked. One of them is the unmet need to develop institutional mental health support systems. The other aspect is the shift to the new educational modes – online and the blended online and the in-class mode.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

• Comprehensive analysis of risk factors predisposes undergraduates to mental health issues.

• The potential solutions to prevent these risks and policy recommendations for universities and institutions to overcome stress-related issues.

• Studies highlight the need to develop and implement policies to provide service-led supporting programs highlighting the gender differences.

• Investigate the virtual learning-related stress and its relationship with mental health and undergraduates' well-being.

• Strategies to improve online learning.

• Initiative to shape and redefine blended learning (online and in-classes format).

• Students’ academic performance and its relationship with mental health.

Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, Online Learning, COVID-19, Pharmacy Education, Medical Education, Blended Education


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