College of Health Sciences


Community & Environmental Health

Graduate Level


Graduate Program/Concentration

Master of Public Health

Publication Date





Background: Existing research on the mental health and academic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic reports adverse effects during the early stages of the pandemic due to the abrupt campus closures. However, with the relaxation of some restrictions, college students are allowed to return to in-person learning amid new policies. This study aims to assess students' perceptions on several topics related to the pandemic during campus reopening.

Methods: A 22-question cross-sectional survey based on stratified sampling was conducted among 1,025 students at Old Dominion University, and responses were collected via QualtricsTM in January 2022. The survey records socio-demographic information, self-reported mental health services (MHS) use, and data on students' perceptions associated with campus reopening. Descriptive statistics were generated, and a multivariable penalized logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with MHS use during campus reopening.

Results: A total of 236 students completed the survey. More than half are female, non-Hispanic, White, and 18-24 years old. About 56.54% (n=134) of the respondents have not experienced online classes before the pandemic. Nearly 40.26% (n=93) students feel they have learned the same in an online course as in a traditional course since the pandemic. There is a greater increase in MHS use during the pandemic than pre-pandemic (19.57% vs. 13.92%). Only previous use of MHS was found to be statistically associated with MHS use during campus reopening (OR=7.33, 95%CI=(2.54, 21.17)).

Conclusion: The study revealed increased use of MHS during the pandemic among college students. Also, the respondents had generally positive views of online courses since the pandemic. Given these findings, study authors suggest increased consideration of students' mental health status as a facilitator of learning and a need for further evaluation of in-person versus online learning to restructure higher education courses to best meet the needs of students.


COVID-19, Campus Reopening, Mental health, Online Classes, College Students


Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion



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Returning to a New Normal: A Study Examining Student's Perceptions and Experiences of Campus Reopening during COVID-19