Research Snapshot: Closure of universities due to COVID-19 and its impact on education & mental health

What you need to know

The author examined some of the challenges faced by students and faculty as a result of the pandemic, including technological issues with online courses and assessments, lack of housing and supports for international students when campuses close, travel restrictions and lack of support for mental health and well-being. The author also identified a number of measures that colleges and universities can implement to reduce these impacts, including creating a pandemic taskforce, upgrading technology, providing clear communication to students and enhancing mental health resources. Making the health and safety of students and faculty the main priority is essential.


This Research Snapshot looks at the article, "Closure of Universities Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact on Education and Mental Health of Students and Academic Staff," which was published in Cureus in 2020. Read it below or download the PDF

Research Snapshots are brief, clear language summaries of research articles, presented in a user-friendly format.

What is this research about? 

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to the postponement or cancellation of events around the world. Universities have taken drastic measures to protect students and staff members from the COVID-19 pandemic, including closing and moving courses online. As of March 25, 2020, post-secondary schools in 150 countries had closed due to COVID-19, impacting over 80% of the world’s student population. 

When post-secondary schools are required to close to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, there are a number of consequences for students, faculty and school administrators. This research highlights the impacts of colleges and universities closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

What did the researchers do? 

The researcher reviewed peer-reviewed literature and news articles published since 2010 on the closure of educational institutions to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases. 

What did the researchers find? 

The researcher identified the following challenges for students and staff as a result of universities closing due to COVID-19:

The researcher suggests a number of measures that universities can implement to mitigate the impacts of these challenges:

Limitations and next steps 

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, more research will be required to determine the long-term challenges and the implications of these challenges on post-secondary education and student and staff well-being.     

How can you use this research? 

This research outlines measures that college and university administrators can implement to support students and faculty safety and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About the researcher

Pradeep Sahu, Medical Education and Simulation, Centre for Medical Sciences Education, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago


Coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak, pandemic, education, mental health, universities

This Research Snapshot is based on the article, “Closure of Universities Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact on Education and Mental Health of Students and Academic Staff,” which was published in Cureus in 2020. DOI: This summary was written by Emma Firsten-Kaufman.


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