Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Medical Laboratory Science BS


Medical Laboratory Science

First Advisor

Cynthia Handley, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jacob F. Shaefer, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sabine Heinhorst, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Medical Laboratory Science


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed educators’ and students’ perspectives on virtual teaching of the laboratory sciences. This study aims to determine the perceived effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) students at the University of Southern Mississippi. This study will evaluate how the changes to the instruction of the MLS curriculum and overall student mental health affected their grades and retention of academic content during and post-pandemic. The goal is to determine students’ perception of the effectiveness of virtual learning during the COVID-19 quarantine period, and whether it is a sustainable learning resource. Five students enrolled in the junior medical laboratory science curriculum during the COVID-19 quarantine period completed a questionnaire related to their mental health status before and after the quarantine period, grades, retention of academic content during and after the quarantine period, and whether they were able to create a productive work environment during the quarantine period. Most students experienced a perceived increase in anxiety and depression and an increase in poor mental health status. It was also indicated that two of the five survey participants were not able to create a productive work environment during the stay-at-home order. Furthermore, students noted an improvement in their grades and academic course retention levels when face-to-face classes resumed. This study implies that the disadvantages that coincide with virtual learning affected Medical Laboratory Science students’ ability to successfully learn critical laboratory skills.

Keywords: Virtual learning, COVID-19, Laboratory education, Mental Health, Global pandemic shutdown