Evaluating COVID-19 Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice Among the Students of Birjand University of Medical Sciences: A Cross-sectional Survey

Background: With the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in December 2019, healthcare systems faced an unprecedented challenge. Medical and paramedical students are the front-line warriors in this combat. Objectives: This study aimed to assess COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, and practice among the students of Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Iran, in 2020. Methods: This cross-sectional analytical study was carried out on 329 students who passed the microbiology course from October 2020 to March 2021. The data collection tool was a researcher-made questionnaire consisting of four sections: demographic data, COVID-19-related knowledge, attitudes towards COVID-19, and participants’ practice. Finally, statistical analysis was performed in SPSS software version 19, and a significance level of 0.05 was considered in all tests. Results: A total of 329 medical, dentistry, pharmacy, and laboratory sciences students participated in this study. The mean score of COVID-19 knowledge was 10.26 ± 1.21 (out of 12). Among the participants, 103 (31.3%) individuals expressed being in crowded places in recent days, and 324 (98.5%) of them confirmed wearing masks. More than half of the students had positive attitudes towards COVID-19 control. The average knowledge was higher in females and medical and laboratory sciences students (P = 0.008). Also, the students' knowledge was inversely related to their practice of wearing a mask (P = 0.015). Conclusions: While students had a high level of COVID-19 knowledge, they had some misconceptions that should be included in educational programs. Students of medical sciences should be responsible for preventive behaviors and strive to be good role models for others.