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SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK university students: Lessons from September-December 2020 and modelling insights for future student return

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The UK Higher Education sector poses unique challenges for COVID -19 control. Multiple universities experienced outbreaks at the start of the 2020/2021 academic year, although the scale of outbreaks varied considerably. We present a synthesis of work on SARS -CoV-2 transmission in higher education settings, produced by the COVID -19 and Higher Education Working Group at the Isaac Newton Institute (INI), consisting of participants from several institutions. First, we use observations from early in the 2020/2021 academic year to investigate transmission between universities and the wider community, both at the start of term and during outbreaks in universities, and also consider risk factors for infection within universities in terms of accommodation structures. Second, using a multiple models we explore some of the proposed control measures for reopening and keeping open universities in the face of an ongoing pandemic, namely staggering the return of students at the start of term, and also virus testing strategies at the start and during term. Preprint URL : https://www.newton.ac.uk/files/preprints/ni20004.pdf

This talk is part of the Worms and Bugs series.

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