COVID-19 instances and outbreaks amongst college students after their return to school in September 2020
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In a latest examine revealed in Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers evaluated the rise in extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections amongst college college students instantly after returning to their college in September 2020. The college students relocated to their universities for the brand new tutorial time period through the coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in England.

Study: Effect of Returning University Students on COVID-19 Infections in England, 2020. Image Credit: BGStock72/Shutterstock


In the United Kingdom (UK), college college students relocate to their universities in September on the graduation of the brand new tutorial time period, which coincided with the surge in COVID-19 instances within the nation throughout that interval. While some United Kingdom (UK) universities most popular on-line instructing, some universities required college students to be current in individual. Unfortunately, instantly after the brand new tutorial time period began, SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks occurred related to the colleges.

About the examine

In the current examine, researchers evaluated the rise in COVID-19 instances and outbreaks on the return of scholars to their universities for the brand new tutorial time period starting September 2020 through the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

SARS-CoV-2-positive college students (scholar case sufferers) had been recognized based mostly on contact tracing information and their college attendance. Student case sufferers residing in college scholar lodging had been recognized by matching their residential addresses with nationwide property databases. SARS-CoV-2-positive people had been requested about their actions and occasions inside every week earlier than the onset of COVID-19 signs/ date of the check, which included knowledge on their attendance in instructional settings.

For figuring out college attendees amongst case sufferers, these with SARS-CoV-2-positive reviews had been linked to the National Health Service (NHS) check and hint publicity knowledge. Contact tracing and case affected person knowledge had been linked by the SARS-CoV-2-positive specimen quantity, date of start, and the NHS quantity.

The varieties of lodging had been recognized by matching the case affected person tackle with the Ordnance Survey Address Base Premium database, whereby every tackle is assigned a novel property reference quantity (UPRN) which permits mapping case sufferers to a selected space of residence. Age-specific case charges had been in contrast between cities with universities to these with out utilizing the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2019 midyear estimates. COVID-19 case charges amongst scholar case sufferers and the remainder of the inhabitants had been in contrast, and the geographic areas with the very best variety of instances had been decided.


Between 1 September 2020 and 31 December 2020, 1,999,180 COVID-19 instances had been reported in England, of which 53,430 (2.7%) had been scholar case sufferers. After the brand new tutorial time period started (in September), a speedy enhance in scholar case sufferers from 0.7% to 7.8% from September to October. The enhance in COVID-19 instances was initially pushed by instances and SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in college scholar lodging, most pronounced in people aged 18 to 23 years (scholar inhabitants), and was two-fold larger in cities with universities.

In the coed inhabitants, instances elevated from 11 COVID-19 instances/100,000 people to 99 COVID-19 instances/100,000 people between 1 September 2020 and 1 October 2020. During the identical interval, the COVID-19 case fee among the many remaining inhabitants of England elevated from three to 13 COVID-19 instances/100,000 people. At the graduation of the tutorial time period, 60% to 70% of scholar case sufferers lived in scholar lodging, which dropped to twenty% to 30% after mid-November.

The imply ages of scholar case sufferers and all case sufferers had been 20 years and 37 years, respectively, and a better proportion of females amongst scholar case sufferers (57% females vs. 53% males). Most scholar case sufferers had been reported in Nottingham, Sheffield, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds. Most scholar case sufferers residing in scholar lodging had been reported in Nottingham, Sheffield, York, Newcastle, and Coventry.

SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in scholar lodging continued for six days in comparison with two days for different lodging settings. Outbreaks that concerned college students confirmed an upward pattern, rising from 0.7% to 7.3% in September 2020 however declining to 1% by December 2020. A major discount in COVID-19 instances was noticed in November after the second interval of nationwide restrictions in college cities; nonetheless, the charges elevated in December after the restrictions had been lifted.


To summarize, the unprecedented enhance in COVID-19 instances amongst college college students after their time period started, doubtless because of the bodily and social interactions of scholars in enclosed areas through the college brisker week, was decreased by imposing nationwide COVID-19 restrictions. The examine highlights the necessity for stringent preventive measures to curtail SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Journal reference:

  • Leeman D, Flannagan J, Chudasama D, Dack Okay, Anderson C, Dabrera G, et al. Effect of returning college college students on COVID-19 instances in England, 2020. Emerg Infect Dis. doi:


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