Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness

September 21, 2020

Impact of University Re-opening on Total Community COVID-19 Burden



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  • [Pre-print, not peer reviewed] A modeling study reported that university students returning to schools may contribute to increased community transmission of COVID-19, affecting at-risk members of the city community. This is supported by a scenario that if students engage in a 24% contact reduction compared to pre-COVID levels, the number of community infections would increase by 87%, with 71% of the incremental infections occurring in the general population. If students have an initial, short-term increase in contacts with other students before engaging in contact reduction behaviors, the community infection would increase by over 150%.
  • Screening asymptomatic students every 5 days reduces 42% of infections attributable to the introduction of students and delays the re-engagement of social and economic restrictions by 1 week. One-time mass screening of students prevents fewer infections, but is highly efficient in terms of infections prevented per screening test performed.

Cipriano et al. (Sept 18, 2020). Impact of University Re-opening on Total Community COVID-19 Burden. Pre-print downloaded Sept 21 from