Contacts and behaviours of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the 2020/2021 academic year

Nixon, E., Trickey, A., Christensen, H., Finn, A., Thomas, A., Relton, C., Montgomery, C., Hemani, G., Metz, J., Walker, J.G., Turner, K., Kwiatkowska, R., Sauchelli, S., Danon, L. and Brooks-Pollock, E. (2021) Contacts and behaviours of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the 2020/2021 academic year. Scientific Reports, 11 (1).

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Abstract

University students have unique living, learning and social arrangements which may have implications for infectious disease transmission. To address this data gap, we created CONQUEST (COroNavirus QUESTionnaire), a longitudinal online survey of contacts, behaviour, and COVID-19 symptoms for University of Bristol (UoB) staff/students. Here, we analyse results from 740 students providing 1261 unique records from the start of the 2020/2021 academic year (14/09/2020–01/11/2020), where COVID-19 outbreaks led to the self-isolation of all students in some halls of residences. Although most students reported lower daily contacts than in pre-COVID-19 studies, there was heterogeneity, with some reporting many (median = 2, mean = 6.1, standard deviation = 15.0; 8% had ≥ 20 contacts). Around 40% of students’ contacts were with individuals external to the university, indicating potential for transmission to non-students/staff. Only 61% of those reporting cardinal symptoms in the past week self-isolated, although 99% with a positive COVID-19 test during the 2 weeks before survey completion had self-isolated within the last week. Some students who self-isolated had many contacts (mean = 4.3, standard deviation = 10.6). Our results provide context to the COVID-19 outbreaks seen in universities and are available for modelling future outbreaks and informing policy.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Human behaviour, Infectious diseases, Viral infection
Divisions: Veterinary Health and Animal Sciences (from 1.08.20)
Depositing User: Mrs Rachael Harper
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2021 08:55
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2021 11:29
URI: https://hau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/17707

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