Colleges and COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland: The 'Campus Experience' as Public Health Problem

3/9/2020

In a short research note, UCD Sociology's Dr Seán L'Estrange explores how recent evidence suggests that the pursuit of the 'campus experience' might be a public health risk.

You can view the full research note here.

Abstract:

The re-opening of college campuses in pursuit of the “campus experience” involves multiplying physical interactions and extending and amplifying so- cial contact chains amongst college populations. In the midst of a global pandemic this creates conditions for an increase in viral transmission. In circumstances of a worsening epidemiological profile, and where the sec- tion of the population to be mobilised in this endeavour comprises those most likely to contract infection with Covid-19 and to expose others to in- fection, colleges committing to recreating the “campus experience” pose a very particular challenge to public health. Measures to counter this threat have evolved piecemeal over recent months and continue to be elaborated in local settings in a largely ad hoc manner, leaving many hostages to for- tune. Accordingly, one may ask: Does the pursuit of “the campus experi- ence” at third level institutions in Ireland constitute a significant and under- recognised public health risk? Evidence on recent Covid-19 infection pat- terns and pathways suggests it probably does.

This is the latest in a series of research notes and journal articles on COVID-19 in Ireland by Dr L'Estrange.  You can see his previous work on this topic below:
 
Dr Seán L'Estrange | Testing Times: Viral surveillance and social control in post-lockdown societies
Dr Seán L'Estrange | Irish Covid-19 Testing Practices: Why They Matter. And Why They Don’t
Dr Seán L'Estrange | Irish Covid-19 Testing Practices: Claims and Evidence