Universities have started recruiting students to participate in two COVID-19 research studies in Ontario

The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force said the studies will look at how cases are transmitted among students and staff at Queen's University and the University of Waterloo. 

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These younger age groups have seen a significant spike in cases in several areas of the country over the course of wave two. Dr. Allison McGeer, University of Toronto

Despite many classes being held online, in-class learning is still essential for many students, increasing the risk of contracting COVID-19 for both students and teachers.

The studies hope to learn who is more likely to get sick on campus based on factors like age, ethnicity, blood type, lifestyle choices and physical health.

"We hope to develop profiles to show us which people on a university campus are more prone to catching SARS-CoV-2 and which people are more likely to have symptoms," said Dr. Brian Dixon of the University of Waterloo.

Waterloo's study will require over 1,000 participants to take a test for active infection and provide three blood samples over the course of nine months so that exposure and immunity to COVID-19 can be tracked.

Queen's University will be recruiting 500 students who are not exhibiting symptoms. These students will be tested four times for infection and antibodies over the course of eight months.

"We aim to recruit a variety of participants who will help us understand how the virus affects people of different sexes, blood types, as well as age and ethnic groups who are exposed to similar levels of risk in approximately the same environment," said Dr. Dixon.

Canada's top doctor Theresa Tam said that the results of these studies will directly impact how universities will adjust their policies in the future.