Assessing the impact of SARS-CoV-2 prevention measures in Austrian schools using agent-based simulations and cluster tracing data

Jana Lasser*, Johannes Sorger, Lukas Richter, Stefan Thurner, Daniela Schmid, Peter Klimek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We aim to identify those measures that effectively control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Austrian schools. Using cluster tracing data we calibrate an agent-based epidemiological model and consider situations where the B1.617.2 (delta) virus strain is dominant and parts of the population are vaccinated to quantify the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as room ventilation, reduction of class size, wearing of masks during lessons, vaccinations, and school entry testing by SARS-CoV2-antigen tests. In the data we find that 40% of all clusters involved no more than two cases, and 3% of the clusters only had more than 20 cases. The model shows that combinations of NPIs together with vaccinations are necessary to allow for a controlled opening of schools under sustained community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant. For plausible vaccination rates, primary (secondary) schools require a combination of at least two (three) of the above NPIs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number554
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Agent-based model
  • COVID-19
  • network
  • intervention measures
  • school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

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