As more Pennsylvania colleges prepare to bring students back to campus for spring semester, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that doing so in the fall significantly affected the number of COVID-19 cases in the community.

The study found that counties with colleges enrolling more than 20,000 students that opted for in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester experienced a 56% increase in the average number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, while counties with large colleges that chose remote-only instruction saw a 17.9% decrease.

But study authors said they could not say whether the spike in cases in surrounding communities were caused by cases on campuses.

“Whether cases in university counties were college-

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