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Durham University

Covid-19 Response

Term 2 - information for students

Key messages for our students

  • With a very few exceptions, all teaching and learning will be wholly online only for the entirety of Epiphany Term (Monday 11 January – Friday 19 March 2021)
  • Students not currently in Durham should not return to Durham City before the start of Term 3, at the earliest.
  • College accommodation charges are waived for students not in residence in Term 2 in 2021
  • The University will work hard to ensure that learning outcomes and the graduation of students are achieved on time.
  • The University will work as hard as it can to provide students with an outstanding Easter Term within the prevailing national context.

Stay at home guidance

We urge our University community to stay where you are. This is now the law.

Visit to find out more about the national lockdown announced on Monday 4 January 2021.

Please read the UK Government guidance on When You Can Leave Home before deciding on any travel.

Students who do need to travel to Durham should contact their College prior to making travel arrangements.

Government guidance states that students “should remain where they are wherever possible”. This means not returning to Durham if you are not already in residence.

However, the government guidance also recognises that there will be some exceptional circumstances, such as where students “do not have access to appropriate accommodation, facilities or study space”, or “need to return for health or safety reasons”. In such circumstances, you should contact your College office in the first instance. Staff will be able to discuss these exceptional circumstances with you and offer support on the best course of action.

Teaching and learning in Term 2 (Epiphany Term)

With a few exceptions*, high quality teaching on all programmes will be wholly online for the entirety of Term 2 (Monday 11 January - 19 March 2021).

All 2020/21 examinations will take place online and we'll use a range of measures during 2020/21 to ensure that students are not disadvantaged during the pandemic.

We will ensure students receive a first-rate education and achieve their learning outcomes on time, and that students are not disadvantaged during the pandemic.

Where those outcomes require practicals, placements, laboratory classes and/or fieldwork that needs to be delivered ‘on campus’ or ‘in person’ we will do all that we can to ensure this happens either this Term (in a small number of cases) or in Easter Term (in most cases).

For more information, read our Teaching and learning FAQs and examinations and assessment information.

We will provide separate advice for students on Level 4 Chemistry and Biosciences courses, as well as for PGCE students and students on Social Work placements.

Online examinations and fair assessment

All 2020/21 examinations will take place online.

Working in collaboration with Durham Student's Union (DSU), we are developing a range of measures that will provide a safety net for all students, while upholding the integrity of their degrees.

To ensure that these measures are appropriate and effective, we are consulting with students, via DSU, and encourage students to have their say.

We look forward to providing more detail in due course.

In the meantime, students can find out more about the consultation on the DSU website.

College residence charges

To support students in continuing their studies from home, until face-to-face teaching recommences, the University will reduce College residence charges for days that College rooms are unoccupied.

The usual February payment for College residence charges will not be taken from any student. The full balance of the year’s charges, minus the appropriate reduction for each student who delays their return, will be taken in June.

Visit our Accommodation, travel and visas page for more information on College residence and advice for students who usually live in private accommodation during term time.

Accessing the library and study spaces

We continue to support all students through our online library services, which are available to you anytime, anywhere. Visit our Library News page for the latest updates:

  • We have a vast collection of online resources accessible through Discover, specific subject support on our subject guides and help and support through our Virtual Enquiry Desk.

  • We have also re-introduced our Scan and Deliver service, available to current University members who are not currently residing in Durham.

  • We will also offer a free postal returns service to all UK-based staff and students, allowing books to be returned to the Library by those who are not able to access Campus in the current situation.

  • For students who need to remain on campus, pre-booked services are available for essential use. Including Browse and Borrow, as well as individual study spaces.

Accessing student support

High quality student support services remain available to the entire student body, both at their term time and home address.

Visit our Student Support and Wellbeing pages for information on the support network available to you at Durham.

Travel to the UK

From 04:00am on Monday 18 January all travel corridors will be temporarily closed to protect against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains of coronavirus. From this date you will have to provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test to enter the UK.

  • If you are arriving in the UK by ship, plane or train you have to take a PCR test up to 3 days before departure and provide evidence of a negative result before travelling.
  • The test must be of a diagnostic-standard test such as a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. A Lateral Flow Test will not be enough.
  • If you don’t provide proof of a negative test result certificate, you may not be able to board any form of transport to travel to the UK.
  • When you arrive in the UK you will be asked to present proof of a negative qualifying test result when you check in at the border (printed certificate, an email or text message).
  • Your test result certificate must include set data fields, details of these can be found here.
  • Anyone arriving in the UK without a pre-departure negative test result could be fined £500 and will have to isolate for 10 days.
  • We urge all students returning to Durham to book a Lateral Flow Test for the day they arrive back in the City, and then furthers tests 4 days and seven days after this. This should be followed by weekly tests.
  • Testing regularly will reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our University and local community.

Any queries should be directed to in the first instance.

Frequently asked questions