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Durham University

Covid-19 Response

Latest news and information

Key messages for our students

We are working at pace to develop and consult on operational plans so that we can deliver the best possible Easter Term experience for all of our students and members of staff.

We are currently able to share some further thoughts on what you can expect for the remainder of Epiphany Term 2021 and across Easter Term 2021. This follows on from publication of the Government’s ‘Roadmap out of lockdown’.

  • The government has yet to provide any guidance on student movements at the end of term. We will disseminate details as soon as we get them.
  • Easter Term starts on 26 April. We ask you not to come back to Durham ahead of that date or before government gives consent, unless it is essential you do so to support your educational needs.
  • We expect revision and teaching activity in the Easter Term to be a blend of face-to-face and online.
  • We plan to deliver a comprehensive set of managed, in person and online Wider Student Experience activities in Covid-safe ways during Easter Term.
  • We encourage you to get tested regularly through our free, accessible Lateral Flow Testing service, and to follow guidance on social distancing, hand sanitation and mask wearing.
  • College accommodation charges are waived for students not in residence in Term 2 in 2021.

We will contact all students again shortly after the next government announcement (expected in early April).

Last updated on 26/02/2021

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.

Online examinations and Academic Safety Net measures

All 2020/21 examinations will take place online.

Drawing on our experience last year and working in close collaboration with the Durham Students’ Union, we have identified a range of measures that will provide an Academic Safety Net for all Foundation Programme, undergraduate and postgraduate taught students.

After careful consideration, our Academic policies and procedures have been amended to ensure that each student achieves the grade they deserve, despite the pandemic.

In a year like no other, the Academic Safety Net should give students confidence that their grades and degree outcomes will not be negatively affected by Covid-19, and that the integrity of their degree will be maintained.

Students with specific questions relating to their programme are advised to contact their Academic Department in the first instance.

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.

Teaching and learning in Term 3 (Easter Term)

Our Term starts on 26 April and we are continuing to advise students not to come back to Durham City ahead of that date or before appropriate government permissions are granted – though we recognise that a significant number of students have been resident in Durham City for some or all of Epiphany Term.

Some of our teaching provision in Easter Term will be in the form of practicals and laboratories: details on those classes will follow.

Rather more of our teaching provision will be in the form of revision sessions.

We expect teaching to be made available in person and online, as per the arrangements for Michaelmas Term 2020.

All examinations will remain online, as planned.

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.
  • All students arriving from overseas must follow UK government quarantine regulations on arrival. If quarantined in Durham city, students that are in Durham are urged to book a Lateral Flow Test for the day after they finish quarantine. If quarantine has been completed in the UK but outside of Durham, when students return to Durham City we urge them to book a Lateral Flow Test for the day they arrive back in the City. In both cases, further tests are urged 4 days and seven days after the first test.
  • 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.

Get in touch

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for in our FAQs, you can contact our Covid Control Centre. Emails are monitored from 8am to 8pm Monday-Friday, and 9am to 5pm Saturday-Sunday.