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Durham University

Covid-19 Response

Latest news and information

Key messages for our students

  • In line with Government guidance, further in-person teaching will not be possible until 17 May at the earliest, with the exception of a small number of programmes. Your Academic Department has written to you to confirm teaching arrangements for your programme of study.
  • Government guidance currently states that you should not return to campus ahead of that date or before government gives consent, unless it is essential you do so to support your educational needs.
  • All 2020/21 examinations will take place online as planned. 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.
  • For those students who return, we plan to deliver a comprehensive set of managed, in person and online Wider Student Experience (WSE) activities during Easter Term. In person activities will be carried out in Covid-secure ways and in accordance with the relevant government guidance and roadmap timelines. The plan for the opening up of WSE facilities and activities in line with the current roadmap can be found on our new WSE web pages.
  • Student support and other services will continue to be available to you in-person and virtually throughout Easter Term.

  • We encourage you to test twice weekly through our free, accessible Lateral Flow Testing service, and to follow guidance on social distancing, hand sanitation and mask wearing.
  • Our Colleges remain open and will continue to operate in line with Covid-19 restrictions to provide a safe environment for our entire community.

Last updated on 26/04/2021

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.

+Colleges

 Our Colleges will continue to operate in line with Covid-19 restrictions to provide a safe environment for our entire community. However, some students cannot or will choose not to return to Durham for Easter Term. 

  • If you cannot or do not return to College accommodation at the beginning of Easter Term - your College residence charges are payable from the date you return to your accommodation until the end of your licence agreement.
  • If you cannot or do not return to College accommodation at all during Easter Term - your College residence charges will be waived until the end of your licence agreement.

The last year has been incredibly difficult for our University community. In recognition of this, the full balance of the year’s residence charges, minus the appropriate reduction if you delay your return, won’t be taken until June.

Visit our Accommodation, travel and visas page for FAQs on College accommodation.

+Examinations and assessments

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.

+Library and study space

We continue to support all students through our online library services, which are available to you anytime, anywhere. Our Virtual Enquiry Desk is available, with LiveChat running 24/7 and our Scan and Deliver service continues to be available to all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students not currently in Durham. For the Easter term, we are extending our postal loans service to all UK-based students outside Durham. Free postal returns remain available to all UK students. 

Our Browse and Borrow service at Bill Bryson Library is available seven days a week for essential use only. All visits must be pre-booked.

To support a healthy campus, we are opening additional, bookable individual student space where possible, within our Covid-secure building capacities. The Bill Bryson Library will be open 22 hours a day, 7 days a week, until the end of the main assessment period. 

We recognise that you may choose to complete examinations or assessments on campus. To support this, all our study spaces will be 'quiet zones'. We also ask that you only book the space and time you need to ensure that everyone has fair access to the space available.   

+Returning to Durham

Further in-person teaching will not recommence until Monday 17 May at the earliest. We ask you not to come back to Durham ahead of that date unless it's for one of the reasons outlined by the Government here.

Students on courses who were already receiving face-to-face teaching in Epiphany Term will be able to resume in-person teaching from the start of our Easter Term, on Monday 26 April.

When you do return, there are some simple steps you can take to help protect our community.

Arriving from within the UK - Participate in Lateral Flow Testing

Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) is free, accessible seven days a week and available to all students. LFTs break the chains of Covid-19 transmission and reduce the infection rate by identifying people who are infectious but not aware of this.

  • When you arrive in Durham, you are strongly advised to take an LFT on day 1 (the day you arrive in the city), day 4 and 7
  • Minimise your social contact until you receive a negative result for your second LFT (taken on day 4)
  • You should then take two Lateral Flow Tests per week.

Book your LFT before you travel to Durham. You can do this using the link in the email you received when you completed your LFT training or visit our LFT pages for more information on how to book your test.

If you choose not to participate in Lateral Flow Testing when you return to Durham, you should self-isolate for ten days. 

Arriving from outside of the UK - Follow UK Government guidance

UK Government guidance states that if you’re travelling to the UK, you must either quarantine in the place you’re staying or in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days.What you need to do depends on where you travel in the 10 days before you arrive in the UK.

You must also get 2 coronavirus tests after you arrive in England. You’ll need to book these before you travel through a Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) approved provider.

Visit gov.uk for detailed guidance on planning your trip, action to take before you leave for the UK and how to quarantine on arrival.

+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, or take a look at our FAQ on how to access support services.

+Teaching and learning

In line with Government guidance, further in-person teaching will not be possible until 17 May at the earliest, with the exception of a small number of programmes. 

Academic Department's will have written to you before the end of Tuesday 20 April to confirm teaching arrangements for your programme of study.  

Government guidance is that you should not return to Durham until in-person teaching resumes for your programme, or in certain exceptional circumstances – see ‘Returning to Durham’ below.

+Travel guidance

Between 8 March and 29 April 2021, UK Government guidance states that if you are at your University residence you can return to your home address for the Easter vacation.

However, in order to minimise Covid-19 transmission, the Government strongly advises that you remain in your term time accommodation where possible.

If you are currently in Durham and would like to travel to your permanent address for the Easter vacation, you are strongly advised to;

  • Take two Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) per week, leading up to your travel date

  • Plan your travel in a way that helps to protect yourself, your loved ones and our community. Read our update on Planning Safe Travel for advice on how to do this.

Government guidance also permits travel to your home address if this includes overseas travel. However, in order to minimise Covid-19 transmission, and because travel restrictions could change whilst you are overseas, the Government strongly advises that you do not travel and to remain in your term-time accommodation.

Easter vacation runs from Saturday 20 March to Sunday 25 April. If you are not in Durham or if you return to your home address, please do not travel to Durham during the Easter vacation.

+Wider student experience

For those students who return, we plan to deliver a comprehensive set of managed, in person and online Wider Student Experience (WSE) activities during Easter Term. In person activities will be carried out in Covid-secure ways and in accordance with the relevant government guidance and roadmap timelines. 

The plan for the opening up of WSE facilities and activities in line with the current roadmap can be found on our new WSE web pages. 

WSE Test to Participate 

To help ensure the safety of our students, staff and the wider community, access to the majority of our in-person Wider Student Experience will be conditional on regular Lateral Flow Testing throughout the Term. Further information detailing the requirements can be found on the timeline. 

WSE online remains for students not able to come to Durham. 

Many of our online WSE activities will be hosted through our OnDemand platform and you can find out more about what is on offer on our web pages. 

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.