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Durham University

Covid-19 Response

Latest news and information

Key messages for our students

As a University we will continue to make careful and considered decisions in the interests of protecting our staff, students and our wider community.

  • Caution is vital – the pandemic is not over and risks from Covid-19 will remain
  • The University will go beyond UK government recommendations, with health, safety and wellbeing as a priority
  • We continue to offer LFTs over the summer period.
  • Get vaccinated against Covid-19 for the best protection for you and others. You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS.
  • As part of the wider response to rising Covid-19 cases in Durham City, we (along with Durham County Council and Public Health England), request that students take one PCR test each week, even if you have no symptoms. This will help reduce transmission and identify any cases and contacts early.
  • We strongly encourage all students in Durham to take two LFTs each week.
  • PCR tests are free and available to order online.
  • If you have symptoms, a positive test result or are self-isolating for any reason, you must not travel, but should stay in your accommodation.
  • If you’ve been identified as a close contact of someone with a positive PCR, you should self-isolate and book a PCR test. If this comes back negative, you may be eligible for ‘Test to Release’ (TTR).
  • Remember to report using the dedicated form on Banner self-service and to complete the NHS Test and Trace.
  • Our high-quality student support and welfare services remain available to you, wherever you are right now. Our Colleges also remain open and available to all students with concerns or queries.

Last updated on 15/7/2021

+Academic year 2021 / 22: Teaching and learning

  • We are planning a high-quality residential experience, including substantial in-person teaching and learning, for Academic Year 2021/22. 
  • Our priority will be to deliver an exceptional student experience whilst ensuring that we minimise transmission of Covid-19 on campus. 
  • We’ll act in accordance with the latest UK Government mandates and guidelines and monitor the virus level closely, both on campus and in our locality, so we can respond quickly to any changes and put in place additional measures as necessary. 
  • How our programmes run for 2021/22 – the exact mix of activities and modes of instruction, from lectures and tutorials to workshops and labs – will vary by course and year level. But all will offer high-quality teaching and ensure you benefit from the excellent academic experience which sets our graduates apart and that we know employers are looking for. 
  • We recognise that a small number of students will have particular health risks or may not be able to travel. If you can’t join us in October, you’ll be able to register for online study so that you can still benefit from the world-class teaching and resources provided at Durham.
  • With just some exceptions, teaching on our programmes will be available online and you will have access to support to help you get the most out of your learning.

Visit our teaching and assessment FAQ web page for more information.

+Congregation ceremonies and Graduation

Due to continuing Covid-19 uncertainties we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the Congregation ceremonies planned for September 2021.

We have secured dates at Durham Cathedral to hold Congregation ceremonies between Monday 28 March and Friday 1 April 2022. We are also planning additional dates around the Summer ceremonies which are scheduled to take place at the end of June / early July 2022.

+Covid-19 vaccinations

You can now get a Covid-19 vaccine if you are aged 18 or over, or within three months of turning 18. The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective, and give you and others the best protection against COVID-19.

Read the NHS Covid-19 vaccination FAQs for students in England.

You can also visit our Student Support web pages to find out more.

Updated 22/06/21

+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. 

Change to study spaces opening times and availability from 5 June 2021

After the exam and assessment period, our study spaces and opening times will be revised. 

From 5 June onwards, pre-booked timeslots for our current services will remain available for those currently in Durham at the following sites, with some updated opening times: 

The following study spaces will no longer be available: 

  • Elvet Riverside 
  • Hotel Indigo 
  • Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science Building 
  • Dunelm House 

All current health and safety measures remain in place – visit our Services Guide for full details. We will continue to update you with any changes in line with guidance from the University. 

If you have any queries about our services and support, please contact our Virtual Enquiry Desk

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

When you return to Durham, 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 what you must do when you arrive in England from abroad depends on whether you have been in a red, amber or green list country in the 10 days before you arrive.  

All students are strongly advised to take two Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) per week throughout term at our central testing sites. LFTs are free and available seven days a week. If you arrive from a red or amber list country, you must complete your 10-day quarantine period before taking an LFT. 

Currently, you do not need to have had a Covid-19 vaccine to travel to the UK. If you haven't had a vaccine when you arrive in Durham, you will be eligible to get one in the UK if you are registered with a doctor at a medical centre. 

If you can’t join us in October, you’ll be able to register for online study so that you can still benefit from the world-class teaching and resources provided at Durham. With just some exceptions teaching on our programmes will be available online and you will have access to high-quality support to help you get the most out of your learning.  

Useful links 

+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.

+Test to Release

In consultation with Public Health England and Durham County Council, the University is currently operating a “Test to Release” scheme. 

Individuals who have had contact with someone who has tested positive may be released after one negative PCR result subject to testing using LFTs daily for (up to) a further six days before taking a final PCR to exit the process. Each case will be subject to an individual risk assessment, the key requirement being that you are able to avoid all contact with any positive cases while they are isolating. 

If you are in this situation and would like to be considered for Test to Release, please visit our Test to Release page to find out more about the process.

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 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.