In an email from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, Durham University students have been informed that all teaching will now be carried out online for the entirety of Epiphany term, up to March 19th 2021.
Essential courses at Durham such as Education (initial teacher training) and Social Work will be exempt, in line with government guidelines which state that only courses which require regulatory assessment and mandatory activity may return to face-to-face teaching in January.
The email stated that college accommodation fees will be waived for students not in residence during Epiphany term and that students who are not currently in Durham should not return to Durham City before the start of Easter term 2021, at the earliest.
It also stated that “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 enhanced Easter Term within the prevailing national context.”
The Vice-Chancellor apologised to students for this decision, but explained that “it is unrealistic to assume that the Covid-19 crisis in the UK will dissipate sharply enough in the second half of February 2021, or even in the first half of March 2021, to suggest that students in the UK will be allowed to return to their campuses en masse at that time.”
This comes after the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown last week, which resulted in schools being closed for six weeks, and banned travel unless for essential purposes. University students were told to “remain where they are wherever possible”.
Following the Prime Minister’s address, the University announced that all teaching will move online until “at least mid-February”, and that 2020/21 examinations will also take place online.
It is advised that students and staff who return to Durham for Epiphany term take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) on the day of arrival, as well as on day four and seven in one of the three University testing sites across the City. University members are also advised to get tested weekly during term time.
Image: Amana Moore