All University LFT checks scrapped with immediate effect

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Durham University’s test-to-participate Lateral Flow Test scheme will cease with immediate effect today, a week earlier than planned.

This means all student events, formals, and college bars will no longer be required to check that all students have a valid negative LFT within the last 48 hours, for the first time since November 2020, when the scheme was introduced.

Messaging around mask usage has also changed; students will only be “strongly encouraged” to wear face coverings, where this was previously “expected”. 

Government guidance has stated for several weeks that students should not be restricted access to education if they do not wear a face covering. 

This follows the Government announcement that all remaining Covid-19 restrictions, including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you contract the virus, will end tomorrow. 

The University had previously intended to phase out the test-to-participate scheme by 1st March, but has fast-tracked this move in response to the change in Government policy.

Outdoor University events had already stopped checking for negative LFTs last Monday.

The University will continue to provide free voluntary testing facilities on site for staff and students until the end of Epiphany Term on 18th March. LFTs from pharmacies will no longer be free from 1st April.

With the end of LFT checks, the University is expected to significantly dial down its testing provisions from the start of next week. Palatinate understands that all testing sites except Café on the Green, a University-owned café on Palace Green, will be dismantled.

Hundreds of students will lose part-time jobs as a result of the closure of the University testing sites. Only around 50 employees have been offered the chance to continue to work at the remaining testing facility.

Image: Lainey Lin

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