Students from Durham University have been accused by the City of Durham Parish Council of breaching lockdown in order to hold parties, according to The Chronicle.
The council has written to the University asking for students to be told they cannot return to the city without a letter of consent.
The letter was based on accusations about at least two parties held by students, who had returned to Durham to see friends.
They also claimed that some students have acted against the University’s advice by returning to private accommodation to collect their possessions.
A spokeswoman for Durham University confirmed they have received a letter from the City of Durham Parish Council.
The University is yet to respond fully, but outlined its commitment to working closely with Durham “to respond to the covid-19 pandemic with the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, students and local community as our priority.”
In a lengthy statement to The Chronicle, Adam Shanley, who is the council’s secretary said that “Some of the former has taken place during lockdown and at least two house parties, where all the occupants have arrived at the same time and then proceeded to engage in a social event within the properties, have been reported to us by concerned residents.
“In relation to the second category, students have been providing various reasons why their attendance in the city at this point in time is necessary. Some raise the wish to undertake their examinations here.
“With exams now being held online with a 48-hour completion period and the potential for an aggregate of several exam periods, there is the possibility for students coming here for some weeks, with opportunities to socialise in between and certainly after.”
The reports were made to the council by concerned residents
He added: “Any unplanned and uncoordinated return to the city in any significant numbers from different households and from different parts of the country – especially large urban areas such as London – into a city with a predominantly elderly population, and one where the reported cases of those catching the virus within the city limits has been low, gives us some cause for concern.
“The visits by such numbers to local shops and – potentially – medical facilities, and the potential for those sharing houses to organise returning at the same time in order to socialise while collecting possessions would certainly be in breach of the spirit, let alone the letter, of the Government guidelines.
“We therefore write to you to ask if the university would be prepared to issue an unequivocal statement of requirement, rather than guidance, where any deviation will only be permitted by obtaining the explicit written consent of the university authorities.
“Such a statement would help reassure the residents of the city that the university also has their best interests in mind at this trying time.”
Image: Maddie Flisher