University to scrap LFT checks from 1st March

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Durham University will phase out compulsory lateral flow test checks for students by 1st March in new Covid-19 mitigation plans sent to all students this afternoon.

The University had previously planned to close all LFT centres by the end of the month, but has now opted to keep at least one centre open for voluntary testing. 

Compulsory LFT checks on outdoor ‘wider student experience’ will stop from Monday, but indoor events and activities, including college bars, will continue to use the checks until 1st March.

Masks will remain compulsory across campus, with no indication as to when the mandate will be reviewed again.

The comes as Palatinate revealed this morning that Durham’s largest donor, Mark Hillery, has cut all ties with the University over its approach to Covid-19 mitigation.

The University responded by thanking Hillery for his generosity but insisted it has “been guided at all times by the local trajectory of the pandemic which varied at different times across the UK” and “carefully taken into account a wide range of information and perspectives, including Government guidelines, prevailing conditions and advice from local Public Health colleagues.”

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that he expects to lift all remaining domestic Covid-19 regulations a month early, by the end of February.  

The remaining Covid-19 laws, most significantly on compulsory isolation, are due to expire on 24th March. Currently, people who test positive must self-isolate for ten days, or five days following two negative LFT results, but Johnson has indicated that these legal requirements could be removed at the end of the month, meaning isolation will become guidance. 

The University currently advises students who have left isolation after five days of isolation to take greater precautionary measures, including limiting contact with others and wearing a face covering in all University buildings, until ten days after they first test positive. 

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