COVID-19 Announcement 20/01/22

Hi, current and future members of University College! We know many of you will be impatient to learn Durham University’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the academic year 2021/22. Vice-Chancellor Clare O’Malley gave the following statement on the 20th January 2022:

Headlines

  • We will return to in-person teaching and wider student experience provision from Monday 24 January, as planned. The library will be fully open, without a booking requirement, from this date.
  • Continue to take LFTs and follow UK Government guidance on self-isolation.
  • Get your booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccination as soon as you are eligible.

Following the UK Government’s announcement yesterday on lifting of Plan B restrictions from 26 January, we have today received specific guidance for the HE sector. We are considering this carefully and will communicate any updates.

This communication focuses on teaching and wider student experience measures from Monday 24 January.

All other Covid-19 mitigation measures stay in place until we have communicated otherwise.

Dear students,

This email contains important Covid-19 information and the measures we are taking to protect our community. Please take the time to read it carefully.

New information and guidance

  • Return to in-person teaching and full wider student experience (WSE) provision

Updates on important information and guidance

  • Lateral Flow Testing
  • Vaccinations and boosters

New information and guidance

Return to in-person teaching and WSE provision

We will return to in-person teaching and WSE events and activities in Week 3, from Monday 24 January, as planned.

We will deliver substantial in-person teaching and learning and WSE activities throughout Epiphany term, maintaining a vigilant watch on how the latest wave of Covid-19 develops and making any adjustments as necessary.

The library will be fully open, without a booking requirement for study spaces, from Monday 24 January.

The health and safety of our staff, students and wider community remains our priority. To ensure the safest possible start to our Epiphany term and minimise transmission of Covid-19, we implemented temporary adjustments to our Covid-controls for the first two weeks of term.

This period of temporary adjustment allowed everyone to settle back onto campus and provided us with an opportunity to monitor our case rates, as well as the local and national figures, and ensure that our Covid-controls are appropriate.

Wider student experience

All planned indoor and outdoor events and activities will take place, from Monday 24 January.

Those wishing to be a part of these, including spectators and audiences, will require a negative LFT test through a DU test site to enable participation in the safest way possible.

There will be no restrictions on numbers, except for indoor activities which will need to comply with the agreed Covid room capacities which operated throughout Michaelmas term.

Lateral Flow Testing

We have extensive LFT (Lateral Flow Testing) facilities across campus, which are freely available to all students and staff. Visit our Covid-19 web pages for test site information.

Students are reminded to take two Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) per week throughout Epiphany Term to protect themselves and our community. You can find a list of onsite LFT test centres on our Covid-19 web pages.

If you receive a positive LFT result, isolate immediately and do not attend in-person teaching or WSE events and activities.

Vaccinations and boosters

Omicron is transmitted in the same way as previous Covid-19 variants but is more infectious, so it is important that you are fully vaccinated. We all have a responsibility to help slow the transmission of Covid-19, and having your vaccines and a booster is one of the best ways of doing this.

We encourage you to access both Covid-19 vaccinations and a booster dose as soon as possible, if you haven’t done so already, via the National Booking System or a walk-in centre.

Conclusion

This is a rapidly changing situation and the guidance we have outlined above has been carefully developed in consultation with staff, students and Durham County Council public health experts.

The health and safety of our staff, students and wider community remains our priority. We continue to assess the risks and how best to manage them. However, the context in which we are managing the pandemic is very different to March 2020.

While the Omicron variant has shown to be more infectious and transmissible, the mitigations we have in place remain appropriate.

Following the UK Government’s announcement about the end of Plan B restrictions from 26 January, with the continued need for Covid-19 safe behaviours, we are considering the new guidance for HE settings. We will communicate any updates.

Vaccinations are helping the decline in Covid-19 rates and we encourage you to access a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible, if you have not already done so, via the National Booking System or a walk-in centre.

Best wishes,

Claire O’Malley
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global)

Please check this announcement section for more up to date announcements as they arise. Bob Howat, the Services Manager, is responsible for maintaining this website so please email castle.servicesmanager@durham.ac.uk with any questions about the COVID announcements.

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