We have recently welcomed thousands of students, both new and returning, to the City ahead of our new academic year and our Welcome and Orientation Week is currently underway.
This is our first in-person introductory week since 2019 and with the majority of students choosing in-person teaching over online learning, we have been working long and hard to plan for a Covid-safe academic year ahead.
We continue to follow UK government guidance for the Higher Education sector, with the health, safety and wellbeing of the students, staff and the wider community remaining a top priority.
The ‘Your Actions, Your University’ campaign has recently been launched, in which we highlight the range of safety measures in place and the responsibility everyone has to protect one another.
Safety measures include working with the local Public Health team to ensure robust risk assessments are in place, keeping health and safety precautions under review and we continue to work closely with the County Durham Safety Advisory Group.
Furthermore, face coverings when on campus in university buildings, unless exempt, are now required by all staff and students and extra cleaning of buildings and ventilation has been introduced.
With both UK and international students travelling to the City to study, we have been working hard to ensure the staff and students minimise the transmission of Covid-19 on campus, and the wider community is protected.
For those students travelling from outside of the UK, specific advice relating to the red/amber/green status of their home country and vaccination status has been communicated.
All students have been encouraged to get vaccinated prior to travel, and vaccination clinics will also be held on Palace Green for any who have yet to receive their jab. A recent survey suggests that over 80 per cent of students are already fully vaccinated.
Once in Durham, students will be asked to take a Lateral Flow Test twice a week, and there will be free testing centres open seven days a week to accommodate this.
While most first year undergraduate students will live in a College, the majority of students in other years tend to live in shared housing in the City and become part of the wider community.
We are working with local residents’ associations to promote a positive relationship between both students and the wider community, which is supported by the sharing of many of our facilities with the local community.
As part of joining the community, we ask all students to agree to be responsible citizens by signing up to the Student Pledge, which sets out what kinds of behaviour we expect from our students, and keep in mind the ‘Shh… 11pm-7am’ quiet nights message, part of a campaign led by the City of Durham Parish Council.