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We understand that the current news surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak can be scary and confusing, and it is sometimes hard to know what to pay attention to, and what to ignore in order to protect ourselves and stay mentally well.

It is our aim to stay on top of developments within the Higher Education sector and Durham specifically, and to use our Advice Service web pages to communicate key information and guidance to students, in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak, so please keep checking back.

We have increased the capacity of the Advice Service to make sure you get the support and advice you need. Whether you're worried about how COVID-19 will impact your studies or your everyday life, you can now contact us directly via phone or email:

helpline (available 09:00-17:00): 07922648802*

email: dsu.advice2@durham.ac.uk

*Please note: the Advice Service helpline is not a crisis number, in an emergency please use 999 as usual.

Health and Wellbeing

If you feel unwell with symptoms of Covid-19, the current NHS advice is that you should stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days. You do not need to ring NHS 111. Do not go to the hospital or pharmacy, or make an appointment at your GP surgery.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

If you are self-isolating or have been confirmed as having the virus, please let your College Student Support Office know by phone or email.

For the latest information for the public on the outbreak of Covid-19, please visit the Public Health England (PHE) website.

For information about how to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other common questions about the virus, please visit the NHS website.

If you are finding it difficult to deal with the news surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak, and would like some pastoral support, you should contact your College Student Support Office.

Mind also has a lot of insightful and practical tips on how to look after your wellbeing in relation to Covid-19 here

Private Housing

First and foremost, despite the outbreak of the virus, you are still legally bound to continue to carry out your contractual obligations in relation to your tenancy agreement.

This means that, at this stage, (and regardless of whether or not you decide to go back home whilst teaching has been moved online) you are still expected to continue to pay your rent until the end of your tenancy. This is a legal requirement and, if you do not pay your rent, your landlord could take you to court to recover the full amount.

We would recommend you get in touch with your individual lettings agent or landlord if you have any questions about what will happen to any belongings you leave in a property (if you are not to return before the end of your tenancy agreement for instance), or any other concerns relating to your private rented property tenancies.

If you would like advice on how to behave within a shared living situation to prevent the spread of infection, the government has released the following guidance.

If you need help negotiating with your landlord or agent to make alternative arrangements for paying your rent, you can use this email template. You can also attach this useful Rent Deferment Questionnaire, created by Rightmove, to get the ball rolling.

If you have any specific questions or worries about your housing situation, please contact the Durham SU Advice Service using the above contact information.

College Accommodation

The University have confirmed that students who will not be returning to Durham for the Easter term will not be charged for their College accommodation. Please note: to avoid being charged for Easter term accommodation, students who are still in Durham at present should move out before Friday 10 April.

Students who have already left Durham, but have not cleared their rooms, will not be charged for Easter term accommodation.

Please be assured that provisions are in place for students who cannot return home safely. No student will be without accommodation.

If you have any questions about this, please get in touch with your College Support Office, or with our Advice Service using the above contact information.

Academic Advice: Sickness and Circumstances

If you find yourself unwell with Covid-19, or if you anticipate that you may miss any of your academic commitments because of the infection, the University has a Self-Certification of Absence Form, where you can self-certify for absences of up to 7 days on two occasions per term. You can find out more about this here:


Your department should have details about how to access this form in your degree programme handbook, the online Faculty Handbook and the Postgraduate Module Handbook.

Please contact your College Student Support Office if you need any help with filling out the form.

If you feel that the Covid-19 outbreak may result in you missing any of your summative assessments, or may impact you over the examination period, please contact the Durham SU Advice Service using the above contact information.

International Students

You can find the latest Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance on the following website:


If you are worried about not being able to return to the UK after visiting your home country over the Easter holidays, the University’s guidance states that you should consider postponing your trip, taking into account the risk that you may be unable to return.

If you’re an international student and you’re concerned about fulfilling your visa requirements, and how this may be affected by Covid-19, please contact the Student Immigration Service using their online form:



If you are concerned that the Covid-19 outbreak may affect your financial situation (e.g. if you cannot go to work), contact the University’s Student Financial Support Office to discuss your questions with one of their advisors. You may also be eligible for the Student Support Fund:


Durham Students’ Union

Dunelm House will be closed to students from 17:00 on 17 March until further notice. As your students’ union, we are still here for you whether our building is open or closed, and we will be working hard to make sure we look after the rights of students and continue providing our services online or by telephone.

You can find our staff contact details on the meet the team page here. As all staff members will be working from home, please contact staff via their email addresses, not their telephone numbers.

Our social media channels will be as busy as usual, providing you with updates, support and our usual content for students at Durham. You can find us by typing ‘Durham SU’ into Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

University Student Support Services

The University’s student support services will continue to operate but where possible will move online. This includes Counselling, Disability Support and the Careers and Enterprise Centre, which will become online or telephone only.

All University cafés will close except in the Palatine and Mill Hill Lane where you can access a take away service. Maiden Castle will close, along with all music practice spaces and faith spaces. The University’s visitor attractions will also close until further notice. The Nursery remains open as normal.

All Durham University’s libraries will be closed from their advertised closing time on 17 March until further notice. You can arrange pick-up for loaned printable materials, by appointment, from the Bill Bryson Library. Items can still be returned via the book return slot. A virtual library service will provide various means of support for working remotely. Details will be published on the Library web pages.

As with any of the above subjects, if you are worried about your access to student support services, please contact the Advice Service using the above contact information.

Where can I find out more?

We would advise that you keep checking your Durham University email inbox. You can also get in touch with us directly with any concerns, and find out more on the Durham University Covid-19 webpages:


Email contact: coronavirus.information@durham.ac.uk

Page last reviewed: 21/05/2020