By Jo Kelly
Deputy Head of Content
DURHAM UNIVERSITY remains open, and is making the health and wellbeing of its staff, students and the communities of which they are part its priority in all decision making.
The restrictions imposed on movement have meant that the university has had to move all its teaching and exams online, close many of its buildings – including its museums and visitor attractions, and ask most of its staff to work from home.
Students were invited to leave Durham early for the Easter vacation and have been advised not to return after Easter. This traditional graduation ceremonies in Durham Cathedral have been postponed.
However, the university is also lending its resources and expertise to help in the battle against the virus.
Two students, one staff member and a local member of the University’s Community Engagement Task Force founded the Durham City Mutual Aid Facebook group, which now has more than 800 members.
Tyla Danskin, one of the students involved, said: “I feel that students living in Durham owe it to the local community to offer support where we can. Although this group was fundamentally established as a way of communication, it has potential to build community spirit going forward – and will hopefully connect more students with the community.”
Before the lockdown restrictions, the university was also able to donate food that would have otherwise gone to waste to the East Durham Trust, which provides food parcels to people in east Durham facing financial difficulties.
Malcolm Fallow, the trust’s chief executive, said it had seen an unprecedented increase in demand for food parcels and the university’s donation was “a welcome boost both practically and to the spirits of the staff and volunteers”.
John Murphy, from East Durham Area Action Partnership, added: “Great to see Durham University playing a role in East Durham in helping feed those in need during this emerging crisis.
For more information, please visit www.durham.ac.uk/community/covid19support
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East Durham Trust
T: 0191 5693511
Charity No: 1117642
Company No: 05934124