Lectures at Durham being moved to online teaching amid coronavirus outbreak

Politics and biology lectures do not require physical attendance

Announcements have been made to students on Durham’s biology and politics courses that they are no longer required to physically attend lectures, The Durham Tab can reveal.

An email sent to Durham University Biosciences students last night has stated that from next week content will be taught in a way which does not require physical attendance, in a bid to reduce the likelihood of the transmission of coronavirus.

A further email today said that lectures this week were also optional, stating: “I gather there are rumours of Covid-infected students at Durham. I can tell you that the University is working closely with both the NHS and PHE, and there are no known cases of Covid infection at Durham University. If however you are concerned, or have other illnesses, I propose that attendance at lectures this week is optional – they will be recorded on Encore anyway.”

Politics students have also had seminars cancelled, with a lecturer informing students but saying they can come in anyway if they please. The announcement to politics students said: “I was just informed that face to face seminars […] are going to be cancelled next week and moved online. My slides for Seminar 10 will be available online, but they are really intended to be discussed rather than presented. I would like to welcome anyone who would typically attend next week’s seminars to attend this week’s sessions instead.”

Durham University also announced today that any field courses and workshops planned for early summer will be postponed or cancelled. It is also advised that large events, especially ones with multiple international guests, should be cancelled. It is currently unknown if this will affect balls and formals.

Prof. Lindsey of the Biosciences Department added: “Fortunately… the likelihood of disease is very low amongst the population below 40 years old. Nevertheless, the University wants to pre-empt potential problems before they materialise, so gatherings (e.g. in lectures) will be replaced with modes of teaching that do not require face-to-face contact. The situation is not critical, but we want to act decisively before it becomes so”.

At the time of writing, there have been seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in the North East, though none of these have been in Durham. There has been one case so far in County Durham, a patient from Darlington who is currently being treated.