MP for Stockton South visits Study Group's Durham University International Study Centre

22 September 2021
Posted by Study Group

MP for Stockton South visits Study Group’s Durham University International Study Centre to learn more about its excellent handling of the pandemic

The MP for Stockton South, Matthew Vickers, recently visited leading international education provider Study Group’s Durham University International Study Centre (ISC). The purpose of the visit was to learn more about the Durham University ISC’s excellent handling of the pandemic.

Throughout COVID-19, the Durham University ISC has developed and implemented rigorous steps to ensure the safety of students and staff on-campus. Safety measures included working closely with expert public health consultants and specialist student accommodation providers, as well as Durham University facilities managers, to implement best-practice social distancing approaches, to mitigate the risks associated with Coronavirus.

As James Pitman, Managing Director for the UK and Europe at Study Group comments:

“On behalf of everyone at Study Group, we were delighted to welcome the MP for Stockton South, Matthew Vickers, to our Queen’s Campus at the Durham University ISC, to share best-practice approaches focused on our effective management of the pandemic.

“As a result of the swift and effective action taken by the Durham University ISC, there were no cases of COVID-19 among the 2019/2020 international student cohort, when the pandemic was at its peak. During the 2020/2021 academic year, there were only four students who tested positive for COVID -19, and all these cases were because of students visiting relatives and friends outside of the Stockton area.”

Dr Ismail Musa, Centre Director at Study Group’s Durham University ISC comments:

“Both the 2019/2020 and the 2020/2021 academic years, were undoubtedly two challenging years for the higher education sector, especially in terms of striking the right balance between delivering a high-quality teaching and learning experience, whilst safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our students and staff.

“Our open and collaborative approach, working in close partnership with Emergency Planning Officers from Stockton Borough Council, our partners at Durham University and our student accommodation provider, meant that we could quickly introduce thorough and appropriate health, safety and social distancing measures.”

During the visit, MP Matthew Vickers was able to meet with learners, public health officials and student accommodation providers, to find out more about the proactive measures taken by the Durham University ISC to create a safe on-campus environment.

Dr Tanja Braun, Consultant in Public Health, Stockton -on-Tees Borough Council, shares her perspective:

“Throughout the pandemic, the Durham University ISC, managed by Study Group, and the Public Health department at Stockton Borough Council have been working together closely to make sure that students and staff are well-informed and protected.

“The senior management at the Durham University ISC has been very proactive in anticipating risks and have consulted with us on a regular basis to establish robust processes during the global pandemic.”

Ghulam Mustafa Kamran, a student at the Durham University ISC comments on the centre’s handling of the pandemic:

“When it came to the national lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Durham University ISC staff members acted like they were ever ready for this emergency. It was extra challenging as Durham University ISC accommodates a considerable number of students who were living away from their home countries. With the most caring welfare support team, the support continued unaltered after the shift to online and remote learning.”

Durham University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global), Claire O’Malley, adds:

“The International Study Centre is a fantastic collaboration with ourselves, which provides high-level support to international students to prepare them for the challenges of degree-level study.

“We work hard to enable all students feel at home at Durham and to help them settle into an inspiring international learning community, and this was more important than ever during the pandemic.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and wider community has always been our priority throughout the pandemic, and we have worked closely with public health experts to proactively manage the virus transmission and spread.”

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