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Self-isolation & quarantine FAQs

By Adrian 28 Jul 2020

You can find all our COVID-19 content at campuslife.london.ac.uk/tags/COVID-19.

There is a quick summary at campuslife.london.ac.uk/covid19-guidance-start-here_122007.

We also recommend that you stay up to date with guidance from the UK government and the NHS.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19

If you become unwell with symptoms of possible COVID-19, please stay in your room and follow the self-isolation instructions (there are slightly different instructions for Eleanor Rosa House and Handel Mansions). The instructions include details of how you will obtain food, and the circumstances in which you would be allowed to leave your room.

It is essential that you notify us that you are self-isolating.

If you need help from us, don't rely on this notification form alone: please also contact the reception desk in your hall (for a response within 2 hours), or email us for less urgent matters (3 working days response time) at residential.life@london.ac.uk.

You should arrange to have a test for coronavirus as soon as possible.

Practicalities of self-isolation in halls

When you receive your coronavirus test result

The result of your test will affect how we look after you, and it will also affect how long other residents in your "household" have to self-quarantine. So please call the main reception of your hall and ask to speak urgently with the Hall Manager (during office hours) or the duty RA (outside of office hours, up until 11pm - if it's later than 11pm, please wait until the next morning).

Please also send an update to residential.life@london.ac.uk.

Think ahead: get a bug buddy (or two) and stock up on medicines

If you had to self-isolate, how would you get food, medicines, and other essentials?

Try and ensure that you always have at least a 14-day supply of any medicines that you use regularly.

If you live in self-catered accommodation, try to ensure that you always have some long-life products "in stock", so you could live on these for a few days during self-isolation. After a few days, you should be able to get a supermarket delivery.

Talk with your friends in hall now and agree to be "bug buddies" for one another - to look after each other and pick up essential items if one of your has to self-isolate. See our article about bug buddies for more information.


If you normally share a bathroom with other residents, we may ask you to use a designated bathroom in your hall that will be reserved for the use of people who are self-isolating. The designated bathroom will have a yellow sign on the door. If you're not sure where the designated bathroom is for your hall, ask your Hall Manager, an RA, or the Warden.

During your period of self-isolation, please do not use bathrooms other than those designated for the use of residents who are self-isolating. When you are walking to and from the bathroom, ensure your hands are completely clean (wash with soap and water immediately before entering the corridor), and please don't stop to talk with people in the corridor.

Food - catered halls

If you live in a catered hall, arrange with your bug buddy (see above) to collect breakfast/brunch and dinner for you. They should pick up your food in disposable plates, bowls, etc, and leave it outside your room. If you have tried but cannot find a bug buddy, let the Warden or Hall Manager of your hall know.

Food - self-catered flats/studios

We recommend placing an online order for groceries, and asking your bug buddy to ensure it gets dropped off right outside your door. Or you can order food from a restaurant that does deliveries or from a service like Uber Eats or Just Eat.

If you share a kitchen with other residents

Public Health England guidance says: " If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while others are present. Take your meals back to your room to eat. Wash your used crockery and cutlery using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly, remembering to use a separate tea towel."

So we recommend having a WhatsApp or Messenger conversation with the people you share the kitchen with, and agree a few times for each day when the kitchen will be for your exclusive use. Wipe down the surfaces with disinfectant and wash any shared utensils before others use the kitchen.

Toiletries and medicines

If you're making an online order, consider whether you should add some toiletries or sanitary products, so you have enough to last for the period of self-isolation. You might need to ask your bug buddy to help. If you're unable to get the things you need, contact your Warden or Hall Manager.


Can you last 10 days of self-isolation or 14 days of quarantine without doing a clothes wash? If not, consider placing an order for a few essential items like underwear. Or you could order in some hand-wash laundry detergent to wash small items in your washbasin.

Doing laundry is not an allowable reason to leave your room during self-isolation or quarantine.


If you smoke regularly, we recommend buying nicotine replacement products (e.g. gum or patches) for the period of your self-isolation or quarantine.

Going out to smoke is not an allowable reason to leave your room during self-isolation or quarantine.

Rubbish (trash/refuse)

If you are self-isolating, we will give you a supply of red (recycling) and clear (non-recycling) rubbish bags.

  • When a bag is full, please tie it closed, put it inside a second bag and tie that bag closed.
  • Write your room number and the date on the outside of the outer bag.
  • Keep any full bags inside your room until the end of your period of self-isolation.
  • If you need to have waste removed before the end of your self-isolation, contact the Hall Manager for your hall to arrange a collection.
Adrian profile picture

Adrian is a medical doctor, the University of London Student Health & Wellbeing Manager, and the Warden of Connaught Hall. He is passionate about advancing equality, diversity, and inclusion. Adrian's interests include fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and insight meditation, medical education, social psychology, and human factors / crisis resource management.
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