A medical face mask and the word "Quarantine"

Health and Wellbeing

Self-isolation

By Adrian 01 Jun 2020

Please notify us if you self-isolate in the intercollegiate halls

It's important that we know how many residents are self-isolating in the intercollegiate halls. So if you self-isolate, please inform us by completing this short form: bit.ly/uol-self-isolation.

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 (2 working days response time) at residential.life@london.ac.uk.

Who needs to self-isolate?

Public Health England currently requires individuals to self-isolate in the following circumstances:

Group 1

Anyone who has symptoms of a new persistent cough, a temperature of 37.8 C or above, and/or a loss or change in the sense of taste or smell should self-isolate for 7 days from the onset of their symptoms. If they still have a fever after 7 days, they should continue to self-isolate until the fever has gone.

People in group 1 can request a coronavirus test from the NHS: nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test.

Group 2

Anyone, with or without symptoms, who shares a household with a person in group 1 should self-isolate for 14 days from when the person developed cough, fever, or altered sense of taste or smell. In our halls or residence, sharing a household includes:

  • self-catered accommodation where you share a kitchen;
  • sharing a small bathroom with one or two others; or
  • sharing a studio flat.

So most residents of Eleanor Rosa House (excluding studios), Garden Halls Townhouses & HPT, and Handel Mansions are sharing a household. This means that if one resident in these flats has symptoms of coronavirus, the others sharing the flat will also need to self-isolate for 14 days. Please see important advice toward the bottom of this page if this applies to you.

If you share a large bathroom, made up of multiple cubicles, with many other residents, you are not considered to be sharing a household.

Group 3

Anyone who is contacted by the NHS to say they may have been in proximity to a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 must self-isolate for 14 days.

Self-isolation is mandatory

Public Health England have powers to detain individuals who do not comply with this guidance.

In the Intercollegiate Halls, failure to self-isolate when this is indicated will trigger paragraph 17.1 of the Licence Agreement:

17 In any of the following instances the University is entitled to end this agreement and recover possession of the Accommodation. Any other rights or remedies the University may have will remain in force:
17.1 on 24 hours’ notice if Your behaviour constitutes a serious risk to the health, safety or welfare of Yourself or others, or serious risk to the University’s or others’ property.



What does self-isolation mean?

Public Health England has published a full advice sheet about self-isolation; the following is a quick summary of the main points.

  • Stay in your room/flat and do not leave your accommodation. This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
  • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay in your room/flat.
  • Ask your friends or halls staff to help you to get the things you need to stay at home. Make more use of delivery services for essential like food, toiletries, and medicines.
  • If you do have to leave your room/flat, stay at least 2 metres away from other people.
  • Sleep alone, if that is possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
  • You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation.
  • If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online.
  • For a medical emergency, dial 999 and ask for the ambulance service.

There is also some slightly simplified self-isolation advice on the NHS website.

Practicalities of self-isolation in halls

Let us know

It's important that we know how many residents are self-isolating in the intercollegiate halls. So if you self-isolate, please inform us by completing this short form: bit.ly/uol-self-isolation.

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 (2 working days response time) at residential.life@london.ac.uk.

If you test positive for coronavirus

Most people who self-isolate will not be tested for coronavirus. But if you do have a test and the result comes back positive for coronavirus, COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2, please let us know immediately: 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). 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 10-day supply of any medicines that you use regularly.

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.

Bathrooms

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.

Laundry

Can you last 7 days of self-isolation without doing a clothes wash? If not, consider placing an order for a few essential items like udnerwear. Or you could order in some hand-wash laundry detergent to wash small items in your washbasin.

Smoking

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

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.
  • Put the bag outside the door to your room at 10am so it can be collected.

Eleanor Rosa House, Garden Halls Townhouses & HPT, and Handel Mansions

If you live in these accommodation types (excluding studio flats), you are sharing a household with your flatmates. This means that if one resident in these accommodation types has symptoms of coronavirus, the others sharing the flat will also need to self-isolate for 14 days.

We recognise that in some cases, all your potential "bug buddies" will be your flatmates, so if all flatmates are strictly self-isolating, there will be no one able to collect food and medicines. If this is the case, we draw attention to the following guidance from Public Health England:

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, then household members must stay at home and not leave your house for 14 days. If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in your house became ill. If not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.

To minimise the risk of transmitting infection to others, we suggest that the flatmates without symptoms act as bug buddies for any flatmates wo do have symptoms of cough or fever.

Isolation might affect your psychological wellbeing

For some people self-isolation can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings being affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping.

See our article on Coping with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak for more about this.

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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