Self-isolation support

Please note: We will continue to update this page with more details so keep checking back to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.

If you have been identified as a positive case or a close contact, we will send you by email a letter detailing the advice you need to follow and how we can support you. 

When to isolate 

If you have not been fully vaccinated against Covid infection and you have been identified as a close contact you will be required to self-isolate in line with Government guidance.  

If you have been fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccination and are a close contact with a positive case you do not need to self-isolate, (your second vaccine must have been received at least 14 days before contact with the infected person). 

You are required by the UK Government to take a PCR test. If your result is negative, you are advised to take extra precautions such as wearing a mask and limiting contact with others. We recommend you remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and that you do daily lateral flow tests for 7 days. A supply of tests can be obtained from the University asymptomatic test centres. As long as you are fully vaccinated, you do not have symptoms and your tests are negative you are able to access all campus facilities and attend teaching events. Please wear a face covering.

If you test positive on any Covid test or start showing symptoms you need to self-isolate for ten days from that point. You need to email the Covid inbox with your test result at Remote study arrangements are available for students who need to self-isolate, and those attending lectures remotely may not be only those formally approved for remote study.  

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19). You’ll usually need to self-isolate for 10 days. If you’re living in University accommodation, your ‘home’ is your flat.

See the Government's full guidance for households with possible COVID-19 (Coronavirus) infection and NHS Suspected coronavirus (COVID-19): important information to keep you safe while isolating at home.

Travelling to the UK and quarantine

There are detailed travel quarantine instructions you need to follow if you are travelling to UK.

If you are required to self-isolate

If you’re required to self-isolate, you must not attend any in-person activities on campus, including face-to-face teaching, appointments or right to study checks.

If you are required to self-isolate you must email as soon as possible to let us know. We can then make sure that you have all the support you need to self-isolate effectively.

How we will stay in contact with you

If you’re required to self-isolate, you must let the University know as soon as possible by emailing so that we can ensure you have what you need and receive all available support to help you during this period. For example, if you need extra help studying, getting a bank account, arranging essential food and medical supplies, you’re feeling unwell, etc.

Once you’ve emailed, a member of our Student Isolation Support Team will make contact with you (using the telephone number listed on your student record and your Essex email address) to discuss and arrange the support you require during your self-isolation period and to agree frequency and method for ongoing contact. The Student Isolation Support team will be a listening ear for any of your concerns, support your wellbeing, and assist you with accessing necessities such as food and medication. You can update your contact details on your myEssex student portal.

We will make sure you have all the information you need and will talk through any particular concerns you have, signposting you to other University or local services, as appropriate.

We will make sure your department knows that you are self-isolating so that they can contact you to discuss any educational difficulties you might experience (e.g. catching up on work after your absence if you are not well enough to engage in your learning).

If you have any questions or concerns about self-isolating in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our Student Isolation Support team.

How to self-isolate

Even if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms for the 10 day period, you must not leave your accommodation if you’re self-isolating.

Please follow the guide on how to self-isolate. (.pdf)

Ordering food and groceries, and receiving post

Grocery deliveries

We understand that you may have to self-isolate at short notice and may not have stocked up on food and other essential supplies.

Tesco is offering a dedicated Click+Collect service for self-isolating or quarantining University of Essex students to use.

A Click and Collect van will be located at the University on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This will offer students a chance to receive shopping delivered at the campus for only £1.50.

When ordering a home delivery with Tesco please follow the procedure below:

  1. Self-isolating/quarantining students can only book a delivery slot for:
  2. Please be aware that there are limited spaces each day so booking in advance is advisable.

  3. Once you have successfully booked a slot with Tesco you will need to email the Soft Services team at by 12pm the day before the delivery (this will be on a Friday if the delivery is expected on a Monday) detailing the date and time that you have booked, including your address and telephone number.
  4. Derwent FM or University staff will sign for the shopping on your behalf.
    • All substitutes or short date items will be accepted. If you do not want this then please uncheck the substitutes box when ordering on the Tesco website.
  5. Derwent FM/University staff will then deliver your shopping directly to your flat door in a safe way.
    • The staff member will retreat at least 2m from your flat door and phone you.
    • You then remove your items from the delivery crate and close your flat door.
  6. All delivery crates are wiped down with virucidal wipes.

All other major UK supermarkets have home delivery services. You will need to register on their websites in advance to arrange a delivery:

You will need to advise them you are self-isolating and please keep your distance when your shopping is dropped off.

Essex Food provides a food delivery service for those self-isolating. Orders can be made through the Essex Essentials website.

We will provide you with a basic food pack free of charge if you are required to quarantine, which contains food, such as rice, tea, pasta etc. We will also provide bedding and kitchen items, if you are a new student arriving to quarantine.

If you’re having difficulty shopping because you’re self-isolating:

If you can, ask friends, family or neighbours who are well to go out and get food and other essentials for you. If you do not have others to help you, there may be community groups who can help in your area or your local shops may be able to provide orders for delivery (by phone or by email). If someone is going to the shops for you, most of the major supermarkets have ways you can pay for your shopping, such as e-vouchers or gift cards. You can buy these online and the person shopping for you can use them in store.

if you have tried the above suggestions but are still unable to access food and groceries please contact the Student Isolation Support team by emailing

Food and takeaway deliveries

There are also a number of different companies that will deliver takeaways to the University campuses and surrounding areas. As well as ordering via their website, they also have apps available to download. 

Fusion delivers food to accommodation free of charge (Monday - Sunday 12pm–8.30pm). If you have any questions or would like help using this service, please contact 01206 873258.

Contacting supermarkets if you don’t have a UK phone number

Most UK supermarkets ask for a UK phone number when you set up an online account. Options to consider are:

Ordering a UK SIM card, for example from giffgaff (Giffgaff will send a free UK SIM card anywhere in the world) Signing up for a virtual UK phone number.


All registered items of post are kept in the Post Room. If you are in self-isolation and require your post urgently, please email Accommodation Operations at to request a delivery.

For those living in North and South Towers Accommodation, letters and small unregistered parcels will be sent over for porters to deliver to the flats.

If you will be living on Colchester Campus, please ensure you address your COVID-19 test kits to be delivered to our Colchester COVID-19 Test Collection Point using the address below and not your accommodation address. The Test Collection Point is open Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm and is located next to the Post Office on Square 4.

Colchester COVID-19 Test Collection Point
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex

Help with your laundry

If you need help with your laundry while you are self-isolating, please email:

Colchester Campus

Southend Campus

Seeking medical advice

There is advice on the NHS webpages about when to contact your doctor if you have symptoms of COVID-19. As a student studying on a course for more than six months, you're required to register with a local doctor throughout your period of study if you live on campus or in the local surrounding area. For further information, please see our guidance on registering with a doctor

Help with food or medical prescription deliveries

If you are struggling to secure a delivery slot with a local supermarket, you can contact the National Royal Voluntary Services (working with the NHS).

Telephone: 0808 196 3646 (Monday to Friday 9-5pm).

This service can arrange for collection of essential medical or food supplies. Call the number provided and tell them you are self-isolating. Once you have contacted the service a local volunteer will call you back as soon as possible to make arrangements for collecting what you need.

As these collections are carried out by volunteers, they may not be able to offer immediate availability, so please try to plan in advance as much as possible.

Prescriptions for Colchester Campus

If are self-isolating and you would normally collect your prescription from Hythe pharmacy, please call them and request that it be sent to the SU Reception. If you pay for your prescription, you would need to call the SU Reception (01206 863211) and pay for it over the phone before it is delivered to you. Your medication will then be delivered to your accommodation. You can also contact them to order over-the-counter medication such as painkillers and hay fever medication.

Other ways to obtain medication:

Support from local community groups

  • Colchester - Coronavirus community support
  • If you are living in Wivenhoe, and require support while self-isolating, such as the collection of a prescription or essential shopping, you can email Wivenhoe Mutual Aid, a community-run support group set up to respond to COVID-19 at

    The Boaz Food Project is the effort of a group of Christian on Greenstead, it aims to reduce hunger and waste. It is a joint venture and effort. Food has been provided to some of the international students since the beginning of lockdown and some of those who are just arriving and having to self isolate are currently receiving weekly parcels, dropped at their door steps till they are settled. The Boaz Project by Christ Divine Empowerment Ministries, with 3 aims. To reduce food waste To reduce hunger and food poverty To reduce Isolation. Contact them via email at

  • Southend - Coronavirus Action Helpline - 01702 212497 - If your friends and family aren't able to help you and you have no local support, then please call us. If you need help with tasks like food shopping, or you're just feeling isolated then please call us. The helpline is open Mon to Fri (excluding Bank Holidays) 9am to 5pm. 
  • Loughton - Coronavirus community support

Supporting your wellbeing

The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Team support students with their wellbeing, mental health and disability. We offer a non-judgmental service and a safe space for you to explore what is happening in your life. We understand that this may be a challenging time for you due to the impact of COVID19 and we want to reassure you that we are here for you should you need us.  All students will receive regular contact from the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service during their quarantine/self-isolation period.

Help and support for your mental and emotional health is available from the University. In addition to workshops, groups and support available, you can request a video or telephone appointment by using the online drop in service enquiry form.

We also offer a counselling service via our partner agency Validium.

Exercise is important for physical and mental health and your overall wellbeing. If you are self-isolating but have not tested positive and are not symptomatic, you can make use of the outside space for exercising including the historic Wivenhoe Park at the Colchester campus. Remember to wear a face mask and sanitise your hands when leaving and entering your accommodation. Please make sure you maintain social distancing when accessing the outside space, and whilst you exercise.

If you are self-isolating because you have tested positive or are symptomatic, you should exercise within your accommodation. Virtual fitness classes have been made available by Essex Sport

Make the most of your University experience online

Self-isolating shouldn’t mean that you miss out.

Study support 

Essential readings for your modules should be available online, accessible through the reading list information for your module on Moodle.

The Library offers help and support via the chat function on the library website:

  • Monday - Friday: 10am-5pm 
  • Saturday - Sunday: 2-6pm 

Your department will be in touch to discuss your studies and any educational difficulties you’re experiencing (e.g. catching up on work after your absence if you’re not well enough to engage).

If you have any queries regarding your course and studies, please contact your department.

Academic workshops

The Skills for Success team is running a range of online workshops to prepare you for online learning and to support you in your studies. Visit CareerHub for the full list of workshops and to book onto the sessions.  

You can also access workshops and resources to support you in your studies. There is a programme of online academic-skills workshops.

You can also access resources to support you in maths/stats on Moodle as well as academic skills resources.


As well as activities by your department, there will be plenty of online activities and events, including virtual quiz nights, Students’ Union events, game nights, online fitness classes and plenty more.

Check out the University’s events calendar and the SU pages.

Essex Sport are running a number of online fitness classes that you will be able to do from your room. You can find various engagement activities such as live streaming classes on our social media channels.

Students' Union

You may think that because you have to isolate the SU will not be able to help you- well the good news is, you are wrong! We have taken big steps to make sure that you can still get help and support, and also take part in events and activities during your time at home.

  • The SU Reception has gone virtual and is now available over Zoom (Zoom ID 920 686 3211) Monday-Friday, 11am - 5pm. Remember to put on your microphones and cameras, and drop in and ask us anything, big or small. You can also email, call 01206863211, or visit the SU Website
  • SU Advice is a confidential, independent and impartial service offering free advice and support and help you with issues you may be experiencing whilst at Essex. We can offer online Zoom appointments as well as email and telephone support. We also offer a Zoom drop in hour every Tuesday and Thursday 2pm to 3pm (Zoom ID 565 702 6431) where you can speak with an adviser without booking an appointment. You can also email or contact us on 01206 863211. We are open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. For more information see the SU website.
  • Finally if you find yourself bored or just want to meet new people, take a look at the SU events webpage.

Failure to self-isolate 

We should all play an active part in the promotion of positive behaviours and take a proactive role in protecting the safety and wellbeing of ourselves and those around us while we are subject to protection measures linked to COVID-19.

On registering all students signed the COVID-19 Social Contract Agreement which states that failure to follow the requirements outlined in the COVID-19 student agreement may result in action being taken in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.

We know that the majority of students will follow the rules around self-isolating. Where students do not self-isolate the University will not tolerate such behaviour that puts others at risk, and these incidents will be dealt with under the terms of our Code of Student Conduct. All reports of alleged misconduct linked to COVID-19 will be taken seriously and penalties will be imposed where appropriate. 

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