2020 applicants

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.

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 14 days. If you’re living in University accommodation, your ‘home’ is your flat.

When to self-isolate

You must self-isolate if:

  • you've tested positive for coronavirus
  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you’ve had a COVID-19 rapid fingerprick test and you are told to self-isolate and book an NHS Test
  • a University temperature check shows you have a high temperature you must self-isolate and book an NHS Test
  • you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
  • you arrive in the UK from a country which is not on the Government's travel corridor list

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.

Complete the self-isolation survey to help us help you

If you are required to self-isolate you must complete this short form. The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service are here to support you. From the answers you provide on the form, the team will develop a tailored support package that meets your essential needs.

Once you’ve completed the form, the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service will be in touch to discuss and arrange the support you require as soon as possible. 

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 completing our self-isolation form. We can then 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 completed the form, a member of our Wellbeing Team will make contact with you (using the details you’ve provided us with on the form) to discuss and arrange the support you require during your self-isolation period and to agree frequency and method for ongoing contact. 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 wellbeing@essex.ac.uk or come along to one of our daily Wellbeing Self-Isolation drop-in sessions.

How to self-isolate

Even if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms for the 14 day period, you must not leave your accommodation if you’re self-isolating.

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

Welcome Week 2020

Needing to self-isolate or quarantine won’t mean that you miss out; visit our online Welcome programme for new and returning students which is available for you to access throughout the academic year. Here you can learn more about the University, how to get help and support, see how you can get involved, and meet your department.

Learn more about the range of online events and activities by checking out the University’s events calendar and the SU pages.


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.

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

  1. Self-isolating/quarantining students book a delivery slot on Tesco’s website at the specified times/day, using the first line of your own address and one of three postcodes detailed below (this ensures that shopping is delivered to the correct location):
    • If you are a Meadow/Copse Student use postcode: CO4 3ZT. These students will book the slot between 12pm -1pm on Wednesday and deliveries will arrive at the Copse Reception, The Poplars, Capon Road, Colchester from 12pm and be met by Derwent FM staff.
    • If you are a Quays Student use postcode: CO2 8GY. These students will book slots between 1pm-2pm on Wednesday and deliveries will arrive at Reception, Matthew Quay House 1, University Quays, Lightship Way, Colchester from 1pm and be met by Derwent FM staff.
    • If you are a main Campus Student use postcode: CO4 3SQ. These students will book slots between 2pm-3pm on Wednesday and deliveries will arrive at South Courts Taxi rank, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester from 2pm and will be met by University staff.
  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 accomops@essex.ac.uk 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.

Essex Essentials has an essentials food box (£52) which is available for order. If you’ve just arrived at University, Essex Essentials also has products, such as bedding and utensils available to order.

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.

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. 

From the 30 September, Fusion will deliver food to accommodation free of charge (Wednesday - Saturday 5pm– 10pm). If you have any questions or would like help using this service, please contact 01206 872437.

Students who are living off campus, can order food from Fusion through Just Eat for delivery. 

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.


If you are self-isolating and you’re living on campus, we will arrange to have items received by post delivered to your flat.

Help with your laundry

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

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.  

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 helpwiv@email.com

    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 cdemliftingland@gmail.com

  • 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.

Join us for the Wellbeing Self-Isolation Daily Drop-in. This dedicated daily drop-in provides an opportunity for students to speak to a member of the Wellbeing Team about their experiences of self-isolating and to seek advice or support.

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

Make the most of your University experience online

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

Study support 

All learning and teaching is available online. Please update your study location flag to show that you are learning online using the student study form.

The 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 su@essex.ac.uk, 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 suadvice@essex.ac.uk 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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