2020 applicants

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Useful links

This web page is updated regularly. Updates on specific changes affecting certain areas are added to the relevant pages elsewhere on our website. If you can't find the information on this page, the links below may contain what you are looking for:

What if you develop symptoms of COVID-19?

If you, or anyone you live with has ANY symptoms – even just one of the above:

Self-isolate while you wait for results. Results should be given within 12-48 hours – see more info about self-isolating below

NEGATIVE RESULT - Contact Occupational Health before returning to your studies

POSITIVE RESULT - self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of your symptoms. NHS test and trace service will contact you. Email Occupational Health so we can support you

Important: If you have symptoms you should not attend the University on campus testing as this is strictly for those without symptoms.



What does self-isolate mean and how do I do it?

  • Self-isolation means you must stay at home and not leave your accommodation for 14 days
  • You must not leave your accommodation
  • You must not leave campus
  • Stay away from other people in your home. Try to keep at least 2 metres away from others
  • Sleep alone if you can
  • No visitors
  • Reduce the spread of infection in your home: wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser; cover coughs and sneezes, wear a mask when possible

It is very important that you follow this advice even if you feel well

Self-isolating in this way will help protect your family, friends, the wider community and the NHS.

When do I need to self-isolate?

  • if you have coronavirus symptoms and are waiting for test results
  • if you have tested positive self-isolate for at least 10 days from the day your symptoms started
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms and is awaiting test results
  • If you live with someone who has tested positive you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started
  • If you’ve had a COVID-19 rapid fingerpick test and you are told to self-isolate and book an NHS Test
  • If a University temperature check shows you have a high temperature you must self-isolate and book an NHS Test
  • If you have any of the following symptoms you should self-isolate and book an NHS Test
    • Fever (high temperature) – feeling hot to touch
    • A new continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or
    • 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may worse than usual)
    • Loss of or reduction in sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

Other less common symptoms of Coronavirus include:

  • aches and pains
  • sore throat
  • diarrhoea
  • conjunctivitis
  • headache
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

The University requests that a student self isolates if they have ANY of the common symptoms mentioned above.

Following self-isolation, you should continue to follow Government and University Campus guidance on social distancing.

How to keep well during self-isolation.

For further help and support contact the Student Services Hub at https://www.essex.ac.uk/student/advice-and-support

You will need to remain in self-isolation even if you have do not have COVID-19 symptoms for the 14 days period this means not going outside your flat or accommodation

  • Keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) from other people in your campus accommodation to limit the spread of infection
  • Ask friends and family and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines – but avoid contact with them
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Drink plenty of water and take everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol to help with your symptoms
  • Kitchen - If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while others are present. Take your meals back to your room to eat. Wash utensils, cutlery and crockery using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly, remembering to use a separate tea towel
  • Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths should be placed into a rubbish bag, place this bag into another rubbish bag and tie securely. Keep separate from other waste. This rubbish should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin
  • Bathroom - If you can, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure you use separate towels from other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes. If you do share a toilet and bathroom, it is important that you clean them after you have used them every time (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with, maximizing ventilation by keeping windows and doors open)
  • Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, making sure you thoroughly clean the bath, sink and toilet yourself
  • Washing clothes - To minimise the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry. Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load
  • If you do not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after your 10-day (for individual isolation) or 14-day isolation period (for shared accommodation) has ended when you can then take the laundry to the launderette
  • You do not need to call NHS 119 to go into self-isolation
  • Remember to email covid19@essex.ac.uk if you are self-isolating in campus accommodation so we can support you
  • If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 10 days, contact NHS. If you have no internet access, call 119. For a medical emergency, dial 999
  • Do not have visitors (ask people to leave deliveries outside)
  • Do not leave your campus accommodation, for example to go for a walk, to shops or public places
  • For URGENT ADVICE call the NHS 111 service if:
    You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
    Your condition gets worse.
    Your symptoms do not get better after 10 days

For more help and advice visit:


NHS Test and Trace

What is it?

In England, you’ll be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if you have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive.

You'll be asked where you've been recently and who you've been in *close contact with.

This will help the NHS contact anyone who may have caught the virus from you.

What you'll be asked to do if you’ve tested positive

You'll be asked to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website at https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk

On the contact tracing website, you'll be asked for information including:

  • your name, date of birth and postcode
  • if you live with other people
  • any places you've been recently, such as a workplace or University
  • names and contact details of any people you were in *close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started (if you know these details)
  • If you cannot use the contact tracing website, you'll be asked for this information over the phone

*Close contact is defined as –

  • people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • sexual partners
  • a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
  • being coughed on
  • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
  • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
  • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

What you'll be asked to do if you’ve been in contact with a person who has coronavirus.

What you'll be asked to do if you’ve been in contact with a person who has coronavirus

  • self-isolate for 14 days from the day you were last in contact with the person – as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear
  • do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for essential care
  • try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible
  • people you live with do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms
  • people in your support bubble do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms

The NHS test and trace service will identify any close contacts who will then be advised to self-isolate and given specific advice. The NHS service will not divulge the name of the positive person. If you are told to self-isolate due to a contact with a person who has tested positive, your fellow students in your accommodation do not need to self-isolate unless you go on to develop symptoms. You only need to contact NHS 119 if you develop symptoms yourself.

University of Essex Voluntary Rapid Antibody Testing

What if your finger prick test is positive?

If you are advised by the Nurse that your test is positive for the early antibody you must self-isolate and arrange an NHS Swab test by calling 119 or book a test.

University of Essex Temperature Screening

If you are found to have a high temperature you must self-isolate and arrange an NHS Swab test by calling 119 or book a test

Protecting yourself and others

The health and wellbeing of our students is our priority, and this has been one of the focuses to ensure students can start on campus – safely – in October.

This means we are constantly monitoring advice from the UK Government, Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the World Health Organisation.

To protect our community on campus once the academic year starts again in October, we will be looking to introduce the following measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sterilising regimes;
  • Social distancing in line with Public Health England guidance;
  • Zoning of campus and one way systems to help to manage numbers in high traffic areas;

We are reviewing information and advice daily and a COVID-19 working group is meeting on a daily basis, so as it gets closer to October we will provide you with more information.

We know some people are very keen to visit the parkland at our Colchester Campus. There are students still living on our Colchester Campus so if you do travel to our campus, please observe social distancing and do not walk down to the squares as we are trying to maintain the highest levels of hygiene to support the wellbeing of our on-campus residents.

The University’s Business Continuity plan sets out four different levels of protection – Advanced (the most stringent), Enhanced, Sustained and Targeted. The University is currently in the Sustained Protection phase. Each phase recognises that the University’s campuses will need to remain open at all times to support students residing in University accommodation. We’ve set out what each phase means in our University Business Continuity Plan (.pdf) and our Table of Actions (.pdf), they set out the steps needed to be taken to bring our University community back onto our campuses. 

Read the latest advice from the UK Government and the NHS:

Limiting the transmission of COVID-19

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.

At this stage of our recovery strategy:

  • You can spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • Children in early years (age 0-5), reception, year 1 and year 6 can return to childcare or school in line with the arrangements made by their school
  • You can be tested as part of the test and trace programme
  • Form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children - in other words, you are in a household where there is only one adult
  • Attend a place of worship for individual prayer
  • You will be able to visit more shops and additional outdoor attractions - drive-in cinemas and animal attractions like zoos, farms and safari parks
  • Year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges will begin to receive some face to face support.
  • You will have to wear a face covering on public transport

Please read the full government guidance.

General travel guidance

If you are currently abroad

If you’re a UK national who needs emergency help from the UK government, you should contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. You can also call the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on 0207 008 1500 for help or advice 24/7.  

There is also advice available if you need financial help or support when abroad.

We appreciate this is a worrying time, and the situation is changing regularly. Please continue to check these pages regularly and email covid19@essex.ac.uk if you have any questions.

Where to get support

We are still here to help you. We’ve moved our support services online and our teams are still working for you so please make contact.

Student support

Our Student Services Hubs for Colchester, Southend and Loughton are operating phone, email and live chat facilities and can provide information on our range of mental health and emotional support services.

Residence Life

Over the year, your Residence Life team will continue to offer remote support to students as well as carry out specific duties during defined hours in the evening. The team are also organising a programme of virtual events from welcome and beyond. Details of events are available on the University Events or their Facebook page

Library Services

You can still get lots of support and advice from our library team whether you are normally based at our Colchester, Loughton or Colchester campuses. 

There are plenty of online resources available via our library website and the library team is available by phone, LiveChat and email. You can even arrange an online meeting via Skype or Zoom. 

Hardship Fund

The Hardship Fund has now closed for the academic year 2019-20.

If you are currently still studying on a postgraduate course or a long course over the summer or are undertaking reassessment and are in significant financial difficulty, please follow the instructions on our Hardship Fund webpage to get further advice and guidance.

The Hardship Fund for academic year 2020-21 opens in September 2020. Please refer to the Hardship Fund webpage nearer the time for further information, including eligibility and how to apply.

Student Development Team

Student Development are delivering a range of virtual Careers, Academic Skills and Placement advice and support. This term we are offering interactive webinars and virtual drop-ins and appointments bookable via CareerHub.

Supporting your mental health and wellbeing

We know this is a stressful time for many within our community and we’re continuing to provide support for your health and wellbeing. We’re here for you if you are facing challenges during this extended period of having to stay at home. From counselling to self-care advice, find out what help and support we can give you.

Students' Union Advice Service

Book a Zoom appointments via email using the following details:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatment

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus can ask for a free test to check if they have the virus. You can ask for a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

If you have been tested for COVID-19 and are a confirmed case please email our Student Wellbeing team at covid-19@essex.ac.uk

Overseas visitors to England, including Tier 4 international students, please be reassured that the NHS has confirmed you will not be charged for seeking treatment for COVID-19:

  • testing for COVID-19 (even if the test shows you do not have COVID-19)
  • treatment for COVID-19 – if you start treatment and a test then shows you do not have COVID-19, you may be charged for any treatment you have after getting the test result

For more information, please see the NHS website.

How NHS test and trace works

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, you should take a look at this overview of the NHS test and trace service. You should also make sure you know how to avoid being the victim of any possible scams as a result of the implementation of this system (.pdf)

Your course and learning

When the new academic year starts in October, we’ll be using a dual-delivery approach for all of our courses. This approach allows us to blend face-to face learning, tutorials and group work with a range of virtual lectures and other online activities, while taking into account the latest Government guidelines.

You’ll be updated about arrangements for your course through regular emails from our Academic Registrar and direct communications from your department. If you have any questions please contact your department.

Information for Postgraduate Research students and Research staff

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