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Self-isolation in residences

Whether you are coming to live on campus for the first time or if you are a returning student, you may be concerned about how COVID-19 will impact your life in halls. The University has your health and safety as a top priority and this webpage will give you more information about self-isolation in residential halls.

If you are living in off campus accommodation managed by a private provider then you will need to follow the guidance issued by them.

Don't forget to check out the up to date guidance from the University on the Stay Safe at Warwick site.

When do I need to self-isolate?

There are several reasons why you may need to self-isolate on campus:

  • You have arrived in the UK from a country which is not on the UK travel "red list" and you are not fully vaccinated
  • You are feeling unwell and are taking a COVID-19 test
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Someone in your household group is unwell and is waiting for test results or who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not yet fully vaccinated with a UK Government approved vaccine or you are over 18 years and 6 months
  • You have been contact traced after being in close proximity with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not yet fully vaccinated with a UK Government approved vaccine

It is important that you follow Government guidance if you are feeling unwell. You need to begin self-isolation and let your household group know. The people who are not fully vaccinated in your household group or who are over 18 years and 6 months will need to begin self-isolation with you if you:

  • are feeling unwell and have symptoms of COVID-19
  • have taken a test for COVID-19 and are waiting for your test results
  • have received a positive test result for COVID-19

If you have taken a test elsewhere - not using the University's Test and Trace service - then it is still important that you follow the rules for self-isolation and log your test results on the University's website.

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Why is self-isolating important?

You may have arrived in the UK from a a country which is not on the UK travel "red list" and you are not fully vaccinated with a UK Government approved vaccine, be feeling unwell or have been advised to self-isolate because you have been in contact with someone who is unwell and being tested. It is important you self-isolate as it can take several days for you to develop coronavirus symptoms after catching the virus. During this time period you may not have any symptoms and can unknowingly pass COVID-19 on to others.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, have taken a test or have had a positive test result then it is important that you socially distance from your household group and self-isolate.

Self-isolation will help prevent your household/kitchen group, friends, family and the wider University community from contracting COVID-19.

If you are in a household group which is in self-isolation then you will not be permitted to have visitors or guests back to your room or flat.

You do not need to self-isolate if you have been fully vaccinated with a UK Government approved vaccine or you are under 18 years and 6 months. You will still need to take care when interacting with others outside of your household. Try to maintain social distancing from others and it is strongly recommended that you wear a face covering.

By observing these rules it will help you to recover, reduce the possibility of transmission and help your household group with their self-isolation.

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How long do I need to self-isolate for?

If you:

  • have arrived in the UK from a country outside of the UK travel "red list" and are not fully vaccinated
  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • are living with someone in your household group who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you have not been vaccinated with a UK Government approved vaccine
  • have been contact traced and asked to self-isolate

Then you self-isolate for 10 days.

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What do I need to do when self-isolating?

Primarily you need to:

  • stay in your study bedroom
  • minimise contact with others in your kitchen group
  • maintain a 1.5 metre social distance from others
  • do not have any guests or visitors
  • wear a face covering if you need to use a communal area - such as a kitchen or bathroom

By keeping physical interaction to a minimum and only leaving your study bedroom to use the kitchen to prepare meals and wash up, you help to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Continue to:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap
  • Catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and dispose of them promptly
  • Flush toilets twice with the seat lid down
  • Keep your study bedroom ventilated by opening a window when you are in your room

Whilst you are self-isolating in residences, it is important that you:

  • Remain in your study bedroom as much as possible with the door closed
  • Don't invite any visitors to your residences including friends and family (except for students with disabilities who have University approved carers coming in to provide essential care)
  • Don't leave your residences to go to your academic department or any other public places
  • Don't use public transport or taxis
  • Don't go outside to exercise. You can do this in your study bedroom

If you share a kitchen with others:

  • Don't use the kitchen for cooking and eating at the same time as other people
  • Work out a kitchen rota so you are able to socially distance within your kitchen group
  • Wear a face covering whilst using this communal space
  • Clean kitchen surfaces before and after use
  • Don’t share crockery, glasses and cutlery and keep your equipment away from others
  • Wash up immediately after eating and use your own tea towel for drying everything
  • Follow the local guidelines about the use of kitchens

It is vital that you limit the time you that spend in socially distant contact with others from your kitchen group whilst you are in self-isolation. You must remember that the kitchen is primarily a space for people to cook and eat. Whilst your kitchen group is in self-isolation the kitchen rota system comes first. It may be tempting for the whole kitchen group to gather together in the kitchen space however, it is important that you observe social distancing guidelines in order to help contain any further spread of COVID-19. Small socially distant groups of a few individuals talking is acceptable as long as you allow space for those who need to cook according to the kitchen rota. You must still observe the rules with regard to noise and ensure that you do not disturb others - particularly between midnight and 8.00am.


Whilst you are in self-isolation you will be responsible for cleaning the kitchen. This should form part of your kitchen rota. If you're in a hall with communal bathrooms, please make sure you vacate the bathroom which will be continue to be cleaned daily (Monday - Friday) whilst the household is in self-isolation. You will be provided with the daily times in advance.


The University has clear Government guidance around the handling of rubbish and waste during COVID-19. It is your responsibility to ensure that you follow these guidelines to help protect yourself, your fellow flat mates as well as the University teams who are supporting you in residences.

If you are in self-isolation and are not able to leave your flat then:

  • you should use the bin provided for you which will be delivered to your flat door.
  • the additional bin that has been delivered will be changed daily Monday - Friday during the period the kitchen group is in self-isolation.
  • all personal waste - such as tissues, disposable face coverings, etc - should be held in your room for 72 hours before disposing in the bin provided.
  • all kitchen waste can be tied-up in the bags provided and disposed of on a daily basis in the bin provided.

It is vital that you separate out personal waste and hold on this for 72 hours before disposal.

Using the laundry facilities:

Whilst you are in self-isolation you may not use the shared laundry facilities. The University has introduced a laundry service to support you whilst you are not able to leave your room. Once you have completed your self-isolation period then you need to wait for 72 hours before using the shared laundry facilities. Please take care and do not shake out your clothing when using the laundrette for the first time after self-isolation. You can do this in your room prior to visiting the laundrette to do your washing.

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What is a household group in residences?

In most cases in residences your household group will be your kitchen group however, there are some halls where two or more kitchen groups are combined or a whole floor is treated as a household group. These groupings have been formed based on the advice of Local Authority Public Health and they take in to consideration shared facilities and access routes to stairwells and entrances.

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What are the notices on the kitchen door?

If you are feeling unwell then you need to let your kitchen group know so that you can all begin self-isolation as advised by the UK Government. It is your responsibility to keep those around safe whilst you are feeling unwell. If you have used the University's Test and Trace service then the following notices will appear. Please be advised that this notification system will not operate if a student has tested outside of the University's Test and Trace service.

First notice:

If someone in your kitchen group books a test using the University's Test and Trace system then a first stage notice will appear on your kitchen door. This alerts the people who live and work in the building - such as Residential Life, Campus Cleaning Services, Maintenance, Community Safety, etc - that access to the flat should be for communal bathroom cleaning (if relevant), student support or in emergencies only. It is a reminder that the kitchen should only be used by the kitchen group and will help with self-isolation.

You and your kitchen group will be given access to the University's delivery service to support you (see Further advice and guidance below). This means that students can more easily access groceries, parcels and laundry services on campus whilst in self-isolation. It is recommended that you keep some long life groceries available just in case you need to self-isolate along with your kitchen group.

Second notice:

If you go for a test using the University's Test and Trace system they will advise you to remain in self-isolation with your kitchen group until the test results are known. Hopefully, the time period between taking the test and the final test result isn't too long. A second notice will appear on your kitchen door alerting the kitchen group of the provisional self-isolation dates - this will be approximately 10 days from the date of the test. This notice will also signpost to these pages for support. You will be notified of the actual self-isolation end date once the test results are known.

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What are the key self-isolation dates?

Hopefully the time that your kitchen group spends in self-isolation waiting for a test result is short. This is dependent on the time needed by local lab to process the test results. Depending on the result - the kitchen group will either:

  • come out of self-isolation (negative test)
  • continue in self-isolation for a further short time period (test outcome inconclusive and test needs to be taken again)
  • continue in self-isolation with notification of a formal end date (positive test)

If the test result is positive then there are two key self-isolation end dates:

  • the student who was tested - 10 days from the date of first becoming unwell or from the date of the test if the student is asymptomatic
  • the kitchen group - 10 days from the date that the student who was tested became unwell or from the date of the test if the student was asymptomatic

Students who:

  • have been fully vaccinated with a UK Government approved vaccine
  • are under 18 years and 6 months of age

do not need to join the household group in self-isolation. However they do need to:

  • maintain at least a 1.5 metre social distance from the students who are affected
  • follow the rules which state that there should be no visitors or guests to their study bedrooms or household whilst it is in self-isolation
  • consider wearing a face covering when in shared spaces in the household or when out in public spaces

Due to the nature of the kitchen groups in residential halls, it is strongly advised that the household group maintain social distancing and observe a kitchen rota. This limits the possibility that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted to others in the wider University community.

Household set-ups in residential halls are not like your household at home. The groups are larger and do not have access to rooms other than a:

  • student study bedroom
  • shared kitchen
  • shared bathroom (in halls with communal bathrooms)

The University has taken advice from local Public Health to ensure that the residential environments are as COVID-19 safe as possible.

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Notifying your academic department

It is important that you get in touch with your academic department and personal tutor/supervisor if you are required to self-isolate after the start of term to make them aware that you are in self-isolation.

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What if I have to leave my study bedroom?

There are very, very few reasons that require you to leave your room. You should wear a face covering and it is advisable that you have one to hand at all times in case it is needed in an emergency. When moving through the residential building we ask that you do not loiter to talk in corridors or stairwells. The following are valid reasons for leaving your study bedroom:

  • In an emergency. If you hear the fire alarm sounding, you should still leave the building in a swift and safe manner. You should wear a face covering and make your way to the fire assembly point. Remember to socially distance yourself from others and tell a member of the Community Safety Team you are self-isolating
  • To receive a delivery for food or essential supplies from the block entrance only
  • To collect and subsequently drop-off a COVID-19 testing kit if you have pre-ordered tests before arrival to the UK
  • To take a COVID-19 test via the University's Test and Trace service
  • To seek medical treatment

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What if I want to smoke?

The University promotes a healthy lifestyle and smoking or vaping is prohibited within the residential buildings including your study bedroom. The University does not advise you to leave your residential building to smoke whilst you are self-isolating. However, if you must smoke or vape then:

  • you need to wear a face covering whilst travelling through and leaving the building
  • you should not travel far from your building and remain in the direct vicinity of your building
  • remain 2 metres away from others
  • smoke/vape 3 metres away from any building and ensure that any smoke you generate does not enter a building through open windows and doors or create a nuisance for others
  • you should not smoke in a group with other people or share your cigarette with others
  • it is also important that you take away any cigarette ends or rubbish generated from smoking and dispose of them safely.

This is not an opportunity to gather. You must return immediately to your flat once you have finished smoking. It is vital that you observe social distancing and wear a face covering when leaving and returning to the building.

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I've been asked to self-isolate and now I feel unwell

It is really important that you continue to self-isolate. The symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • A high temperature (fever)
  • A new continuous cough
  • Loss of your sense of smell or taste

The University has useful advice on what to do if you are feeling unwell and think you may have coronavirus and has introduced a Test and Trace service for students who are on campus.

Every year, we expect a number of students to become unwell with what's known as "Freshers' flu". Some of the symptoms of Freshers' flu are the same as COVID-19 and it is important that you continue to self-isolate and take precautions and follow the online advice outlined above until it can be established that it isn't COVID-19.

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What if I don't have symptoms?

It's important that you continue to self-isolate and remain in your residential hall. Even though you may feel OK you can still spread COVID-19 through the community. It is important that you self-isolate in your study bedroom for the full 10 days.

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Can I go home?

Once you have arrived at University and settled in to your new residential "household" then you need to follow the current UK Government and local area guidance should you wish to go home. Your home is now an "other household" and there will be guidance about whether you can mix with other households. Your kitchen group is now your new household group.

It is not recommended that while you are self-isolating that you should travel between your family/other home. This is in line with the advice to remain in your kitchen group until your self-isolation period is complete.

It is not advised that you travel if you are in self-isolation.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 then it is currently illegal for you to travel.

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What if I am at home?

You may be at home when your kitchen group goes in to self-isolation. If this happens you should remain at home until the kitchen group self-isolation period is completed.

You may have gone home for a visit - if allowed (you need to check the guidance and alerts for COVID-19 for the area where you are travelling to) - and then become unwell. If this happens then you need to remain at home and seek medical advice. This may include a COVID-19 test. You must remain at home until the test results are known. If you have a positive test then you must remain at home until you complete your self-isolation period and you are feeling well. It is advisable to register this result on the University's Test and Trace pages. You should only return to your residences if your test result is negative.

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What do I do about food and other essential deliveries?

There are a wide variety of options available for you to:

  • Order prepared meals/takeaway
  • Order food and other essential items online

It is important that these items are delivered to your building for you to be able to receive them in a socially distant manner whilst you are in self-isolation. It helps with deliveries if you:

  • Provide a mobile phone number to contact
  • Know the name and location of your residential building (please refer to the Campus maps page)
  • Give your postcode as CV4 7ES

You need to give clear instructions on how the delivery driver will find the front door to your residence. Don't forget that if you need to go to the front door to collect a delivery you should wear a face covering.

Prepared meals/takeaway:

There is a huge range of possibilities for you to cook prepared meals/takeaways for delivery and there are various apps which you can download. You could try:

The University does not have a list of recommended restaurants, fast food outlets or takeaways but we advise you to check the hygiene rating of the provider you choose. Please be aware that not all local restaurants offer a delivery service.


There are a number of supermarkets who will deliver to campus (or the local area if you are in an off-campus house). Here in the UK, supermarkets stock a large variety of supplies - not just food. The following are just some of the supermarkets that operate in the local area:

The University does not recommend a particular supermarket but when you are ordering food online we advise you to consider the following:

  • Home delivery orders normally have a minimum spend per order which will vary between supermarkets
  • Home delivery orders usually have a delivery fee which will be higher at popular times
  • Most supermarkets allow you to book deliveries up to two weeks in advance
  • Home delivery slots can book up quickly
  • Most supermarkets allow you to make changes to your order up to 24 hours before the delivery is due
  • When placing your order you will be asked if you're willing to accept substitute items if the products are not available

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World foods

If you are looking for world foods or if you are an overseas student who would like to find foods that are more familiar from home then one of the best ways to find out what may be available is to get directly in touch with one of the student run cultural societies based at the Students' Union. A number of student societies are offering advice and guidance as well as help with shopping. Feel free to contact any of the following:

Some of these societies have also provided their advice and recommendations about groceries and cooked food on their respective websites.

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Other essential items via post

You can place orders for other essential items for delivery to the University Post Room.

If you cannot order essential items (such as pots, pans and bedding) you may want to consider:

If you want to order pharmacy, health and beauty products that are not available for delivery via supermarkets, you may wish to use:

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Further advice and guidance about food and other essential items

If you have contacted the University's Test and Trace service and you and your kitchen group are in self-isolation then you will be given access to the University's delivery service. This has been set-up to support students in self-isolation: ordering food and essential items and deliveries. If you are not able to open this link and are in self-isolation then please get in touch with your local Residential Life Team.

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Prescriptions and medicines

You can order paracetamol and some other medications online from local supermarkets or online pharmacies. This is known as over the counter medication. Other medications can only be obtained with a prescription issued by a doctor.

How to get a prescription:

To speak to a doctor you need to be registered at a GP's practice. We have a Health Centre on campus where you will need to register if you are a new student.

If a GP decides that you need medication they will issue you with a prescription. Most prescriptions are now signed, sent and processed electronically. You have two choices for how this works:

  • You can choose a local pharmacy for your prescriptions to go to electronically
  • You can decide each time where you would like your prescription to be dispensed. For this to work you need a paper copy which you collect in person

We recommend you set up the online service which means you have the choice of two local pharmacies:

Michael W Phillips Chemists do not offer a delivery service. They do allow friends - who are not part of your self-isolation kitchen group - to collect prescriptions on your behalf. Your friends will need to know your campus address and possibly your date of birth in order to collect the prescription on your behalf.

It is important when ordering from Boots that you use your campus postcode - CV4 7ES. Both pharmacies allow others to collect prescriptions on your behalf.

If you do experience difficulties picking-up your prescriptions and medicines, please let your local member of the Residential Life Team know.

Prescription costs:

As a student at university you will need to pay for your own prescription medication if you are 19 years old or over. From 1 April 2021, you have to pay £9.35 for each item on a prescription. There are exemptions based on your level of income and you can find out more information about this on the NHS BSA website including a link to the HC1 form if you need to complete it. If you are not able to get an exemption because you don't meet the necessary criteria you might like to buy a prepayment certificate which will cover the cost of any prescriptions for three or twelve months whilst the certificate is valid. More information on prepayment certificates is available on the NHS website.

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Laundry service

If you are in your second week of self-isolation and need your washing done the University can provide a limited laundry service. Due to the nature of the service this may not be suitable if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to standard types of washing detergents. This is for items that are needed urgently and not a more general day to day wash service.

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Your wellbeing in self-isolation and student feedback

Your wellbeing in self-isolation is just as important as your physical health.

Wellbeing Support Services (WSS):

WSS provide a range of support and self-help resources to enable you to develop the skills you need to navigate the challenges of student life. They offer a range of skill sessions, tips and strategies as well as advice and support about the impact that self-isolation may have on your wellbeing. You can find more information on the Wellbeing Support Services website.

The University also has a self-isolation support line which is open Monday to Thursday between 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4pm. You can call them on 02476 151 230.

Online activities:

It is important to stay in touch with friends and family online or take this opportunity to make new friends. Self-isolation can also provide time for you to try out new skills and prepare for the academic year ahead. We have put together some suggestions for you.

Student feedback

If you are currently on campus in self-isolation or have been in self-isolation in the last month then the University would like to hear from you about your experience by taking a short online survey. This feedback will help us to understand the support needs for our students going forward.

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