Self-isolating in College: FAQs

If you need to self-isolate because you or someone in your household suspects they have COVID-19, don’t worry.

Lots of people are going to be self-isolating at some point this term and by doing so you’re helping to protect everyone in Somerville and the wider Oxford community. We’re prepared for this and we are ready to support you.

The first thing you must do is let Andrew Parker ( know that you’ve decided to self-isolate. Then, read the information below to find out what to do next:


  • Read this first: how do I self-isolate in college?

    Please stay inside your room as much as possible. Don’t receive any visitors in your room, even if they're from your household. Unfortunately, this extends to going outside for excercise or fresh air as the college site is too small for this to occur safely. You should only leave your room if you absolutely need to, such as to visit the bathroom/toilet (wear a face covering in the corridor, stairs etc.) or if there’s a fire alarm.

    While you are self-isolating, we will deliver three meals a day directly to your door at a subsidised rate. Your meals will arrive in sanitised packaging which you will be able to dispose of in your bins as per usual. If your bins need to be emptied, simply leave them outside your room.

    We will also deliver your post, although we regret that we cannot safely deliver packages. If you need any other supplies or luxuries, you can arrange contactless deliveries with your friends, your peer supporter or the JCR/MCR. Ask people bringing you items to knock and leave them outside your room rather than coming in – but please do not ask anyone to do your washing-up or laundry for you, as your crockery and clothes could be contaminated.

    To prevent the risk of the virus spreading within your household, try to keep socialising to an absolute minimum and practise social distancing when interacting with others, e.g. wear a face covering when answering your door and avoid face-to-face conversation at less than 2 metres. You should also avoid using the communal kitchen if you have one (you can use the sink in your room for bottled water and we will provide all other essentials). When using a shared bathroom, keep your own toiletries and towel separately in your room and clean the toilet and any surfaces you’ve touched with warm water/detergent.

  • How will you make sure I'm alright?

    It’s really important to us to know that you’re OK while self-isolating. We will get in touch each day to see how you’re doing. We also recommend that you set up a regular check-in with a trusted friend or family member.

    As well as events run by your common room, we will be running online events throughout term to help you stay entertained and connected to the college community. The library also has a stock of fiction and DVDs, which you might wish to make use of during your period of self-isolation via the click and deliver service.

    If you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed with anything, do please contact our Welfare Team ( You might also find it useful to have a chat with our Peer Supporters ( And, of course, if you feel the need for more formal help, please ask the Welfare Team to refer you to the College counsellor or the University Counselling Service.

    Finally, if you have any medical concerns – Covid-related or not – you can arrange a phone appointment with our nurse by calling 01865 270865 or emailing If you need urgent help, you should contact 111 or 999.

  • What should I do if I develop symptoms?

    The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. If you experience any or all of these, arrange for a test without delay, either through the University’s Early Alert Service or through the NHS. You should also email our Single Point of Contact Andrew Parker ( and our Covid helpdesk,, to let us know that you have booked a test so that we can continue to make sure you are alright. If you do test positive for Covid-19, you will need to comply with all current guidance with regards to self-isolating.

  • What if I realise I haven’t got something that I need?

    You should speak to the JCR or MCR rep in the first instance, or contact the Welfare Office and Junior Deans. We also think it's a great idea to have some luxuries and spare supplies stashed in your room as a Covid contingency kit in case you do need to self-isolate.

  • What arrangements are in place for meals while I am self-isolating?

    We will provide three meals a day cooked by an external kitchen for you while you are quarantined, delivered to your door. We will also provide bottled water with your food. Please don't use communal kitchens, as this increases the risk of the virus spreading within your household.

  • Will I still be able to see the college nurse?

    Yes - our nurse, Glenys, will be able to give you a phone appointment. You can contact her on 01865 270865 during her office hours (10-3, Mon-Fri) or

  • How I can do laundry?

    Unfortunately, you won't be able to do laundry while self-isolating and you should not ask a friend to wash clothes for you.

  • Can I get takeaway food delivered?

    Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to have takeaway food delivered via the Lodge to Somerville this term, even if someone else collects it for you.

  • Can I get books from the College library while I’m quarantining?

    If you’d like reading material from the college library during your period of quarantine, please see these instructions on to find out how to use our ordering service. You won’t be able to collect your item(s) in person, so someone will deliver them to your doorstep. The service operates during weekdays only and it may take 24-48 hours for your book to arrive. Please ensure you wash your hands or sanitise before and after touching the book.

For the latest government advice see

General Notes 

If you are in private accommodation, the support may be different, but you can still contact us, and welfare support may be available.

While you are isolating, your tutor, course convenor or supervisor will be able to facilitate the continuation of your teaching or research remotely, where practicable, if you feel fit enough to do so.