With so much information to take in about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at the moment, it can be hard to know what steps to take if you think that you have contracted the virus whilst living at student accommodation.

Below we’ve outlined what you and your housemates should be doing if you are self-isolating at a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) or private student halls.  

Please note: The Government has published a Coronavirus Action Plan which includes advice on dealing with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) when living in a house of multiple occupancy (HMO). Please also keep up with the latest NHS advice regarding Coronavirus here

The Government has suggested that self-isolation is the best way to slow down the spread of Coronavirus. It is very important that anyone who has the virus, may have been exposed to it, or suspects themselves to have it, to limit the number of people they come into contact with for at least fourteen days. 

Who needs to self-isolate?

• People who are waiting for a Covid-19 test result - If you have recently travelled back from an area where the coronavirus is known to be present and you have some symptoms of the virus, you will be asked to take a Covid-19 test. Whilst you are waiting for the test results, you will be advised to stay at home and self-isolate.

• You show minor signs of the virus - If you have any flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature or persistent cough - it is being asked that you stay at home for at least fourteen days.

What does self-isolating mean?

If you have been told to self-isolate, you will need to remain indoors and avoid contact with other people for a period of time. This will prevent you from spreading the disease to your family, friends and the wider community.

Why staying at home is very important

Staying at home while you have Coronavirus helps to protect your friends, colleagues and the wider community. It will also help to control the spread of the virus. 

How to self-isolate

We understand that it will be difficult to separate yourself from others at home at all times. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face and clean frequently touched surfaces. However, where possible, you should do the following when self-isolating:

• Notify visitors to the property - Anyone visiting your property on your behalf (such as agents, cleaners, tradespeople) should be notified that you are self isolating. In most cases, these people may reschedule visiting the property when you are no longer self-isolating as a precautionary measure. 

• Clean and disinfect - Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

• Regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

• Dealing with dirty laundry  - Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

• Do not have visitors in your home - Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends and family, to enter your home. If you want to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, use the phone or social media.

• Avoid close contact - Keep at least two metres away from other people in your house at all times to reduce the chance of contact. 

• Avoid using shared spaces where possible - The government also suggests that you avoid using shared spaces as much as possible, including kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms. If you need to cook, you should only use the kitchen when no one else is there. It's a good idea to use disinfecting cleaning products to clean the surfaces you've touched once you have finished.

• How do I get food or supplies? - It is fine for friends or family to drop off food for you. Alternatively, you can order by phone or online, such as through take away services or online shopping deliveries. However, make sure you tell the delivery driver that the items are to be left outside, or on the porch, or as appropriate for your home. You should eat your meals in your room. And, the best way to clean your dishes is with a dishwasher but, if you don't have one, you can use washing up liquid and warm water, before drying them with a separate tea towel to the rest of the house.

Making the most out of being self-isolated

• Plan ahead and think about what you will need to be able to stay at home for the full seven days

• Talk to your friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need

• Think about and plan how you can get access to food and other supplies such as medications that you will need during this period

• Make sure that you keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or through social media

• Think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films

• When you are feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your well-being. Look for online classes or courses to help you take light exercise in your home

Ending self-isolation

You should remain at home until seven days after you start your self-isolation period. After seven days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine. 

If you need to seek medical advice

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening. If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening.

If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online.

If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you have Coronavirus.