Covid-19 Support Service

The University's Covid-19 Support Service will support all students who need to self-isolate while living in private accommodation in Edinburgh.

Please let the University know if you are self-isolating and have told us you are studying/conducting research on-campus:

Self-isolation contact form

Take a look at this handy guide for more advice on the steps you need to take if you're self-isolating:

What I should do if I need to self-isolate

Accessing the Covid-19 Support Service

The Covid-19 service will provide information, advice, guidance and reassurance as needed to students living in private accommodation when:

1. You are self-isolating on arrival in Edinburgh; or

2. You or a household member / flatmate have Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19, and are required to self-isolate as a result.

3. You have been contacted and asked to self-isolate by NHS test and Protect team (identified close contacts)

Students who are living within any accommodation contracted via the University of Edinburgh, Accommodation, Catering and Events (ACE) will be contacted by the Community Support team to confirm arrangements for you.

University of Edinburgh Accommodation Self-Isolation Support

What the service offers

If you need to self-isolate, due to the above reasons, please follow NHS guidance listed above and also inform the University immediately.

This service is open from Monday 14th September and will operate between 9am – 5pm on weekdays.

If you have a UK mobile number, you can expect a text followed by two telephone calls from the service during your self-isolation period - once at the start of self-isolation, typically within 48 hours (if on a weekday) of you informing us that you are self-isolating and a further check-in call on day 6-7 of your self-isolation, if you request this.

This initial call will check if you need help ordering food, ensure you are registered with a GP or know how to do so, how to access healthcare during this time, provide advice on Covid-19 testing services and signposting to other services. Students who are new to Edinburgh will also receive information on opening a bank account and, if appropriate, information about how your BRP (Biometric residence Permit) will be delivered to your term time address.

If you do not have a UK mobile number, we will email your University email address within 48 hours instead.

After we have been in touch with you, we will inform your School/Programme that you are self-isolating.

Self-isolation on arrival

If you are arriving from a country or area that requires self-isolation, you should inform the University Covid Support Service immediately.

List of exempt countries (Scottish Government)

Not all students who are travelling from a non-exempt country will need to self-isolate, e.g. you may have broken their journey and completed self-isolation elsewhere in the UK prior to travelling to Edinburgh. Please note that this list can change at very short notice. If you are unsure whether you need to self-isolate, please check with us by emailing

Self-isolation due to symptoms of Covid-19

Main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

NHS - Coronavirus symptoms

Self-Help guide to determine if you or anyone in your household should self-isolate (NHS Inform)

In winter months, you may be susceptible to the common cold and flu viruses and these have different symptoms. It is recommended that you take a cautious approach if you are not feeling well and you must immediately stay at home and keep your distance from others.

What to do next

If you suspect that you (or someone who you are living with) has any of the Covid-19 symptoms listed above, or you have been contacted by the Test and Protect team to self-isolate, you must:

  • Stay at home (or travel immediately to your home safely whilst keeping a safe distance from others)
  • Inform the Covid Support Service
  • Inform anyone that you live with (they will also have to self-isolate)
  • Book a Covid-19 test by calling 0800 028 2816 or visiting NHS Website (you will need to book a test if you have been asked by the NHS, even if you do not display any symptoms). If you are not normally domiciled in Scotland, please call 0300 303 2713 (from 7am till 11pm) to arrange a home kit to be sent to your term time address.
  • Stay at home until you have received your test results (which could take up to 72 hours)

If you have a positive test result, you will need to follow NHS advice:

NHS When to Self-Isolate and what to do

If you have a negative test result, it is important to still apply caution and you should still self-isolate if you have travelled from a country that requires you to self-isolate on arrival.

You can return to study/work after a negative test result if:

  • everyone in your household with symptoms also receives a negative result
  • You are well enough and have not had a fever for 48 hours

Information to be aware of when self-isolating

Each person has a responsibility to follow the guidelines when needing to or asked to self-isolate. It is in the interest of the wider community and for your own safety, health and wellbeing too.

The University has put together guidelines for our community in times of pandemic.

Good Citizen Guide

If you have any concerns about your courses or programme, including online attendance and assessment, please contact your Personal Tutor or local Student Support in your School.

Practical guidance

We want to ensure that you have everything that you need to safety and comfortably self-isolate in your home in Edinburgh. You will need the following practical things first in order to get set up:

Place to live

It is important that you have somewhere to live for a continuous 14-day period when self-isolating. You will be asked when you arrive at a UK border to provide this address and the border agency will be in contact with you during this period. You should not be arriving to the UK from a country that requires you to self-isolate on arrival without having a place to live.

Access to the internet/phone

When self-isolating, you will need access to the internet/phone to be able to seek support, order food and keep connected with others and your on-going classes.

If you are arriving to the UK for the first time and need to self-isolate, you will not have an opportunity to go to a phone shop. Therefore it is recommended that you get a temporary UK mobile sim card to put in your existing mobile device in advance of arriving in Edinburgh. You can alternatively buy a phone contract without going to a shop.

Best SIM only deals (Save the Student)

Carphone Warehouse (shop that features all UK mobile networks and phones)

If you are moving into a new home, it can take a few days to set up a new broadband service and therefore you may have to expect to use 4G on your mobile device (if available).

Broadband comparison (Save the Student)

When on-campus, you will have free access to the University’s Wi-Fi service, eduroam.

Get connected to eduroam

Access to your money

If you are arriving to the UK for the first time and need to self-isolate, you will not have an opportunity to set up a bank account in person. It is therefore recommended that you try to set up your bank account in advance of arriving to Edinburgh or set up a temporary digital account so that you have access to money to buy essential items.

Advice on opening a bank account (for students not in the UK)

Ordering food

Ordering groceries and meals online/phone is relatively simple and accessible in Edinburgh and there are loads of options.

In very limited circumstances, you will be permitted to leave your accommodation to get basic necessities like food and medicine, however it is strongly encouraged that you arrange for these to be delivered to you.

Self-Isolating in Private Accommodation

Access to healthcare

If you are arriving to the UK for the first time and need to self-isolate, you will not have an opportunity to register with a GP in person, but many GP Practices have put in alternative ways to register digitally.

If you are already registered, you will need to check their website to understand how to access their services can be accessed whilst self-isolating. Many doctors are offering phone services during the pandemic to avoid people attending the GP Practice.

If you have any medical emergency, call 111 or 999 immediately.

Advice on registering with a GP Practice

Wellbeing support

We want you to stay physically and mentally well whilst self-isolating. It is strongly recommended that you form a routine during this time, including eating regular meals, doing exercise (anything you can do in one area – Yoga/Pilates/HiiT etc.) and accessing your classes and learning materials too. 

If you feel that you are experiencing any concerns with your mental health whilst self-isolating, we would request that you to get back in touch with the University Covid Service immediately and we will signpost you to the right wellbeing support services to help you through this time.

There are many excellent resources available to you to that you can access whenever you wish.

Accessing Support

Emergency care

If you are self-isolating with positive symptoms for Covid-19 and your health starts to deteriorate, you need to call emergency services immediately by phoning 111 and also inform the University Covid Support Service too.


Useful links

Health and Safety information specific to the University