Self-isolation FAQs


The self-isolation guidance for people with a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) is regularly updated by the UK government and you are advised to review the latest guidance as it applies to you:

GOV.UK: Self-isolation guidance



What if I need to self-isolate as a result of LSE Trace?

This guidance outlines what to do if you've been told you need to self-isolate as part of our School's trace and isolate programme, LSE Trace. It also cover the support available for all LSE students.

If you have been advised to self-isolate through the LSE Trace process, whether through being in contact with an infected person or from reporting a positive test, you will receive an email from LSE Trace which contains information on where to get support while self-isolating. Your department and halls of residence (if applicable) will also be informed and be able to offer to support to you.

To contact the LSE Trace team, please email or call 020 7107 5499, Monday to Friday from 8am-5pm UK time.

What if I need to self-isolate as a result of a non-LSE Trace process?

If you have been advised to self-isolate through a non-LSE Trace process such as the National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace system, you should notify the School as soon as possible via the Report My Symptoms tool or weekly Wellness Check-in. As soon as you notify us, we can send you an email from LSE Trace which contains information on where to get support while self-isolating.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onward chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a test, and remain in isolation until the result is negative.

You may also need to self-isolate if you have arrived from outside of the UK, depending on which country you arrive from or travel through. The most up to date information on UK quarantine rules can be found online.

For official NHS medical advice, contact NHS 111.

If I'm a close contact of someone who tested positive, do I have to isolate?

You should review the guidance online, to understand whether or not you should self-isolate. You should also monitor your own health and are encouraged to take regular rapid lateral flow tests. 

What support will I receive from LSE while I'm self-isolating?

Support for all students

LSE departments and support services are available via email and, in some cases, via phone, Zoom drop-in and live chat. We are here to provide remote advice and guidance with any questions you may have while you are self-isolating.

We also have other student support programmes available where current students can answer your questions or support you with any difficulties you may be facing. The Peer Support Scheme is available to all students, at all levels of study, and are available now if you wish to contact them. You will also be asked by the LSE Trace team if you want to opt in for regular check-ins when you are self-isolating in private accommodation. This is automatic in your halls of residence.

Support for students in halls of residence 

If you're self-isolating in one of our LSE halls of residence, we will provide you with the necessary advice and support to help you through the two-week period. We will also provide you with face coverings and cleaning products will be available for you to use in shared spaces.

If you live in an LSE hall of residence, you can find further information about the support available to you on the LSE Residences webpage.

Support for new off-campus students

If you live off campus, you can opt-in to the Off Campus Support Scheme or regular check-ins from a Peer Supporter, depending on your level of study. 

What wellbeing and mental health support can I access?

You can access a 24/7 out of hours mental health support line sponsored by the School via Spectrum.Life. All calls are answered by clinically trained counsellors or psychotherapists. You can talk to them about anything, including stress, anxiety, low mood, financial worries, loss and grief, relationship problems, and substance abuse issues. 

Contacting Spectrum.Life out of hours support

  • Freephone: 0808 189 01 03 
  • SMS or WhatsApp: 00353 873690010

Please note Spectrum Life will ask for some basic details to ensure you're eligible to use the service. All services provided through Spectrum.Life are done so in total confidence. The identity of individuals and personal details will always be protected.

Tips and resources for staying connected and active during self-isolation

There's a lot of information available to support you whilst in self-isolation whether you are in halls of residence or in private accommodation: 

Who can I speak to about my mental health? What if my pre-existing problem is exacerbated?

If isolation is affecting your wellbeing or exacerbating a pre-existing problem, there is lots of support available at LSE to help.

The Student Wellbeing Service is operating primarily online to support you at home, offering: 

The mental health charity Mind have an excellent resource on coronavirus and your wellbeing, including ideas for managing loneliness and structuring time at home. Students in residences can also access support in halls. 

Can I get a COVID test?

If you are self-isolating you can get a test through LSE on campus or in halls of residence. Book a test through LSE.

You can also book a test with the National Health Service (NHS) at a COVID-19 test centre or order a home test kit. Book a test via the online site or call 119. 

Find out more about getting a COVID-19 test via the NHS

What should I do if I start to feel very unwell?

It's important to seek medical help if your symptoms get worse.

You should call the National Health Service (NHS) on 111 if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • You feel breathless and it's getting worse
  • Your symptoms get worse and you're not sure what to do

You can also contact NHS 111 online. Both the online and phone service are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also call 999 for emergencies.

Read the NHS advice on what to do if your symptoms get worse.

LSE can also help you if you feel you’re struggling to cope with your period of self-isolation.

You can opt-in to be contacted by a fellow student via the Off Campus Support Scheme or by an LSE peer supporter. You can also access the Student Wellbeing webpages, with information about Student Counselling and Disability and Wellbeing

Am I expected to go to online classes if I'm unwell?

If you’re unwell, you shouldn’t be studying. It’s important that you look after your health and follow advice until you feel well. If you’re feeling anxious or your symptoms get worse please call the UK National Health Service (NHS) at 111 for medical advice and support. You can also call 999 for emergencies.   

Your department will get in touch to check-in with you, offer support and let you know how you can engage with teaching and learning while you’re isolating if you do feel well. Your academic mentor can also provide guidance on a range of topics and direct you to further support - find out more on the LSE website

You can participate in one-to-one online sessions and group workshops with LSE LIFE, who also have a wealth of study skills information that you can access at home on their Moodle site.  

How can I get food and medicine?

While you're self-isolating, you should order your food (groceries and/or ordered meals) online and get it delivered to your home. You can find a list of supermarkets at various price points who offer delivery below. When ordering online, say that you would like the order to be left outside your home for you to collect.

If you’re living in LSE halls of residence you should ask for your food to be left at reception area. You should inform your residence that you’re self-isolating and they can help you get your food from the reception to your bedroom door.

If you’re in a catered hall the Residences Team can arrange for your meals to be delivered to your room.



You should order any repeat prescriptions online and get them delivered to your home if possible or picked up on your behalf by someone who is not self-isolating.

Read the National Health Service (NHS) guidance on ordering repeat prescriptions online via an app or website.

You can also use Boots online repeat prescription service with free collection in store or delivery. Please note delivery is only available for patients registered with a GP in England.

What are the penalties of breaking the rules?

It is very important if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive COVID-19 test you stay at home and do not go out. The Student Code outlines the steps you’ll need to take if you feel unwell. You should always follow the guidance in the Student Code to help to keep the LSE community safe and well and keep the LSE campus open and running. If you’re found to be in breach of the Code, it is potentially a disciplinary matter and will be taken seriously by the School.

Government penalties

The UK Government could fine you up to £10,000 if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19 or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate.

Read more about the UK Government penalties for breaking self-isolation.

What if I want to go home to my family?

If you are told to self-isolate it can be very tempting to go home to your family and self-isolate there instead. However, it is very important to stay in your current residence if you are self-isolating, even if you do not have any symptoms of coronavirus. By traveling home, you are at risk of passing on the virus to others and your family at home. Be sure to keep in contact with your family via digital means instead.

Additionally, you should check the alert level for your location as this will also affect if you are able to travel or not.

You should stay in your current residence and not travel home if you are self-isolating.

The National Health Service (NHS) rules on self-isolation state:

  • do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
  • do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

I live in halls of residence and am self-isolating, can I go outside to smoke?

No, you should not leave self-isolation to smoke. The UK government advises all smokers to consider stopping at this time as smoking harms your immune system, which means you are more at risk from not only acquiring acute respiratory infections but also from infections lasting longer and being more serious than for someone who does not smoke.

You are three times more likely to quit successfully with professional support and medication which can all be provided free by telephone and post through the Quitline service. If you are in self-isolation, confined to your home and struggling with nicotine withdrawal, even if you feel unable or unready to stop smoking for good at this time, Quitline can offer support and advice by telephone and, where appropriate, post out supplies of Nicotine Replacement Therapy including patches, gum, lozenges, oral sprays and inhalators to help manage withdrawal symptoms. Call Quitline for support on 0800 00 22 00.