Key information for isolation or quarantine due to Covid-19

For any student or residential Fellow entering a period of self-isolation/quarantine:

Porters Lodge tel: 01223 338671   College Nurse tel: 01223 338664      NHS tel: 111 (24hrs a day)

You most likely need to isolate because of one of the following reasons:

  1. Onset of symptoms suspected to be Covid-19 - cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of taste or smell and/or a fever 
  2. You have received a positive test result (regardless of symptoms, 5 days self-isolation minimum)
  3. You have been alerted by the track and trace service as having been in recent close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19
  4. You have returned to Cambridge and are required to quarantine 

Symptoms that could be coronavirus such as a new cough, high fever or anosmia and a change in taste or smell must be reported to NHS 111 and the College Health & Wellbeing Centre and the Porters via the online form.

The College is aware that you may develop symptoms that may be related, or completely unrelated, to coronavirus (Covid-19). Irrespective of the type of symptoms, you should report any symptoms or change in your health to the Health & Wellbeing Centre via email.

If urgent assistance is required please contact NHS 111, as this is a 24/7 service. If you are very unwell and need to go to Addenbrooke’s, you must not travel by public transport or taxi. If you do not have your own transport (e.g. a car), you should make this clear to NHS 111. In this event, the hospital will liaise with the Ambulance Trust to arrange transport.

Please watch these videos if you have symptoms of Covid-19

How to look after someone with symptoms of Covid-19

Many people who are subject to self-isolation do not necessarily have a confirmed infection. Rather, because of your travel history (or close association to an infected individual), you are at greater risk of having picked up the infection and therefore self-isolation/quarantine is an important precautionary and preventive step.

With this in mind please read and follow the following instructions and information carefully:

  • Please remain inside your room at all times.
  • Please avoid contact with other people, in the same way as you would in the case of flu. You are instructed to do this whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms.
  • You may leave your room to go to a toilet and bathroom (if there are no en-suite facilities). When you leave your room you are asked to wear a fresh paper facemask or cloth face covering and avoid close contact with others – maintaining a minimum of two metres distance. Wash your hands before leaving your room and before leaving the bathroom.
  • Your room and any bathroom facilities provided for your sole use will have a notice on the door stating: “Self-isolation area: do not enter without permission from a College Nurse”. Please do not be worried about this, this is purely precautionary and to prevent other people from entering your room or using these facilities.
  • You are not to visit any shared spaces in the College including the BDR or to leave College to shop.
  • You can order food to be delivered to the College but one of your supporters must collect this.
  • You are permitted to leave your room to exercise in your garden or the College grounds, if to do so does not involve contact with anyone else. However, we ask that this be undertaken before 9am or after 17.00 to reduce footfall within the College
  • You are not to receive in-person visitors to your room or visit a friend’s room but people can talk to you through the closed door.
  • The Head Porter (Deputy Head Porter or one of the Senior Porters) will advise you on what to do in the event of an emergency that requires evacuation (e.g. fire alarm). You should aim to remain at least 5-10 metres distance from all other people during an evacuation and should take steps to avoid direct hand contact with shared door handles outside of the isolation area (for example, by wearing a clean set of disposable gloves).
  • Disabled students, who have a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) in place, should contact the Deputy Head Porter or College Nurse to discuss any additional concerns.
  • Newly arriving students only- Food and drink will be supplied from the Buttery by emailing the catering department directly: Food will be brought to your room and left outside of your door (at agreed times). The food will be served in the takeaway vegware boxes with disposable cutlery that can go into your general rubbish after each meal. Many supermarkets will deliver to a porters lodge, through online ordering (Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose)
  • Returning students are expected to have given the names of two supporters (who do not live in the same staircase/house) therefore please inform your Self-Isolation Supporters of your preferences for food and drink and we will do our best to supply these. If you do not have a kettle in your room, it may be possible for one to be provided.

The expectation is that your named volunteer ‘Self-Isolation Supporters’ will contact you a minimum of twice a day by telephone/Facetime or similar, or at your door. They will also deliver food and other supplies to you.

When entering self-isolation/quarantine, particularly if you are sharing facilities, disposable gloves and additional facemasks can be provided please contact the porters.

Health & Pastoral Support

Please contact your Tutor, Health & Wellbeing Centre staff (including access to Counselling) or the College Chaplain to assist you in connecting with any support needs.

Testing for Covid-19

In partnership with Addenbrookes Hospital, all University and College members, as well as members of your household (anyone with whom you share a bathroom, toilet or kitchen) will be able to obtain a PCR (swab) should they have symptoms of possible SARS-CoV-2 infection (Covid-19). 

The test involves a simple nose and throat swab and should take less than three minutes.

If you develop a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, or other flu-like symptoms such as sore throat or muscle aches, you should inform the Porters who will be able to provide a PCR test. These tests are available Monday to Thursday inclusive. If you obtain a positive test result between Friday and Sunday, when PCR tests are not available from the College, you should obtain a PCR test from the NHS.

Returning the test kit

Once you have completed the test, it is your responsibility to drop your double-bagged sample in the drop-box in the Forecourt car park by 1.30pm on the same day. You must wear a face covering when dropping off your sample. Please note, these drop-boxes are NOT the same as the collection points for pooled screening tests. It may be more convenient for those living in private accommodation to use one of the other drop-boxes sited around Cambridge. Please note, there aren’t any collections over the weekend.

You should receive your test result the following day. The College will also be informed of your test result, and provide all the support that you need. If you do not receive your result, please check with the College Covid Helpdesk in the first instance:

Finally, the University continues to offer testing at the University or Addenbrooke’s Hospital pods for any student or staff member with symptoms of possible Covid-19.

Anyone who has any questions specific to the testing process at St John’s should email: Further information can also be found in A comprehensive Q&A guide to the University's testing programme.

Track and Trace

Please also be aware that if you receive a positive test result you will be expected to provide details of your contacts for the NHS track and trace service. Covid-19 is a notifiable disease therefore Public Health England will be informed (generally by the testing site but may also be through College)

Attending in person at University and/or College provided teaching sessions. This will not be possible for the period of isolation/quarantine. Contact your Director of Studies or Graduate Tutor, Graduate Supervisor and department to discuss these matters as appropriate.

Housekeeping and Waste

You will be responsible for cleaning your own room, bathroom and toilet (supplies will be provided if you do not have any). General rubbish should be double bagged (using the bags provided) and remain in your room until 72 hours after the period of isolation is over.


Please retain until 72 hours after the isolation period has ended and then you may use the laundry facilities in the usual way.

Ending self or house isolation or quarantine

Please inform the College Nurse via email: health& AND the Porters via email: when you believe you have reached the last day of isolation or quarantine, confirmation will then be given the this can cease once details are checked.

If you have ongoing symptoms:

If you have an ongoing fever and have NOT received a negative test result you must await your test result before leaving isolation/quarantine.

Gastric symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting require an additional 48 hours of isolation, after symptoms have ceased, this may require additional days beyond the usual Covid-19 timeframes.   

If you have a continuing cough or loss of smell/taste it is possible that these symptoms can continue for several weeks but if they worsen or are prolonged beyond one month please contact your GP.

Please see the links below for further information:

Self/House Isolating guidance

Government guidance

Quarantine requirements

As this is open to change, please ensure you check the legal requirements that apply to your country of origin and those countries you have travelled through.

Government guidance when arriving into the UK:

How to self isolate when you travel to the UK

If you have any questions, you should telephone or email:

  • Forecourt Porters’ Lodge: 01223 338671

The Porters’ Lodge is staffed 24 hours a day.

  • The College Nurse: 01223 338664


  • Student Services Office: 01223 338656 


Call NHS 111 for advice, 999 for emergency/ambulance.        

NHS East of England Health Protection Team (HPT): 0300 303 8537