Accommodation and essential goods

Student in university accommodation holding a mug of tea or coffee

If you need to self-isolate, we're ready to support you with food parcels*. We'll also make sure you can access information and support from our University community.

The following information applies to students isolating in ARU owned/managed accommodation only (Anastasia, Peter Taylor, Swinhoe, Collier Road Houses, University Houses and Chelmsford Student Village). If you live in other halls of residence, please check arrangements with staff at your halls.

If you're asked to self-isolate, you'll need to remain in your accommodation for ten days. You should remain in your room, unless using shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, and stay two metres away from others wherever possible.

Food and drink

We'll support you by providing daily food parcels* during the week and a weekend box delivered on a Friday. These will be free of charge and delivered to your door.

The food boxes will include items for breakfast and lunch, along with a re-heatable meal for dinner. They'll also contain fruit, snacks and drinks (including provisions for tea and coffee). We'll be able to cater for allergies and specific dietary requirements: please contact our Residential Services Team to let us know the details.

If you choose to buy food online or from a takeaway, we'll help to arrange for it to be delivered safely. In Peter Taylor House and Swinhoe House, contact Security who can arrange access for deliveries.

Using the kitchen

If you share a kitchen and you're experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, we'll arrange specific times when you can use it safely. These times will be confirmed by email to everyone living in your household. Please use a different tea towel and sponge for each person.

Medicines and essential goods

Wherever possible, medicines and other essential goods such as sanitary products and contraceptives should be bought online. Don’t go to collect your parcel yourself. You’ll receive an email from the Post Room when it arrives; forward this email on to the Residential Service in Cambridge ( or Chelmsford (, and we’ll arrange for it to be delivered to your door.


It’s best not to leave your room when isolating if possible, but we will inform you of designated times when those who are isolating can use the on-site laundries. The laundries will then be cleaned afterwards so that other students can use them safely. Everyone must wear a face covering and follow hand hygiene and social distancing rules when using the laundries.

Cleaning and maintenance

Cleaning of common areas, such as corridors, kitchens and shared bathrooms, will continue. We ask you to respect our cleaners and give them space to work safely.

We'll continue to carry out planned and emergency maintenance work. If you need to make a maintenance or repair request, please call the Facilities Helpdesk on 01245 686464 (8.30am-5.30pm, weekdays). For emergency requests outside of these times, contact your Residential Assistant or ARU Security.

We ask you to respect any tradespeople working in your accommodation and give them space to work safely. We'll let you know about any specific health and safety requirements.

Cleaning your room

In your own room, we recommend that you clean the surfaces you touch with a household cleaner or detergent.

General waste from your room can be added to the kitchen bin to minimise the number of trips to the external bins. If your kitchen bin becomes full, anyone in your 'household' who is not required to self-isolate should ideally be the one who empties it. When taking rubbish out to the external bins please wear a face covering and observe social distancing. If it's possible, head out at quieter times.


Designated smoking shelters remain open and you're able to use them, but please maintain social distancing and wear a face covering to and from the smoking area.

In an emergency

If the fire alarm sounds or you discover a fire, you must evacuate the building, even if you’re isolating. If possible, wear a face covering, and calmly leave the building. Once outside, please keep your face covering on and stand at least two metres away from anyone else.

Keeping in touch

If you're asked to self-isolate, our staff will be in touch to offer information and support.

We'll invite you to join a dedicated ARU Facebook group which offers support to those self-isolating and we'll check in on you regularly.

Find out more about how we support your health and wellbeing.

We know that COVID-19 has affected everyone in different ways, so if you have any worries or concerns, our Counselling and Wellbeing Service is here to help.

*We'll deliver food parcels to: Chelmsford Student Village, Anastasia House, CB1, Collier Road houses, Peter Taylor House, Sedley Court, Swinhoe House, The Railyard, the YMCA, and leased houses in Cambridge (specific properties on Abbey Road, Catherine Street, Coleridge Road, Elizabeth Way, Fanshawe Road, Golding Road, Great Eastern Street, Guest Road, Gwydir Street, Hertford Street, Mill Road, Radegund Road, Tenison Road, Thoday Street).