An LSE student’s guide to quarantine

Photo: Home delivery in self isolation
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Richard Hoare – geograph.org.uk/p/6430348

Though this year’s first weeks at LSE will definitely  look different, it isn’t the case that social isolation has to be completely miserable. We at The Beaver have compiled a guide on how to make the most of your quarantine during your first 14 days in London if you’ve come from a country where travel restrictions apply. 

As travel restrictions are subject to change, ensure you understand whether you need to quarantine before your trip

  1. Transportation:

You’re allowed to use either public transportation or taxis to reach your quarantine destination from the airport. It is now mandatory to wear face coverings on public transportation and taxis

If you are using public transportation, easy options for paying include using a contactless card, ordering a Visitor Oyster card before your arrival, or buying an Oyster card if you are using the Tube or Tfl Rail (except West Drayton to Reading). A Visitor Oyster card costs £5, plus postage. If you do end up taking the Tube from the airport, getting an Oyster card for £5 once in London seems to be the best option. 

You can check if your Tube route has stair-free access beforehand to plan your journey. 

  1. Checking into your hall:

Familiarise yourself with your hall’s check-in process beforehand, especially as you may need to book a check-in slot. Research information on how check-in to LSE halls as well as other LSE associated halls. 

See what’s provided in each hall to plan which items you’re going to have to pre-order or pack for your arrival.  

  1. Food:

You’ve reached your destination, but now you’re wondering how you’re going to feed yourself for the next two weeks. Rest assured you do not have to rely on a stash of pot noodles you’ve packed in your luggage. If you have flatmates who are not isolating, you could kindly ask if they’d be willing to help you buy food. Keep in mind that you generally form a household with those you share a kitchen and bathroom with or those in your flat. As such, you would be allowed to use those facilities when isolating, provided you follow any cleaning up requirements. 

You can order meals online (from the likes of Uber Eats, Deliveroo, amongst many others), and check whether your hall reception can bring those up to your door. If you don’t have a UK bank card yet, ensure your card is authorized for international transactions. 

You can also order groceries online, and these can similarly be brought up to your door. Just make sure to do your shopping in advance as high demand for home deliveries may mean waiting a few days or more for a delivery slot. 

Here are some popular options:

Amazon Fresh has free same-day delivery for Prime members with a minimum grocery spend of £40. If your order is below that, the delivery fee is £3.99. You can sign up for a 6 months free student trial for Prime, after which the student subscription fee is £3.99 a month. 

Waitrose’s home delivery has a minimum spending requirement of £40, with free delivery. If you do your grocery shopping in bulk and don’t intend to get a delivery pass, this seems to be the cheapest option. 

Sainsbury’s home delivery has a minimum spend of £25, though orders under £40 are charged a relatively steep fee of £7. Orders from £40 to £100 have a delivery fee range from 50p to £7, with orders over £100 delivered for free on weekdays after 2pm. Delivery passes offer free delivery for orders over £40 anytime or from Tuesday to Thursday Prices range from £10 to £60 depending on whether your pass is an Anytime or Midweek one, and whether it is a 3, 6, or 12 month pass. 

Whilst Tesco does not have a minimum spend, it adds £4 to orders below £40. The delivery fee is £4.50 or £5.50 if your order comes from a ‘customer fulfilment centre.’

You can also sign up for the Delivery Saver subscription service, which costs £7.99 a month, and offers free home delivery for orders above £40 and adds a £4 charge for orders below £40.  Please note the number of new subscriptions is limited.

Morrisons has a minimum spend of £40, with a delivery fee reportedly varying. Delivery passes offer free delivery for orders over £40, and you can choose for an Anytime or Midweek (Tuesday-Thursday) pass. You can also choose between monthly, 6 month, and annual passes. Prices range from £5 to £65 pounds.

Asda charges £3 for orders under 40, with delivery fees varying. On testing, the most expensive delivery fee charged was £6.5 and the cheapest only £1. Currently, delivery passes are not available.

  1. Keeping busy and social!

Attend LSE’s famous public lectures that are currently taking place online, as well any virtual Welcome events hosted by your Department .

LSESU is also hosting a range of social activities and events you can attend from the comfort of your bed. Check out the Facebook pages of all the societies you’re interested in to keep updated about their virtual events and give-it-a-go sessions. If living in halls, join your hall’s official Facebook group to meet others through virtual social events.

You can keep active and exercise in your own room- pre-order an exercise mat and attend one of LSESU’s Active Lifestyle classes for free via Zoom. 

If you feel the urge to explore London-or really, anywhere in the world-, check whether your intended tourist attraction offers virtual tours. Some operas and theatre companies have also released productions online. 

  1. Take care of your wellbeing

Moving abroad to start university can be a challenging process. Doing so during a pandemic whilst being required to quarantine doesn’t make this any easier, so it’s important to check-in with yourself and make sure you’re doing okay. 

Especially during isolation, making sure you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and keeping in contact with your friends and family can go a long way to maintaining a sense of normalcy. Don’t feel too pressured to join too many virtual events if you’re feeling Zoom burnout, and take some time out for yourself. 

LSE has teamed up with Mind, the mental health charity, to deliver workshops about how to manage wellbeing and mental health throughout university. Sessions are open to all undergraduates and held online. LSE also is offering online appointments with the Student Counselling Service which can extend for up to six sessions. 

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