Teaching at the University of Manchester was disrupted as the ‘the Beast from the East’ and ‘Storm Emma’ battered Manchester as it swept across the UK.
Train, bus, and Metrolink services in and around Greater Manchester were heavily affected by the heavy snow showers, strong winds, and icy conditions, meaning some teaching staff were forced to cancel seminars and lectures due to being unable to commute to the University.
It is unknown exactly how many lecturers and classes were cancelled, as decisions ultimately lay with individual teaching staff and departments, but courses such as Architecture, Nursing, and Theological Studies were affected.
Robyn Carty, a second-year University of Manchester Children’s Nursing student who had University classes on Thursday the 1st of March and Friday the 2nd of March, said: “Cancelling classes was a good decision because it meant that attendance won’t be affected. This is important on our course because it’s government funded so you’re expected to have 100 per cent attendance.
“Cancelling classes in advance meant people didn’t have the pressure of feeling like they have to come in when it might not be safe or they might get stranded. It was especially beneficial for people that live further away from University like me, or students who have to worry about childcare if their kids’ schools have closed.”
Jack Dickie, a first-year University of Manchester Architecture student who also had teaching cancelled, suggested that students who commuted from home weren’t given enough notice about the cancellations.
Jack said: “I wasn’t too bothered if classes were cancelled or not. The email was sent at 7:16 am and the lecture was at 9 am.
“Plenty of time for students living away yet those that commute, we left enough time due to the weather and found out when we were on our way.”
According to recently published research by the Sutton Trust, 23 percent of UK University students commute from home.
Military personnel were drafted in to rescue stranded lorries and cars on the M62 motorway, trains were cancelled from Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly, and bus services were cancelled due to the wintry conditions.
On Friday the 2nd of March, weather forecasts indicated that ‘Storm Emma’ could bring up to 50 cm of additional snow to parts of the UK and a red weather warning for snow was in force for south-west England and South Wales until the early hours of the day.
The University of Manchester was contacted for comment.