Students finish early for Christmas as power goes off at unis

Students were evacuated from Lancaster University accommodation and housed in the Great Hall, the chaplaincy, LICA or the Nuffield. Photo by Matthew Gillings.

Students were evacuated from Lancaster University accommodation and housed in the Great Hall, the chaplaincy, LICA or the Nuffield. Photo by Matthew Gillings.

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University students in Lancaster were able to enjoy an extra week of Christmas holidays after their term was officially ended a week early.

Both Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria took the decision to cancel teaching until the new year after the weekend’s flooding affected power on both sites.

Staff at Lancaster university resumed work on Thursday although teaching and assessments for most students was cancelled until next term.

Exams, tests and deadlines for coursework due this week were postponed.

However, despite intermittent power on campus, graduation went ahead on Wednesday for 1,650 postgraduate students to receive their higher degrees and diplomas.

During the power cuts, the university relocated 6,000 students from their residences to safe places on campus with power, heat and light.

Students were all looked after by staff volunteers and were provided with food and assistance.

Those students who remain on campus have returned or are now in the process of returning to their residences.

Director of facilities at the university, Mark Swindlehurst, said: “Our preparations for emergency planning kicked in during this difficult time.

“We have been overwhelmed by the co-operation, understanding and goodwill of our students and staff.”

Teaching was also suspended until the new year for students at the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster site, although some scheduled exams are due to go ahead next week. The campus remains open for students to use the facilities, and staff returned to work on Tuesday.

Schools and colleges were also beginning to re-open as the Guardian went to press, although Lancaster & Morecambe College, including Treetops Nursery, Morecambe Learning Centre and LMC Business & Conference Centre, will remain closed until Monday. The college sports centre will open on Saturday.