At 21:10, Monday 16th March, I received an email from my tutors stating that Manchester Metropolitan University has decided to stop all face-to-face teaching, effective immediately.
As a third and final year student, my heart dropped. I have deadlines, assignments due in less than two weeks and I am in utter panic mode. Not because I think I may contract COVID-19 but rather because at this point, I’m seriously worried about the fate of my degree.
Manchester Met Vice-Chancellor, Malcolm Press, also announced the news on the university’s website. He stated: “We will accelerate our plans to move teaching online and will stop face to face teaching immediately.”
Further information included changes to assessments, as the university are planning alternatives to their usual assessment processes, particularly exams.
As the university’s decision was made following the Prime Minister’s statement made just hours earlier, Manchester Met did a pretty good job of informing students about this change as soon as possible. While it is not at all the universities fault, students are now left in very uncertain, stressful times, worrying about the future of their education.
“During this global crisis, stressed, depressed third year students need more support,” says final year student Sadia Akhtar.
We were emailed about the possibility of teaching ending on the 27th March, but the latest news still feels very sudden. Perhaps because the Government didn’t take the safety precautions of the coronavirus as seriously as they should have, like other countries did.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s initial statement on the virus, people across the country were left disappointed with the lack of action being taken to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Students are experiencing a lot of anxiety, which is not the fault of the tutors who are experiencing much of the same thing, but surely there needs to be some kind of special consideration in place for everyone affected by this. Our education has hit a brick wall due to a global pandemic! When has there ever been more reason for extenuating circumstances?
“I feel like it’s a very anxious and unsettling time and hopefully students are given more support in the process,” says English and Multimedia Journalism student Siddra Asghar.
Given the possibility of alternative assessments taking place so last minute, there are further concerns about the change to graduation. Will this be delayed? Will we even still have a graduation ceremony? The one day we spent years working towards? The future for students remains very uncertain right now and we can only hope that the university continues to offer as much support as possible.