Due to heavy snowfall, UBC has cancelled all finals starting at noon or later on today, the last day of exams.
The cancellation comes after heavy snowfall in the Vancouver area caused massive transit delays and driving difficulties starting this morning.
“The unfortunate students who have their exams cancelled, they will be rescheduled early in the next term,” said Lucie McNeill, UBC’s director of public affairs. “One can only sympathize with them. It’s a heck of a way to spend the holiday season.”
UBC made the decision at 10:15 this morning to cancel the 12 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. exams due to concerns over transit. Exams have been rescheduled for January 6.
4,000 students are affected by the exam cancellation, according to McNeill.
“Within half an hour to an hour the conditions on the roads leading up to campus changed dramatically,” McNeill said. “We saw the impossibility of students to make it to campus using transit and treacherous for drivers as well.”
McNeill said UBC building operation staff saw that branches falling on roads and walkways on campus posed a safety risk as well. There was just under 20cm of accumulated snow at 12 p.m, according to a weather station on top of the Geography building.
She said the last time campus was shut down for snow was Dec. 24, 2009, after exams had already ended that year.
TransLink spokesperson Derek Zabel said the snow caused “bizarre” road conditions, including a tree falling in the intersection of 41st Avenue and Oak St., trees falling on buses on West 16th Avenue and articulated buses like the B-Line jackknifing on the corner of West 10th Ave. and Alma St.
“We’re seeing unusual traffic situations right now. We’re seeing some spun-out cars, some of our buses got stuck on the ice,” Zabel said. “It does make it challenging for bus drivers to navigate around different obstacles that are in the road when we do have the conditions that we saw today.”
Any students who were unable to attend a exam at 8:30 a.m. due to weather conditions may apply for a concession, according to McNeill, and must contact the dean or director of their program as soon as possible.
While a bulletin on UBC’s website has asked students, staff and faculty not at UBC to remain at home, essential services are running on campus.
Taking transit to campus became all but impossible by mid-morning. Routes to UBC along 4th and 10th avenues stopped running, and only the #25, #41 and #43 routes to campus were still available. Zabel said anyone headed to the university later in the day should expect a delay of at least half an hour.
“We were certainly trying to fight through and keep service going, and right now we’re continuing to do that, but we do have some buses that are significantly behind schedule,” he said.