Published: January 7, Updated: January 14, 2021
Two of the constant themes underlying the ongoing pandemic have been flexibility and safety. Again, we appreciate everyone’s flexibility and understanding as we navigate spring semester. As the national government has imposed a second state of emergency in Tokyo and the surrounding areas, questions have been asked about how this might impact our operations. Please find below several questions and answers.
What is the primary focus of the new state of emergency declaration? There is a genuine desire to reverse current trends and keep COVID-19 cases down to help individual health, community well-being, and the load on medical facilities. Although serious cases remain comparatively low and the highest number of daily cases in Tokyo to date still only constitutes 0.0001% of the population, the Japanese government seeks to send a stronger message to everyone about taking proper precautions, especially in businesses and locations that are susceptible to virus spread.
In Tokyo, almost two-thirds of new COVID-19 cases have arisen from restaurants and bars. Consequently, the main thrust of the emergency order focuses on reducing the service hours of restaurants and bars. As an additional precaution, the local government has asked everyone to refrain from non-essential excursions after 8:00 pm.
How are schools and universities impacted? Unlike the previous emergency declaration, the Japanese government will not be asking schools or universities to close. University entrance examinations are slated to move forward this month as scheduled. On Tuesday, Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda reported that the risk of COVID infections in schools are very low and the country is not seeing the development of severe health complications in school settings. He added that “a uniform school closure in any region should be implemented only where all social activities need to be restricted.” At present, such restrictions are not necessary.
What will TUJ do in light of the state of emergency declaration? Safety is certainly a top priority. To date, we have acted based on guidance provided local health officials, experts, and the Japanese government. It is our intention to continue acting in the same manner. We are looking to balance safety together with the value of in-person education with student preferences. Just like last semester, any in-person experience will take place in a safe and prudent manner using cleaning, social distancing in classrooms (limiting enrollment to at least half capacity of rooms), circulation measures (open doors and cracked windows), and the like. During the state of emergency, our plan for instruction is as following:
Undergraduate and bridge programs (daytime): 30-40% in-person
Academic English Program (daytime): 40% in-person
Academic English Program (evening/weekends): 100% online
Law Program (evening): 100% online
College of Education (evening – Tokyo): 100% online; except first classes which will end at 8:00 pm
College of Education (evening – Osaka): 100% in-person
Master in Management: 100% online
Continuing Education: (evening/weekends): 100% online
Will campus continue to be open? Yes. The campus, library, computer labs, cafeteria, and other spaces on campus will be open. Also, students will have access to all services including career placement, student services, academic counseling, counseling, and more.
As the directives from the government and health officials continue to evolve, we will continue to update our students and webpage accordingly.
Matthew J. Wilson, Esq.