It is somewhat hard to believe that February has already arrived. Fortunately, it appears that our spring semester is off to a strong start.
It has been encouraging to see the number of new COVID cases drop significantly over the past few weeks. Hopefully, the downward trend will continue. At the same time, the Prime Minister just announced an extension of the state of emergency for Tokyo and Osaka through March 7, 2021. (Depending on the number of new cases and hospital occupancy, the continuing measures could be dialed back or lifted altogether before this date.) As a result, I wanted to take this opportunity to confirm what this means for TUJ, our operations, and you.
Generally.Throughout the pandemic, our approach has been focusing on safety, flexibility, and meeting the needs of students. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s flexibility and understanding as we carefully navigate the situation. As we actively monitor the situation and track activity in our building, we can still report no COVID cases directly impacting our campus or operations.
Primary focus of the second state of emergency declaration. Governmental officials continue to focus on the operating hours of bars and restaurants. Companies and organizations are being encouraged to adopt remote working to the extent possible, while attendance at large events is being capped. As you know, schools and universities have not been asked to close or shift operations online.
TUJ’s operations. Basically, we will continue to operate as we have for the last month. Safety is a top priority and we continue to balance the situation based on the guidance provided by local health officials, experts, and the Japanese government. During the extension of the state of emergency, we will continue to act in the same manner as we balance safety together with the value of in-person education and student preference.This means that we will continue to:
- Promote telework in the same manner that we have operated in the past month (while also asking managers to regularly revisit what works best for students and staff).
- Operate in a safe and prudent manner using mask requirements, increased cleaning, social distancing measures, limited room capacities, and air circulation measures.
- Voluntarily modify our in-person operations so that courses scheduled to end after 8:00 pm operate online (this impacts courses in our graduate and non-degree programs in Tokyo and Osaka).
- Reduce evening building hours, club activities, and other extracurricular events while keeping the campus, library, computer labs, and other spaces on campus open.
- Offer student services, career placement, academic counseling, and counseling in an hybrid manner.
Questions or concerns.To the extent that staff or employees have specific concerns related to their own situations, we invite you to connect with your supervisor, HR, or even me directly. We are more than happy to discuss your personal circumstances and how we can assist you.
As the COVID situation and directives from government and health officials continue to evolve, we will continue to review and update our approaches accordingly.