Dear TUJ students:

Although there is much in today’s world that is difficult and challenging (particularly the ongoing pandemic), we are excited to provide you with a quality international education. As we continue to navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19, I wanted to talk about the start of the fall semester. This is especially important if you are taking in-person classes this coming semester.

Striking a Balance
It is our aim to continue prioritizing your health and safety while seeking to ensure that you receive the best experience possible. Half of our fall classes are scheduled in an online format. The other half will be taught in-person or in a hybrid manner. While some prefer an in-person learning environment, others are understandably not comfortable traveling to campus under present circumstances or cannot make it into the country yet. As we look to strike a balance, we appreciate your understanding and flexibility.

Fortunately, many TUJ faculty and staff have now been vaccinated. TUJ students will receive their second vaccination shots on Sunday. (If you haven’t been vaccinated, we encourage you to do so. Let us know if you need help finding a vaccination.) Combined with the standard COVID precautions, vaccinations provide elevated protection for our campus community, even as risks and occasional cases of COVID continue in the TUJ community.

Unfortunately though, we continue to see a significant spike in COVID cases across Tokyo. As you know, the government just extended the state of emergency until September 12th and expanded its geographical scope. The focus continues to be on establishments serving alcohol and newly on controlling the number of visitors in high traffic venues (department stores, shopping malls, and other large commercial facilities). Educational institutions are not impacted by the declaration, but we do need to be careful.

Start of Fall Semester – Changes in the First Two Weeks?
As we look to strike a balance, we are going to take a flexible approach for the first two weeks of the semester. This should reduce the overall numbers on campus as we continue to monitor the evolving situation. It will also provide more time for the vaccination of TUJ students to take maximum effect (it typically takes two weeks) while hopefully allowing for the number of COVID cases to retreat.

What does this “flexible approach” mean?
The flexible approach involves temporarily shifting some (but not all) of our in-person courses into an online format for the first two weeks of the semester.

  • Building. Campus will be open for TUJ students desiring a place to study and in-person classes. We ask that everyone on campus continue to follow our existing COVID-related protocols.
  • UG Courses - Online. These courses will proceed as scheduled.
  • UG Courses – In-person or Hybrid
    • Online start for some courses. To help balance our approach, various professors have agreed to start their in-person courses online for the first two weeks of the semester. If there is a temporary shift in one of your courses to online format, your professor will e-mail you and/or post a message on Canvas by August 24th (Tuesday).
    • Regular in-person start. For certain courses, it is difficult to achieve the desired outcomes without a classroom component. For these courses, we will start the semester as scheduled in-person while taking the necessary COVID precautions. To the extent possible, we have urged the professors teaching these courses to be flexible.
  • Student services. Student service departments will be available to serve you both online and in-person.

Final thoughts
As we have discovered multiple times since the inception of the pandemic, everything is subject to change. Thank you so much for your understanding and flexibility.

Matthew Wilson