Message from President Osamu Murata
Regarding the Start of Fall Semester Classes
As fall semester classes begin, I would like to share my thoughts with all of you about how classes should be conducted at Kwansei Gakuin University.
With the spread of COVID-19 infections, we conducted classes in the spring semester online as a general rule, with the exception of some classes which required face-to-face interaction, such as seminar classes, hands-on training, and experiments, with our first priority being the lives and health of our students, faculty and staff members, as well as those of their family members. Regarding spring semester online classes, I believe it is true that there were variations in terms of class content and quality, including the number of assignments.On the other hand, we have also come to understand the advantages of online classes.
In addition, in order to prevent the spread of infection, we enacted a campus entry ban, and restricted independent activities on campus, including extracurricular activities. Because entry to campus was prohibited, you were unable to interact with your fellow students, and I think that you all felt isolated. For newly admitted students, in particular, even your basic courses were conducted online and you did not have opportunities to make friends, and I think that you must have felt lonely and anxious.
Although it is difficult to predict how COVID-19 infections will progress beyond the fall semester, it has become clear that measures such as hand sanitization, wearing masks, and avoiding the three Cs are effective at preventing infection.It has also become clear in recent days that it is an extremely common route of infection for people to catch COVID-19 at restaurants, drinking parties, and other events. From these factors, I am certain that we can reduce the risk of infection and prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections if we give careful thought to preventative measures.
We will conduct face-to-face classes in conjunction with online classes during the fall semester from this perspective, as we put measures to prevent infection in place. To be specific, we will resume face-to-face classes in classrooms at each campus where infection measures have been taken, with a focus on subjects where face-to-face interaction is important, such as seminar classes, classes with experiments, and language classes. As for measures against infection, we will limit the number of subjects taught face-to-face, guarantee the amount of ventilation in classrooms, and secure social distance by opening one seat’s worth of distance in all directions. However, even if classes are taught face-to-face, we will also offer them as online classes in order to ensure that there will be opportunities to take the classes for international students who cannot enter Japan, as well as for students who have difficulty commuting to school because they are anxious for various reasons, such as underlying conditions.
Furthermore, we would like to fully lift the ban on entry to campus at the same time as the start of fall semester classes, based on the premise that all students will disinfect their hands, wear masks, avoid the three Cs, and either start using the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s contact-tracing app COCOA or create records of their activities. In accordance with this, the offices of each department will also open as usual. We would also like to consider arrangements for recruiting students for membership in clubs and circles.
In implementing these measures, I would like to make a request to you, the students. There have been cases of infection among our students. We knowthat about 20% of them were overseas and returned to Japan,and about 70% of them were infected at off-campus dinners and drinking parties. The university campuses are being fully opened so that students can attend classes and participate in extracurricular activities. Severe self-regulation is being practiced in athletics training and other activities. We must strictly avoid the appearance of infection clusters caused by people becoming relaxed due to the campus opening, and holding mixers, drinking parties, and dinner parties. If that sort of situation arises, we will have no choice but to take measures such as re-implementing the campus entry ban.
When you come to campus, I strongly urge all of you to:
1) Take care of your health (refrain from coming to school with a fever or cold symptoms)
2) Wear a mask
3) Wash your hands and disinfect them regularly (unless 2 and 3 are difficult for you to do, due to your constitution or other factors)
4) Avoid the three Cs
5) Start using the contact-tracing app COCOA, or create records of your activities
These measures are not just for protecting your own lives and your own health, but the lives and health of your family and friends, as well, so I would like to ask you to abide by the five points above.
I sincerely hope that you will all lead fulfilling student lives in the fall semester.