An update concerning classes in Autumn Term 2021

Update: August 19, 2021

To all continuing students

We hope you have been able to relax and get some rest during the summer break. Preregistration for Autumn Term has now ended, classes will begin in a few weeks, and many of you may now be turning your attention to what will happen at ICU in September.

Although the number of infections from COVID-19 has increased rapidly, the university has decided to maintain the framework of its policy toward classes during Autumn Term with only minor adjustments. We are contacting you now to let you know about those adjustments.

You can see the announcement about Autumn Term classes that we made in June at the link below.


1. Explanation of the need for minor adjustment to the policy

As you all know, infections from COVID-19 have been increasing rapidly since July and infections from the Delta variant now account for 80% of the cases in Japan. ICU has not been exempt from the 5th wave of the epidemic, and fifteen ICU students have reported infections since August 1. Some of them are receiving medical treatment at home and we hope and pray for their rapid recovery.

The news is not entirely bad, however. It has been reported that 50% of the population in Japan have been at least partly vaccinated (nearly 38% are fully vaccinated), and the widespread use of vaccines appears to have reduced the danger posed by the epidemic. The pace of vaccinations slowed in August, but we expect it to increase again soon. No one knows for certain what will happen in the future, but we are hopeful that conditions will begin to improve in September and October.

We know from past experience, and from the results of preregistration for Autumn Term, that many of you still want an option to take courses face-to-face. At the same time, we know that some of you will hesitate to come to campus and you will need an option to take classes online. We have concluded that the best way to meet these diverse needs is to maintain the framework of the current policy toward classes and to make only minor adjustments. Below is a general outline of what we intend to do.

Some of you may still be wondering whether you should come to campus in Autumn Term to participate in classes face-to-face and/or whether you should stay in the dorms. We encourage you to read the outline below and to discuss the matter with your family members. As you decide what you want to do, please take into consideration the current situation concerning infections and carefully consider any underlying health conditions you may have.


2. Outline of adjustments in modes of teaching

  • There will be no changes to online classes.
  • In many cases instructors will be making changes to the syllabi of courses that will be taught in "mixed mode." The great advantage of "mixed mode" courses is their flexibility, and we have suggested to instructors that they can modify their syllabi in order to adapt to the changing circumstances of the COVID-19 epidemic. Some "mixed mode" courses may be taught entirely online at the beginning of the term, and in some cases the method of teaching may change during the middle of the term. Please check the online syllabi for the courses, and contact the instructor if you have any questions.
  • Most of the courses that are scheduled to be taught face-to-face will proceed as planned. A small number of face-to-face courses may be converted to online courses or may be cancelled. Please check the online syllabi for the courses, and contact the instructor if you have any questions.


3. Other matters to keep in mind

  • We do not anticipate that the campus will be closed, and currently it is open and students and faculty may come and go freely. Faculty and students may hold face-to-face meetings if both parties agree to it (please wear masks and keep a window or door open for ventilation).
  • As the policy issued in June states, if circumstances require the closure of campus or the end of all face-to-face teaching in the middle of the term then face-to-face and mixed mode courses must be taught online. If this should become necessary the university will give you notice of the change as promptly as possible.
  • In order to maintain a safe environment in classrooms, everyone must wear a mask, irrespective of vaccination status, and the classrooms must be well ventilated.
  • If you come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you develop a fever or any other symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19 infection, please notify the Health Care Office using their "Report form".

For the past year and a half we have all been doing our best to cope with the novel coronavirus epidemic. Although many of you may be experiencing "coronavirus fatigue," we need your continued cooperation in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. In order to minimize the risk of infection, and to ensure that everyone on campus can feel safe, we ask that you please continue to take precautions to avoid risky behavior on and off campus.

Although the widespread use of vaccines offers hope that someday soon we will no longer need to make accommodations to avoid infection, we have not yet reached that point. During this difficult time we hope that all of us (students, faculty, and staff) will continue to be patient and treat each other with kindness.

Robert Eskildsen, Vice President for Academic Affairs
Yoshito Ishio, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts
Tsuyosi Mizoguchi, Dean of the Graduate School

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