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Policy for education and research during the coronavirus pandemic

Message from President Gonokami and Executive Vice President Fujii:
Policy for education and research during the coronavirus pandemic

March 10, 2021

To all current and new University of Tokyo students:

We would like to express our great respect for all of you who passed the entrance examinations and our current students who have continued to study hard at the University of Tokyo during this difficult year and in spite of the unprecedented global spread of COVID-19 and the severe restrictions on your daily activities.

It has already been a year since the spread of the coronavirus in Japan began in earnest. However, the state of emergency declared by the government on January 8 has not yet been lifted in Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, and there is still no clear end in sight.

In February last year, the University of Tokyo set up a COVID-19 task force and the university as a whole has been sharing information on the disease, providing concrete guidelines for response, and taking measures to prevent the spread of the infection while continuing education and research. As a result of the concerted efforts of faculty, staff, and students, we have been able to maintain the university’s education and research functions and continue our basic activities without interruption while ensuring the safety of the campus.

As we begin the new academic year, we would like to explain the university’s policies regarding future education and research activity to all current and new students.

The university is a place where diverse people gather on campus to learn and create knowledge through thinking together and discussion. Direct human interaction is fundamental to these activities but is currently severely restricted by COVID-19. In April of last year, we switched all lectures to an online format. We have continued our education and research with the help of a variety of innovations and the efforts of faculty, staff, and students. In the process, we have reaffirmed the invaluable nature of face-to-face activities. Since last fall, we have been gradually expanding our face-to-face activities to include practical training, seminars, and language classes. From the new semester in April, we will gradually expand activities that require face-to-face interaction, while continuing online activities, based on the premise of ensuring safety and security on campus. To this end, we will continue to improve our environment and further enhance our testing system.

Although we will have to continue living with the coronavirus for a while, we would like to see this as an opportunity to consciously review how we do things that we have been carrying out without question simply because we always have and to further evolve the university, for example by making progress in digital transformation. We would like to work together with everyone to create a “new university normal” as a new lifestyle.

To this end, we have decided on the following guidelines for action.

  1. Education: Classes in the new semester starting in April will be held according to the regular academic calendar. We will provide an effective combination of face-to-face and online education and will gradually resume international exchange programs including study abroad.

  2. Research: We will gradually expand by stages our activities including international research and fieldwork.

  3. Extracurricular activities: After confirming infection prevention measures, activities will be resumed by stages.

  4. Ceremonies: Commencement and Diploma Presentation ceremonies will be held in a simplified manner. The Matriculation Ceremony will be held at the Nippon Budokan, with participation limited to new students, while keeping an eye on the infection situation.

  5. Support for international students: We will provide support for quarantine measures required when students arrive in Japan so that they can start their studies in a safe environment.

  6. Infection prevention measures: Enhance the infection testing system and continue public health measures such as thorough implementation of preventive measures including avoiding the three Cs. Restrictions on access to university premises will be maintained in principle but will be reviewed in light of the infection situation in the city.

  7. Renovation of facilities for a post-coronavirus society: Work to improve ventilation equipment and infrastructure for online classes.

In order to expand face-to-face activities at the university, it is essential that each and every one of you, as a member of the University of Tokyo, be aware of the need to prevent the spread of infection and act with consideration for your surroundings and those around you.

We ask for your understanding and cooperation.


March 10, 2021

GONOKAMI Makoto, President, the University of Tokyo
FUJII Teruo, Executive Vice President, the University of Tokyo

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