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~Dissolution of the UTokyo Coronavirus Task Force~

March 25, 2024

To all students, faculty and staff members of the University of Tokyo:

The UTokyo Coronavirus Task Force, which was established on February 28, 2020, will be disbanded as of March 31, 2024.

More than four years have passed since the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Japan in January 2020. At first, the virus had a high mortality rate, the true nature of the virus was still largely unknown, and there were no treatments or vaccines. To maintain a safe environment at a place like the University of Tokyo, where 50,000 diverse people gather, while also keeping the university functioning, normal responses alone were not enough. In view of the spread of the novel coronavirus infection, in order to systematically and intensively deal with countermeasures against the infectious disease from a university-wide perspective, the University of Tokyo established the UTokyo Coronavirus Task Force based on Article 7 of The University of Tokyo Rules Regarding Crisis and Risk Management. Based on the latest knowledge, the Task Force formulated unified response policies for the university to prevent the spread of infection in order to ensure the safety of university members and to maintain university functions as well as education and research activities. The Task Force also provided accurate information to university members about preventing the spread of infection, and took action when university members were infected with the novel coronavirus.

The extremely difficult times we have experienced over the past four years have been unprecedented, with all university members facing difficult situations. Not only were activities on campus restricted, but things that we had taken for granted in our daily lives, such as being able to walk freely outdoors, gather and have conversations, were also severely restricted. This was the first time in our university's long history that such a situation had occurred. However, even under these difficult circumstances, education and research activities as well as the operation of the university continued through the implementation of online classes and online conferences through the fusion of cyberspace and real space, and by introducing diverse working styles.
Furthermore, with regard to the entry into Japan by students from overseas who were most affected, once the government's regulations were eased, they were provided with support such as arrangement of accommodations, the means of transportation necessary for their stay, as well as provision of financial support to cover necessary expenses so that they could live with peace of mind once they had entered the country. We believe that this allowed international students to enter the country smoothly even under the chaotic circumstances.
Furthermore, ceremonies, events, extracurricular activities, etc., have been continued to this day, with the utmost efforts of those involved, in accordance with the circumstances of each activity, and with an emphasis on the significance of the activities. The rapid and forced transition to DX (digital transformation) due to the novel coronavirus has made it possible to create an educational and research environment that respects diversity, an environment to which everyone in the world would want to come to, as well as an attractive work environment for faculty and staff, one of the perspectives of UTokyo Compass.

The University of Tokyo's accumulated experience and knowledge to date is applicable not only to the novel coronavirus infection, but also to crisis events such as pandemics and natural disasters caused by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases that will inevitably occur again someday. It is hoped that this experience will definitely be put to good use. I am confident that the University of Tokyo's resilience, which I was able to glimpse this time, will enable us to respond appropriately to various crisis situations.

Finally, to all the students who continued their learning through online lectures and the faculty and staff who supported them, even under these difficult circumstances; the faculty and researchers who maintained their academic passion and continued their education and research; and to everyone, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your enthusiasm and efforts.

March 25, 2024
OKUBO Tatsuya
Executive Vice President
Head, UTokyo Coronavirus Task Force

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