To all students, faculty and staff of the University of Tokyo:
As the Head of the Novel Coronavirus Disease Task Force of the University of Tokyo, I would like to provide the members of our university community with the latest update on the current state of response to the crisis facing us today.
President Makoto Gonokami announced preventive measures taken by the University of Tokyo against the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on March 18. We are prioritizing the safety of students, faculty, and staff in our actions, as we continue our educational and research endeavors. To do so, the university has promptly shared information about prevention of the spread of infection with all the members of the campus community and has updated them with the latest information about COVID-19 as well as the school’s efforts and requests to everyone through the school website and portal site.
Furthermore, the university has launched and shared with the campus community “The University of Tokyo Activity Restrictions Index for Preventing the Spread of Novel Coronavirus,” a six-level (levels 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4) index modeled on actions taken in other nations to coordinate the response to the continuing spread of COVID-19. In case of a citywide lockdown, Level 4 will go into effect. This past week, the university operated at Level 1. The index gives the university community guidelines for restrictions of the activities of university personnel, such as research, education, extracurricular activities, on-campus faculty and staff meetings, and gate closures. Additionally, on April 4 (Sat), we raised the campus entry restrictions to Level 2 to minimize the risk of infection from outside campus. Staff members should also refer to the instructions of their own department.
Recent actions we have taken so far include: restricting entry to campuses on March 28 (Sat) and 29 (Sun); canceling orientations; requesting those returning from overseas to self-quarantine for two weeks; requesting canceling various events and social gatherings; and requesting suspension of students’ extracurricular activities. The university also successfully completed the administrative procedures for incoming undergraduate students at Komaba Campus by streamlining the process and taking thorough infection prevention measures. This has made it possible to set up a framework for the first-year students to participate in online courses from their homes. Moreover, in preparation for implementing online courses, the university held training sessions for faculty and staff three times at the university-wide level (with approximately 2,000 participants). Graduate schools/college also offered similar sessions several times. To address the question of copyright issues of lecture materials, which is a matter of significant concern for online courses, the university submitted a request to the Agency for Cultural Affairs and related organizations to ask for swift implementation of the revised Copyright Act. The university is currently preparing to set up an appropriate network environment, based on a survey of internet connectivity of the students. Through these efforts, we are creating an environment where students can feel assured in the education they receive. We are also making smooth transition to telework on a rotating basis and online videoconferencing for faculty and staff.
Unfortunately, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Tokyo has risen sharply this past week. It is possible that the University of Tokyo may have to raise its restrictions index level. We are preparing for this likelihood and will continue to offer online courses to students. We urge faculty and staff members to prepare for working remotely from their home so that they can perform their work duties when that becomes necessary.
As the university and the world face an unprecedented global crisis, we ask for your understanding and cooperation. We shall continue to pursue our educational and academic missions with the safety of every member of the campus community as our top priority.
April 3, 2020
Executive Vice President
Head, Novel Coronavirus Task Force
The University of Tokyo