Message from President Hideo Ohno - September 16, 2021

Dear students, faculty and staff,

As the state of emergency in Miyagi Prefecture has been lifted, and we seem to be trending in the right direction in terms of reducing the number of infection cases, the university will lower its Emergency Action Plan, or BCP, to level 2 from today.

Also encouraging is the high percentage of students, faculty and staff who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 85 percent expected to be fully vaccinated with two doses by the end of September.

All this means that we can hopefully start the new semester on a positive note, with more in-person learning, and a more vibrant and familiar campus environment.

For students, BCP level 2 means that more classes and events can be held in-person, and research activities will be allowed, as long as infection prevention measures are strictly adhered to. These include making sure that classrooms and laboratories are well ventilated, with appropriate space between students; and that shared equipment is thoroughly cleaned.

Extracurricular, club and volunteer activities can resume if student organisations submit a safe plan that is approved by the university, or agree to hold their activities online. Organizations who wish to apply for permission to resume their activities should submit this form.

For faculty and staff, online meetings are still preferred, especially if they are expected to run long. In-person meetings should be quick, and take place in well-ventilated rooms. Non-urgent business trips are still discouraged, especially to parts of Japan that have high infection rates. To reduce the number of people in each office, some administrative staff will continue to work from home or keep flexible hours.

Although we have lowered our BCP level, I cannot stress enough that we must still take basic infection prevention measures very seriously, such as wearing a mask, washing our hands often and thoroughly, and avoiding the 3Cs. Almost all cases of infection among students so far have been due to off-campus activities such as karaoke and large gatherings. So please remember to behave responsibly, even if you have been vaccinated.

Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention my appreciation for the tireless efforts of the healthcare workers who have been keeping our community safe; especially the members of Tohoku University Hospital whose expertise and regular counsel have ensured that our safety guidelines are always sound, and that our vaccination programme across the entire prefecture has been successful.

Let's all continue to do our part to keep each other safe, and let's have a great start to the new semester!

Hideo Ohno
President, Toholku University

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