Message from President Hideo Ohno - January 18, 2022

Dear students, faculty and staff,

The highly infectious Omicron variant of the coronavirus is currently prevalent in many countries around the world. Here in Japan, we are in the midst of the sixth wave of the pandemic, with the number of infection cases rising rapidly.

At Tohoku University, we are seeing a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, especially among first- and second-year undergraduates. So, to protect against the threat of an epidemic on campus, we are strengthening our infection control measures, and raising the university's COVID-19 Emergency Action Plan (BCP) to Level Two (pdf).

This means that more classes will be held online, and research activities must adhere to strict safety measures, including minimizing the time spent in the laboratories. Students who are uncertain about their classes should contact their lecturers or professors for instructions.

Extracurricular, club and volunteer activities must be held online instead of in-person, to minimize face-to-face interaction. Groups who have already submitted activity plans for competitions, joint practices, concerts and other large events, should consider cancelling or postponing their participation. In-person activities should only be held under special circumstances with the expressed approval of the dean of the relevant faculty or school.

Faculty and staff should refrain from unnecessary business trips. And meetings should be held online, especially if many people are involved.

Since there have been many reports of people getting COVID-19 even after receiving two doses of the vaccine, please do not let your guard down. Basic measures to prevent infection are important, so always wear a mask, avoid the 3Cs (closed spaces, crowded places and/or close-contact settings) and stay home if you are unwell.

We know that many cases of infection among young people have been traced to large social gatherings, such as the celebrations after the recent coming-of-age ceremonies, dinner and drinking parties. With the Omicron variant being so infectious, I urge all of you to be responsible and refrain from such activities for the time being.

Let's continue to do the right things, look out for each other and have a safe start to the new year.

Hideo Ohno
President, Tohoku University

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