Message from President Hideo Ohno - June 19, 2020

Dear students, faculty and staff,

It's been a tough few months, but I'm happy to say that from June 19, I will be moving our university BCP level down to 1.

Although this is good news, it does not mean that we are completely out of the woods. Level 1 does still include some restrictions, but you will have more access to resources on campus. Departments will also have more leeway to organize activities, as long as preventing the spread of infection remains the highest priority.

So this means:

Classes will remain online, but face-to-face instruction will be allowed for practical skills training and experiments. Research activities, such as lab work, can also be carried out with the approval of supervisors.

In all these cases, strict safety and infection prevention measures must be taken. Please wear a mask at all times.

Libraries will reopen soon, and the Education and Student Support Department will be meeting to decide on the scope of extracurricular activities that can resume. We will have more on this at a later date.

On the social front, more places around Sendai are open, but I strongly urge everyone to continue maintaining social distancing rules, and avoid risky environments as defined by the 3Cs - closed spaces, crowded spaces and close-contact settings.

For students, this pertains especially to social gatherings and part time jobs.

Faculty and staff can have in-person meetings if necessary but please keep them short and avoid having many people in the room. If possible, online meetings are still preferable.

Japan has lifted its cross-prefectural travel ban. At this time though, I would still urge everyone to avoid recreational and other unnecessary trips. If you must travel, please check the status of your destination for infection and countermeasures, and make safe choices. Staff considering business trips should note the additional travel guidelines here (PDF)

Although Japan in general, and Miyagi in particular, have been doing well to contain the spread of COVID-19, news from other parts of the world is a constant reminder that we need to stay vigilant. If you haven't already, I recommend reading what Hitoshi Oshitani, Japan's leading virologist and a professor at our Graduate School of Medicine, has to say about the coronavirus and why it is still so dangerous.

Remember that fewer official restrictions from us means greater responsibility on you as individuals. We are in a good place now and the temptation is to relax. But the danger isn't over, so we have to continue to work together and look out for each other.

Hideo Ohno
President, Tohoku University


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