Summer Holidays and the Autumn Semester 2020Mon, Aug 3, 2020
Summer Holidays and the Autumn Semester 2020
Dear Students of Waseda University,
August 2, 2020
On behalf of Waseda University, I thank you for your cooperation and patience as we moved classes online in the spring and summer. These last four months when you could not come to campus must have been disappointing. We faculty members and staff felt the same way.
We are preparing to resume in-person classes this autumn for at least some seminars, labs and classes requiring in-person instructions. Unfortunately, the number of face-to-face classes will remain somewhat limited. Large classes will remain online, because appropriate distancing would be impossible. We are deploying medium- sized classrooms for seminars, labs and so on. A seminar with 20 students, for example, will move from a small seminar room to a medium-sized classroom with a capacity of 100 students. If the number of available classrooms falls short to accommodate all seminars, we may ask classes to take turns, alternating between in-class and online formats.
The default pattern for now, then, is to blend online education with in-person learning. We are eager to move to a face-to-face format to the extent possible, because university education is not complete without robust engagement and discussion.
Needless to say, we will have to resume on-line learning if COVID-19 resurges. As I have said, Waseda University is committed to three goals: (1) to protect the lives and health of students, faculty, and staff; (2) to provide students with an excellent education, and (3) to promote research and scholarly work even under difficult circumstances. We are going to make decisions accordingly.
At the same time, we will not require our students who are overseas or outside the Tokyo Metropolitan Area to return to campus. Waseda University is committed to the policy that “No one will be left behind,” echoing the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations. For students who are overseas or outside the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, we are preparing to send real-time images and voices of face-to-face classes. For students who are in a different time zone, we will video tape face-to-face seminars for viewing at a more convenient time.
Please be aware that some faculty members may be vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and may therefore be unable to teach classes in person. They will have to remain online. Similarly, some students who are vulnerable to or seriously concerned about the COVID-19 may stay with online. Although this is frustrating, we take pride as members of the Waseda University community in working together to protect the health of each member.
I have one final request as the summer holidays begin. Please guard your health, knowing that infection among Waseda students during the summer holidays will force us to close our campuses quickly, and return completely to online instruction. Social-distancing and health precautions are crucial to our aim of restoring in-class instruction to the extent possible. Our decision to offer in-class instruction will depend, of course, on wider public health developments; but please be aware that your behavior this summer may affect Waseda University’s ability to reopen classrooms this autumn.
We are so grateful to each of you for your patience, as we cope with this global public health crisis. We trust that you will behave with prudence towards yourselves and consideration towards others, with pride as members of the Waseda University community.
We wish you a refreshing summer, and look forward to welcoming each of you back (either face-to-face or online) this fall in good health and high morale.
Aiji Tanaka, President