AIU’s Response to Coronavirus

AIU’s Response to Coronavirus

Released: January 31, 2020
Last Updated: October 29, 2021


Akita International University will keep this page up-to-date with information about its response to COVID-19 as necessary.

For any AIU students, faculty, or staff members who are feeling ill, instructions for what to do, such as reporting conditions to the Health and Medical Care Room, may be found on the ATOMS COVID-19 Information Page, so please refer to the information there, as well.

COVID-19 Infection Risk Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
Current Level: 2 - Restricted Operations (Low)

Table of Contents

Past Announcements

Resumption of In-Person Study Abroad -Added October 29, 2021-

Since Akita International University suspended in-person study abroad at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, we have been carefully considering when to resume that program. Based on recent positive developments in Japan and abroad, including the preparedness of medical institutions to accept patients and establishment of treatment regimes, the penetration of infection risk prevention measures into the daily life of society, and the progress of vaccination rates, we have determined to resume in-person study abroad beginning in January 2022. In order to ensure a safe environment for all students, we will work in close collaboration with our overseas partner universities and a designated risk management company to take all measures to prepare students for their study abroad, including providing safety information about study abroad destinations prior to departure and establishing a 24-hour emergency response system. We will also conduct thorough pre-departure education program for these students.

Considering that we now live in an era where the future is uncertain, as we learn to coexist with COVID-19, through its study abroad and allied programs Akita International University will continue to strive to further enrich its whole-person education system, aiming at human development of future generations. Given this, we humbly ask for the continued support and understanding of our community of stakeholders, both within and outside Japan.

Monte Cassim
President

For details about the resumption of In-Person Study Abroad, please see the Outline of the Spring 2022 Study Abroad Program

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COVID-19 Infection Risk Reduction Guidelines -Guidelines Updated September 30, 2021-

The "Akita International University COVID-19 Infection Risk Reduction Guidelines" are AIU's collected plans and countermeasures to minimize the risk of infection in our unique living-learning campus environment.

All students, faculty and staff members are asked to refer to these guidelines and act accordingly in order to ensure risk reduction for a safe and healthy campus environment

As of April 21, the Guidelines have been updated for the Spring 2021 Semester.

View the Full Guidelines

COVID-19 Infection Risk Reduction Guidelines

*By clicking on the major headings, you can jump straight to the appropriate page in the pdf (PC browser viewing, only)

Introduction
I. Basic Philosophy
II. COVID-19 Infection Risk Prevention Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
  1. Classes (Lectures, etc.)
  2. On-Campus Meetings
  3. Use of facilities (Dorms/Apartments)
  4. Use of facilities (Other than Housing)
  5. Student Extracurricular Activities
  6. Administrative Office
III. Infection Risk Reduction Measures
  1. Basic Infection Risk Reduction Measures
  2. What To Do When Feeling Ill
  3. What To Do if an Infection is Confirmed on Campus
  4. Important Considerations for Face-to-Face Classes
  5. Disinfection and Sterilization of Campus Facilities
  6. Restrictions to Students’, Faculty and Staff Members’ Activities
  7. Use of Campus Facilities
IV. Release of Information Regarding Infections on Campus
  1. Release of Information About Infected Persons
  2. Defamation and Slander About Infected Persons
V. References
  1. COVID-19 Infection Risk Prevention Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
  2. Flowchart for Detection of Symptoms and Confirmation of Infection
  3. Temperature and Condition Recording Sheet and Activity Recording Sheet

Related information

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Information for Students, Faculty, Staff, and International Partners

Outline of the Spring 2022 Study Abroad Program -Added October 29, 2021-

Recognizing that AIU students have a strong desire to study abroad, in order to meet that desire, AIU will resume in-person study abroad in the Spring 2022 Semester to the maximum degree safely possible for students who wish to go, as long as certain conditions are met. However, because the situation with COVID-19 remains uncertain, we understand that some students, or their guardians, may not be willing to study abroad in person due to health concerns, etc., so AIU will continue to offer study abroad alternatives for students in that situation.

Considering that the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has expressed their support for universities restarting study abroad programs in countries and regions where the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MOFA) Infection Risk is at Level 3 or lower, and after reviewing the specific situation in our partner universities’ countries and regions, AIU has decided to approve in-person study abroad and support study abroad students to the maximum extent possible, as we have in the past, when the following criteria are met:

  • Your Study Abroad Country must be at MOFA Infection Risk Level 3 or lower, be willing to allow you into the country in a visa status permissible for study, and must have clearly explained border control measures that you are able to follow.
  • Your Study Abroad University must be willing to accept international students for in-person study abroad and have a clear policy for infection prevention as well as handling of infections.
  • You must have the will to study abroad and to see the experience through to its completion, understand and accept all risks related to study abroad, including health risks, have the approval of your guarantor, and be prepared to follow all requirements by your study abroad country and university.

For students who do not wish to study abroad in person, because of concerns over the pandemic, or who are not able to do so because their study abroad country or university does not meet the criteria above, AIU will continue to exempt you from your one-year study abroad graduation requirement if you complete a Virtual Study Abroad or an Independent Study: Study Abroad Alternative approved by AIU during the Spring 2022 Semester, just as we have done in this spring semester. You will also have the option to withdraw from your study abroad and apply again in a future semester.

The Center for International Affairs and the Office of Academic Affairs have been in contact with study abroad candidate students with further information about the detailed requirements for in-person study abroad, details about Study Abroad Alternatives, and about optional opportunities to study abroad in person after you complete them, so please be sure to read those messages carefully.

Yoshitaka Kumagai, Vice President

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Financial Aid -Updated October 29, 2021-

AIU offers the following supports for the financially challenged students, who are affected by a significant decrease of the household income for various reasons including the spread of COVID-19 infection. If you would like to apply for them, please feel free to contact the Student Affairs Division.

Emergency Aid Scholarship or Loan by JASSO

This is a scholarship/loan program by JASSO to extend immediate financial supports for the students affected by any unforeseeable conditions particularly for their tuition defrayers, such as unemployment, accidents, diseases, natural disasters, and decease.

As a part, the economic or physical blows of COVID-19 infection spread are also included. If your tuition defrayer gets unemployed or has difficulty in returning to the job after contracting COVID-19, you are eligible for the application.

If you are in any cases above, please feel free to contact us for further information. The earliest possible contact is always recommended, since applications should be made within a limited period of time after an emergency.

AIU Original Scholarship
Emergency Support Scholarship

This Scholarship supports students whose academic lives become suddenly challenged due to unforeseen events with the tuition defrayers, such as deceased, unemployed (bankruptcy for self-employment), classified as severe impediments, and affected by a natural disaster. Students who are damaged by a natural disaster can also apply. Meanwhile, significant income decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is also a possible reason. For details, please see this link.

Contact for Inquiry

Student Affairs Division at financialaid@gl.aiu.ac.jp (E-mail)

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Information for Visitors -Added January 7, 2021-

Campus and Facilities Closed to Public

In general, the AIU campus, including our library and cafeteria, are open to members of the public. However, as we are unable to predict when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, at this time AIU has determined to close use of the campus facilities (including the library, cafeteria, and College Cafe) to members of the public and limit those facilities to use by the university community, only. Additionally, AIU is not accepting any campus visits, campus tours, or community exchanges.

We ask for your kind understanding at this difficult time.

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Updates and Further Information

As any new information becomes available, AIU will update this page.

Information for current students (including international students), faculty, and staff members will be posted on AIU TOtal Management System (ATOMS). Additionally, the Center for International Affairs will share the same information with our incoming international students and international partners by email, as necessary.

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Change History:

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Past Announcements

State of Infections on Campus -Updated July 8, 2021-

Since the incident in which five Akita International University Students became infected with COVID-19 after attending the dance event in Akita City, the university implement measures against the further spread of infection, including transporting all infected students to designated medical facilities in the city, disinfecting all impacted university facilities, and directing all close contacts and contacts (hereinafter Close Contacts) to self-quarantine in a separate location on campus.

As a result, there have been no additional infections detected from Sunday, June 27, onward. Therefore, at the COVID-19 Emergency Headquarters meeting held on Wednesday, July 7, it was determined to lower the university’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to Level 3. Restrictions on student, faculty and staff member activities will be as follows:

  • Self-Quarantine in rooms or apartments for Close Contacts who tested negative for COVID-19 based on the PCR test and the prohibition on entering campus for commuter students will be suspended effective Wednesday, June 7.
  • Classes may be held in-person, online, or in parallel, but in-person coursework should be limited to the minimum amount required and maximum infection risk prevention measures will be implemented.
  • Use of designated campus facilities, including the library, will be permitted while giving full consideration to minimizing infection risk.
  • Student extracurricular activities will only be permitted on campus and at Akita Prefectural Central Park.

Although the university has lowered the BCP level, we remain conscious that highly infectious variants of COVID-19 with increased risk of serious symptoms may be around us at any time and will continue to practice thorough infection risk prevention countermeasures as described in the “Akita International University COVID-19 Infection Risk Reduction Guidelines (Second Edition)” and university announcements, so we would humbly like to ask for the continued patience and understanding of the community.

Monte CASSIM, President
Akita International University

State of Infections on Campus

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Information for Students, Faculty, Staff, and International Partners

Commencement Ceremony in March 2021 and Conferment of Diplomas -Added February 24, 2021-

This is to announce that we have decided to hold our Spring 2021 Commencement Ceremony online via Zoom because many of the participating graduates would have to move across prefectural borders to attend, which would make it difficult to implement sufficient COVID-19 risk reduction countermeasures.

Additionally, this will be a joint online ceremony for those who have graduated in August 2019, in 2020, and for those who will be graduating in March 2021.

We understand that graduating students and their family members must be disappointed to hear this announcement, as Commencement is one of the precious moments in students’ lives. Nevertheless, it is of our utmost importance that the graduates be prepared to embrace the next step in their lives in full health. Accordingly, we would like to ask for everyone’s kind understanding and cooperation.

AIU will contact all graduates who will participate in the ceremony separately with details, including information about how to participate and how to view the ceremony online for family members and friends.

Finally and most importantly, congratulations to you all!

Online Commencement Spring 2021
  • Date: Sunday, March 21
  • Time: 13:00 (JST)
  • Format: Online via Zoom
  • Participants: Graduates from the undergraduate and graduate programs in academic years 2019 and 2020.
Diplomas and Graduation Gifts for Alumni who graduated in Aug. 2019, Mar. 2020, or Aug. 2020

As the March 2021 graduation ceremony will be held online, we will not be able to hand out diplomas in the ceremony. We would like to send out the diplomas and graduation gifts to you by post.

If you have graduated in August 2019, March 2020, or August 2020, and have not yet received your diploma and graduation gifts, please click the link below and specify your shipping address.You must be logged in with your AIU email account to complete this form.

Shipping Address Form

The diploma and graduation gift will be sent from those who have applied and they will be sent by Sagawa Express for domestic delivery or EMS for overseas delivery.

If you will attend a regular graduation ceremony in the future, please bring your diploma with you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you very much for your continued cooperation.

Student Records
Tel: +81-18-886-5870
Email: studentrecords@gl.aiu.ac.jp

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Matriculation Ceremony in April 2021 -Added February 24, 2021-

AIU will be welcoming new students to reside on campus in the Spring 2021 Semester and all students will undergo a PCR test as well as a health observation period after arrival. Therefore, we have decided to hold the April 2021 Matriculation ceremony in the traditional face-to-face format (and partially online) for new students as well as AIU faculty and staff members while taking every necessary precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We understand that family and friends were also looking forward to participating in this ceremony, and we regret that we are unable to invite you to do so in person, but we ask for your kind understanding and cooperation.

AIU will contact all new students separately with details about the ceremony, including how to watch it online for those unable to attend in person.

Finally and most importantly, welcome to AIU!

In-person Matriculation Ceremony April 2021
  • Date: Sunday, April 11
  • Time: 11:00 (JST)
  • Format: In-person at Suda Multi-Purpose Hall (Online for new graduate students and students not residing on campus)
  • Participants: Students to be matriculated in April 2021.

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Spring Semester 2021 Classes in the Professional Graduate School -Added February 4, 2021-

To all current graduate students and to prospective graduate students,

After careful consideration, we have decided that all classes in Spring Term 2021 in the Professional Graduate School of AIU will be held online. As you know, the Professional Graduate School of AIU believes in teaching through intensive classes centered on discussion and group work in order to nurture high-level professionals. However, due to the situation of the COVID-19 in Japan, including the extension of the declaration of a state of emergency, we do not expect that holding face-to-face graduate classes will be possible in the spring. As many of our international graduate students will not be allowed to travel to Japan, maintaining their involvement in the graduate courses requires that we provide online access. This, combined with the necessary limitations on classroom interactions due to health protocols, makes holding graduate courses online the best and safest option.

As for housing, since the spring semester classes will be online graduate students can take courses in their own residences. We will not be accepting applications for Graduate House for graduate students until we can resume face-to-face classes; so, if you wish to come to Akita, you will have to move into an off-campus apartment. In this case, you will be able to come to the campus by bus and use the library, cafeteria, graduate student office, and other on-campus facilities (although the number of available seats will be limited due to social distancing requirements).

Graduate students moving to Akita City from outside of the prefecture will be allowed to enter the campus after a two-week quarantine period to prevent infection. Students from both within and outside of the prefecture are required to apply for admission to the campus in advance.

This difficult decision was reached after careful consideration of all options. We hope for your understanding and will welcome your consideration and cooperation.

Yoshitaka Kumagai, Vice President

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Acceptance of Undergraduate Students for Spring Semester 2021 -Added January 29, 2021-

Dear Students,

From January 9th to 11th, we welcomed about 90 freshman students to our AIU campus. It was good to see the windows of the Global Village rooms finally lit up again in the evenings. It has been good to have students on our campus again after such a long time. I’m happy to report that, despite the declaration of a state of emergency and a bout of record breaking heavy snowfall in Akita, all students scheduled to travel to our campus were able to safely arrive and check into their apartments at AIU. After a week of observation and quarantine, we are also happy to report that no student arrived with an infection and AIU is still free of COVID-19 cases. We are expecting that all of our students will follow all the necessary safety and health guidelines and that AIU will remain infection free. I would like to thank all the students and their families for their understanding and cooperation in accommodating all of our necessary safety protocols.

Today, I would like to inform you about the acceptance of students to AIU campus for Spring Semester 2021. Our plan is to invite to campus those students who began their enrollment at AIU in the years 2021, 2020, and from the fall of 2019. These students will be accommodated in our campus housing and dormitories. The rooms will only be single occupancy, though bath and lavatory facilities will be shared at Komachi Dormitory and at Sakura Village. In addition, we will have strict protocols regarding PCR testing, a one-week observation period upon arrival, and various other infection prevention measures. Living in the Komachi Dormitory is required for our first-year students; however, if you have concerns regarding your health status, please consult with us beforehand.

Though, ideally, we would like to have all of our AIU students back on campus, it is simply not possible at this time. We must limit the number to allow for the necessary social distancing and single occupancy rules suggested by medical experts. Having such necessary restrictions provides the best options to preserve the safety and health of all the members of our AIU community. I hope junior and senior students will not be discouraged by this decision as, for junior students, there will be higher chances for study abroad or internship opportunities. For senior students, staying home might provide you with some advantages as you engage in your job searches, which we understand might take longer this year. In addition, I am confident that we will be able to celebrate a commencement ceremony for senior students on campus in spring 2022.

The lecture format for the spring semester will be a mixture of "face-to-face classes," "parallel classes (face-to-face and online classes running at the same time)," and "online classes," which will be flexibly offered according to the enrollment status, among other factors, for each course. The lecture format for each course will be decided and announced in early March. In addition, junior and senior students may, if they wish, rent an apartment in Akita City and commute to AIU to take classes. For those students, it may be possible to attend classes in person, depending on the courses they are taking. To do this, they would have to follow strict health and safety guidelines just as those students who are living on campus.

In all cases, we will continue to prioritize your health and well-being, and will take flexible and creative measures to provide you with study programs that will not interfere with your job hunting or graduation schedules. At the same time, we will continue to make every effort to reach a point where we can welcome all of you back to campus. With your understanding and cooperation, we shall get through this emergency together.

Yoshitaka Kumagai, Vice President

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President Suzuki's New Year's Message to Students -Added January 4, 2021-

Dear AIU Students

Happy New Year!

Last year, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the campus was closed, the graduation ceremony was postponed, the entrance ceremony, lectures for the spring and fall semesters, as well as the university festival went online, and study abroad programs were cancelled. However, thanks to your patience and cooperation, we have been able to start the New Year without any students suffering from a COVID-19 infection. I would like to express my gratitude once again for your efforts to follow health guidelines.

As you know, the spread of COVID-19 has been unstoppable, with many infected people and, unfortunately, deaths continuing to occur every day in Japan and the rest of the world. In addition, a mutated form of the virus has recently been confirmed, and the situation is unpredictable. I have experienced many challenges in my life, but I must say that this is a once-in-a-century situation that is having an enormous impact on the economy, culture, sports, education, and daily life around the world. For the past 9 months, AIU has been working hard to find the best solution to overcome these difficulties, and I am very proud of all our AIU students, as I see through the online classes and the university festival that you continue to move forward with strong spirits even in these times of emergency.

On the 9th of January, 91 freshman students who have never set foot on campus since enrolling at AIU will move into our on-campus apartments. Accepting students on campus was an extremely difficult decision to make as the infection continues to spread, but we made it based on the desire of the freshman to stay on campus, the fact that we have established robust infection prevention measures at AIU, and the reality that we now have a well-developed medical system for COVID-19 treatment in Akita. The first thing we need to do is to get through this winter program without any infections. Based on the experience we will gain, if everything is going well, we should be able to accept more students from this coming spring semester onward. In order to accomplish this, we will need the cooperation of not only those who will live on campus, but also those who will commute to school and those who are staying in Japan and abroad, which basically means every one of you. During the fall semester, I had the opportunity to participate in several online social events organized by students, and I strongly felt that you are not alone. You are all connected and these connections, I feel, will be the power to support AIU as we move into this unpredictable future.

As the Vice President and I have mentioned several times in our previous messages to you, how you spend your time during this difficult period is very important. Let's find ways to live positively and creatively, and let's connect together and overcome these difficulties by demonstrating the power of the liberal arts and the strength of the AIU SPIRIT.

In some countries around the world, vaccinations against COVID-19 have begun, and it is reported that some vaccinations will begin in Japan as early as February. Although there are still some uncertainties, we can say that we are finally seeing the light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

The battle against COVID-19 will continue this year. However, 2021 will surely be better than last year, so let's go forward with a refreshed spirit. Please take care of your health and spend your days with strong hearts and minds.

President, Norihiko Suzuki DBA

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Gradual Acceptance of Students into Campus -Added October 23, 2020-

Dear Students,

AIU started the Fall 2020 Semester entirely online, but we understand that for students who were looking forward to campus life ? especially new students ? it has been truly disappointing that they have not been able to interact with friends, faculty members, and staff on campus.

However, I ask you all to remember in your heart that the strong will to face this unprecedented difficulty and draw on your own strength to continue your studies is what we consider to be the AIU SPIRIT. Please continue to work closely with the faculty and staff members at AIU to move forward with your academic goals and graduation plan.

Recently, the COVID-19 infection situation has risen and fallen and the infection levels remain high throughout Japan, so we must not let down our guard. However, since Japan has made progress in strengthening its medical and insurance infrastructure, we can assert that the country is in a state of phased restoration of social and economic activity, while also maintaining solid infection prevention measures.
Additionally, Akita Prefecture had previously issued a strong warning to all residents to refrain from traveling across prefectural borders, particularly to major metropolitan areas around Tokyo and other locations where COVID-19 infections were spreading rapidly. However, in October, the prefecture ended this warning and declared its plan to support economic recovery simultaneously with its response to COVID-19.

Since AIU decided in August to conduct the Fall 2020 Semester entirely online, we have continued to keep a close watch on the COVID-19 infection rate situation as well as social conditions and to discuss how to return to a normal campus environment, while also preventing further spread of infection, as early as possible.
Since AIU is a residential campus that welcomes students from around the country, we must consider the health and safety of students as well as faculty and staff members, so any decision involves a high degree of risk. However, at this time AIU has decided to allow students to return to campus in phases, in order to meet students’ desire to the greatest degree possible while also minimizing the risks.

We will begin welcoming students to campus with the start of the Winter Program in January 2021, starting with first-year degree-seeking students, who would be required to live on campus under normal circumstances. In this case, from a structural perspective, we will avoid using the Komachi Hall Dormitory and students will instead be housed in Global Village, in principle, with one student per room. However, please be aware that there are still uncertain factors influencing the time period for returning to campus such as the possible simultaneous spread of influenza. Additionally, we ask your kind understanding that this means that we are unable to welcome second-year students and above or exchange students to reside on campus during the academic year ending in March 2020. We intend to make a decision about residing on campus during the Spring 2021 Semester at the end of January based on the developing situation at that time.

In principle, courses during the Winter Program will be held online. However, if the situation allows and there are courses in which all registered students are first-year students living on campus, we may consider holding a portion of those courses in person. We will make a decision on the format of Spring 2021 Semester courses later, based on the developing situation, but we are currently considering offering online and parallel courses.

Additionally, beginning in November, AIU has decided to reopen some facilities to students’ use, including the library and cafeteria, with the condition that students using the facilities have not left Akita Prefecture within the preceding two-week period, and will continue to open other facilities progressively. Specific details will be sent separately. While AIU will make every effort in our power to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff as well as to fulfill our responsibility to our local community to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, we are also committed to providing our students with a fulfilling student life experience. We ask all students’ cooperation as well in maintaining awareness of your social responsibility and taking all appropriate measures to prevent the spread of infection while experiencing a meaningful campus life at AIU.

Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University

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Changes to Akita International University Spring 2020 Semester Format

Up to this point, Akita International University had planned to welcome new students to campus on April 1 and start classes on April 9. However, due to the significant changes throughout the world due to the WHO-declared COVID-19 pandemic, AIU will start the Spring 2020 Semester on Monday, April 20, and will conduct the entire semester online via distance education.

Because of this change, all students, including new students and international students, are expected to enroll in courses from their homes, in principle.

AIU had made every possible effort to be able to receive you on campus and provide a safe and secure environment here for your studies. However, since AIU’s student body comes from around the country and the world, and all students live together in shared housing, participate in small, interactive classes, extensive group work, and a variety of activities both on and off campus, the risk of COVID-19 spreading rapidly on campus would be particularly high. Additionally, we have already seen many of our partner universities across Asia, Europe, and North America move their coursework to online, distance education to enable students to continue their studies in a safe environment. In order to maintain our student exchange relationships, AIU has determined to offer the same service so that students enrolling here can take courses in a safe environment.

Once the ongoing situation has settled we look forward to welcoming students to campus once again, and providing the same experience of shared living and studying, as well as our usual lesson format. However, since students’ health must be our top priority, we have had to reach this very difficult decision for the Spring 2020 Semester. We ask your kind understanding.

More information about course registration and enrolling in online distance learning courses will be provided separately, as soon as possible.

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Q&A for Exchange and Study Abroad Students about Spring 2020

Orientation
Question: Will there be an orientation for new students?

Answer:AIU is not going to have a regular orientation where all the new students gather together. Instead new exchange/study abroad students will receive the orientation materials digitally that will help them prepare to start their studies at AIU.

New students will be given a student identification number and a university email address. Students will be receiving their student identification numbers and email addresses by email to the personal email address they submitted in the online applications. All further communications from AIU will go to their AIU email addresses. The email will be sent on April 1st. Using the student ID number and email address, students will be able to access the AIU web system (ATOMS), the class registration system, and the university online learning system known as AIMS. The mailing will give students exact steps to take to log into the systems. So, students should pay attention to their emails and make sure that they carefully read all messages from AIU as soon as they receive them early in April.

Enrolling in Online Courses
Question: How will the online courses be conducted?

Answer: There will be a hybrid system of course delivery. In some cases students will be interacting with their instructors and fellow students simultaneously. In other cases there will be what we call an asynchronous course delivery where students will, for example, watch a prerecorded lecture and respond to questions about the lecture before a set deadline.

Question: If I don’t have a computer, do I need to purchase one?

Answer: A computer is essential for enrolling in online courses, writing essays, creating presentations, and other academic tasks. Therefore, AIU asks all students to purchase or secure a computer for their use both for their immediate studies and for their future study abroad programs. The computer model must be equipped with a web camera and a microphone, so if your computer does not already have these devices included, please purchase them separately. Please see below for the recommended specifications for purchasing a new computer. However, if you already own a computer, it is not necessary to purchase a new one:

Minimum Required Specifications
  • CPU: Intel Core i3 or above, AMD Ryzen 3 and above
  • Memory: 8GB or above
  • Internal Memory SSD 250GB and above (no HDD)
  • Internal Web Camera and Microphone are recommended or external ones connected via a USB connection
Recommended Specifications
  • Able to output visuals by HDMI or via an adapter
  • Minimum 3 year warranty
Question: Do I need access to the Internet for my courses?

Answer: All students will need to have access to a stable, high speed, Internet connection to view lecture videos and take part in video-based online meetings by the time classes begin. Students using mobile data connections should be sure to have unlimited data access.

Question: How will the academic calendar be impacted?

Answer: An updated academic calendar was posted on the AIU website on March 26. Please refer to that calendar for more information.

Question: What happens to the class schedule?

Answer: The class schedule is based on Japanese Time (GMT+9, no daylight savings) and classes will be held according to the Japanese time zone. Some courses or lessons may be provided via pre-recorded materials, etc., that you can view at a time of your choosing, but please assume that most classes will be broadcast live and that attendance will be required. Students enrolling in courses from other time zones should be sure to consider the time difference when selecting their courses and scheduling their days.

The specific delivery method (live, pre-recorded, etc.) for each class can be found on the course' online syllabus or in the AIMS page for that course. Please be sure to check both. Japanese language courses for international students are intended for students outside of Japan, so the actual class time will be decided for each course with attention to the time zones of the registered students. Please note that for Japanese language courses, the time in the class schedule is not final.

Question: How should I purchase textbooks for my classes?

Answer: Please purchase your textbooks through an online, local, or home university bookstore. Further information about textbook sales will be provided via ATOMS and email to students’ AIU email accounts.

AIU Support and Facilities
Question: Will exchange/study abroad students have access to an academic advisor at AIU?

Answer: Yes. All new and continuing students will be assigned an academic advisor. More information about your academic advisor will be provided prior to the start of classes.

Question: Must I leave and stay away from the AIU campus?

Answer: Yes. Students should depart and not return to the AIU campus. All students have already received instructions about departing campus from the Office of Student Affairs or the Center for International Affairs.

Question: What happens to the rent when you move away from campus?

Answer: The Center for International Affairs has already contacted all exchange and study abroad students about their enrollment for the spring semester and refund eligibility. Students should be sure to follow up according to the instructions in that message.

Question: I would like to come back to the AIU to retrieve my personal items from my dorm room, may I do so?

Answer: As visiting the AIU campus and campus facilities is prohibited for the time being, you are not allowed to come to campus for any reason, even for retrieving your belongings left in your room.

In case you left any items in your room that are necessary for the start of the class, the university will send them to you. Please contact the Housing and Student Facilities Team of the Division of Student Affairs by email.

Question: Are the library and LDIC available for student use during the spring semester?

Answer: Campus facilities cannot be used during the Spring 2020 Semester. However, e-resources such as e-books and online journals that can be accessed online from your home, as well as online services like Rosetta Stone and Grammarly, will still be available.

Student Life Activities
Question: Can students still participate in club activities?

Answer: Those club activities that may be conducted online are encouraged, but any club activities where students physically gather together are not permitted.

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Q&A for New Degree-Seeking Students about Spring 2020

To new students and to their parents:

To our new students we offer congratulations on passing the AIU entrance examination. Before entering our university we know that our new students are probably spending their days with a mixture of expectation and nervousness.

On March 19th a decision was made by the AIU president that our 2020 spring semester courses would be delivered online using distance education teaching methods. Further, it was decided that our courses would commence on April 20th. Lastly, it was decided that our dormitories will remain closed during the entire 2020 spring term. These decisions might surprise our students as they were expecting to join us in Akita, at AIU, at our beautiful, forested campus. At the same time, students might feel anxious about these decisions.

As President Suzuki stated in his announcement of these decisions, AIU was planning to receive about 130 international students from our affiliated schools around the world, as well as about 200 freshmen from all over Japan. We had intended to start their international liberal arts educations on campus. It is an educational curriculum that encourages the growth of individuals through both academics and extracurricular activities.

However, and unfortunately, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly since the beginning of the year. Of particular concern are “cluster infections.” Cluster infections occur in environments where the virus spreads quickly through a segment of the population or an isolated group. As AIU is a residential university where students from around the world gather to study and live together, the risk of a cluster infection is much higher for the AIU community in comparison to a typical Japanese university. If one student is infected, the infection could easily spread throughout the university community. Additionally, in the case of even one infection, AIU would have to isolate all the students, faculty, and staff and disinfect all the classrooms, dormitory rooms and common areas, and the cafeteria. To accomplish this, the university would have to close. The impact on our students, faculty, and staff would be enormous. The decisions of President Suzuki were based on an understanding of these circumstances and were made for the sake of the university’s mission to provide a safe and enriching study environment. We ask for your understanding.

We know that some students might be worried that this switch to online courses in the 2020 spring semester might not allow them to accumulate enough credit hours to maintain their timelines for study abroad or graduation. We can assure them that they will receive enough credits in the spring term to maintain their schedules for study abroad and graduation. Additionally, they might wonder about their ability to learn the content and improve their academic skills through online courses. Everyone should rest assured that AIU is preparing diligently to deliver the best quality of education through online formats.

The spread of the coronavirus is filling the world with anxiety and confusion. But having the wherewithal to overcoming this type of hardship is a quality that we want our AIU students to develop. We want our students to be steadfast and ambitious in pursuit of their educations.

We know that you have questions regarding the courses and classes. Below, we have listed some of them along with our answers. As we receive more questions, we will provide more answers. We want you to have all the answers and information that you need in order to be secure in your understanding of the path AIU is taking and how instruction will take place during the spring semester.

Sincerely,
Prof. Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University

Questions and Answers:

Question: How will the online courses be conducted?
Answer: There will be a hybrid system of course delivery. In some cases, students will be interacting with their instructors and fellow students simultaneously. In other cases, there will be what we call an asynchronous course delivery where students will, for example, watch a prerecorded lecture and respond to questions about the lecture before a set deadline. Regardless of the format, students will be given a student number and a university email address via regular mail. The mailing will be sent out on April 1st. Using the student number and email address, a student will be able to access the AIU ATOMS web system, the class registration system, and the university online learning system known as AIMS. The mailing will give students exact steps to take to log into the systems. So, students should pay attention to the mail and make sure that they open the mailing from AIU as soon as they receive it early in April.
Question: If I don’t have a computer, do I need to purchase one?

Answer: A computer is essential for enrolling in online courses, writing essays, creating presentations, and other academic tasks. Therefore, AIU asks all students to purchase or secure a computer for their use both for their immediate studies and for their future study abroad programs. The computer model must be equipped with a web camera and a microphone, so if your computer does not already have these devices included, please purchase them separately. Please see below for the recommended specifications for purchasing a new computer. However, if you already own a computer, it is not necessary to purchase a new one:

Minimum Required Specifications
  • CPU: Intel Core i3 or above, AMD Ryzen 3 and above
  • Memory: 8GB or above
  • Internal Memory SSD 250GB and above (no HDD)
  • Internal Web Camera and Microphone are recommended or external ones connected via a USB connection
Recommended Specifications
  • Able to output visuals by HDMI or via an adapter
  • Minimum 3 year warranty
Question: I do not have Wi-Fi or access to the Internet, what should I do?
Answer: All students will need to have access to a stable, high speed, Internet connection to view lecture videos and take part in video-based online meetings by the time classes begin. Students using mobile data connections should be sure to have unlimited data access.
Question: Is there any economic support from AIU in order to help me with getting a computer or an internet connection?
Answer: For those students who qualify for tuition reduction, as defined by Japanese law, AIU is currently exploring offering a non-interest university loan. Students will pay the loan back in the future but with no accrual of interest on the loan.
Question: How should I purchase textbooks?
Answer: For textbooks that were planned to be sold at the university, AIU is working with the textbook sales contractor so that students will be able to purchase textbooks online and have them delivered to their homes. Additionally, some courses have additional textbooks that must be purchased according to the directions of the course instructor. Please follow your instructor's guidance for purchase in those cases.
Question: The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program has several levels. How will I be placed in my level?
Answer: Students will be divided into their ability levels in the EAP based on their submitted language assessment scores from a recent language assessment (TOEFL ITPR and others) of no more than 12 months old, an essay that they will complete in early April, and for a few students, a possible online interview.
Question: Are we able to do some class discussions with our classmates?
Answer: Yes, at some points in the EAP courses, students will be encouraged, and able to, have discussions with their classmates and interact with their teachers. Before classes begin, we will be sending a list of specifications to allow students to interact with one another and their teachers via online formats.
Question: Will students be able to stay in the AIU dormitories after the spring semester?
Answer: If the situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) allows, AIU would like to open the dormitories and go back to normal, face-to-face classes at the beginning of the fall semester. We want students to be able to enjoy a normal campus life as soon as considerations of safety make it possible.
Question: Will online classes help me to improve my English skills enough to continue on with my academic studies?
Answer: Yes, students can improve their English skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening through online classes. If they feel they need extra skill development, in the fall semester, the EAP will offer optional workshops to help them improve their skills. In addition, AIU has many facilities and resources to help them improve their English. We have the Language Development and Intercultural Studies Center (LDIC), the Academic Achievement Center (AAC), among other programs to help our students improve their language and academic abilities.

Additionally, students and parents should understand that the process of improvement in English and academic skills is something that takes place over the course of a student’s academic career at AIU and not only in the foundational courses of the English for Academic Purposes program.

Question: How will the academic calendar be impacted?
Answer: An updated academic calendar with the new course registration period and other information will be posted on the university website soon. Students will be informed by email when it is ready.
Question: Will there be an orientation for new students?
Answer: AIU is not going to have a regular orientation where all the new students gather together. Instead, new students will be sent the necessary informational materials that will help them prepare to start their studies at AIU. Orientation sessions regarding their campus life will be provided after arrival on campus.
Question: Will there be a matriculation ceremony for students starting in spring semester?
Answer: Provided that the COVID-19 situation has stabilized and it is safe to do so, AIU will hold the spring matriculation ceremony at the start of the fall semester.
Question: What happens to my dormitory and meal plan fees if I have already made my payments?
Answer: If students have already paid their dormitory and meal plan fees, they should not worry. AIU will apply these payments to the fall semester or later. Those students who have not yet paid their dormitory and meal plan fees for the spring semester should still pay by the deadline.
Question: How will the university provide scholarship information to each student?
Answer: The scholarship information will be provided in the document enclosed in the material package, which will be sent on April 1. We are also planning to have an online session later. Its schedule and details will be informed by email and ATOMS after April 1. Please keep yourself updated by checking your e-mail account and ATOMS after you become able to access your university email account and ATOMS.
Question: As for the Loan/Scholarship application for Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), how should l submit the "Notice of Reserved Recipient for JASSO Loan (「採用候補者決定通知(進学先提出用)」) " to the university?

Answer: Please submit it by post. When you fill out the back side of "Notice of Reserved Recipient for JASSO Loan/Scholarship「採用候補者決定通知(進学先提出用)」) ", please send it by post to the address below by no later than April 8. To avoid any delivery errors or loss, please send it by registered mail or equivalent service with a tracking number.

Mailing address:
Financial Aid
Division of Student Services, Office of Student Affairs
Akita International University
Okutsubakidai, Yuwa Tsubakigawa, Akita City
Akita 010-1292, Japan

Question: As for the Loan/Scholarship of Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), there are two categories depending on commuting styles. One is "commuting from home" and the other is "commuting other than (away from) home". Which category should I choose if courses are offered online? Should I choose “commuting from home” in this case? If so, is it possible for me to change it to "commuting form other than home" later when everything is back to normal in Fall semester?
Answer: For now, please choose "commuting from home". You can change the category to "commuting other than (away from) home" later, when you arrive on campus in Fall semester.
Question: I want to know how to apply for tuition reduction or exemption system by the Japanese government.
Answer: The information on reduction or exemption of tuition payment will be provided in the document enclosed in the material package, which will be sent on April 1. We are also planning to have an online session later. Its schedule and details will be informed by email and ATOMS after April 1. Please keep yourself updated by checking your e-mail account and ATOMS after you become able to access your university email account and ATOMS.
Question: Is there any change in tuition payment?
Answer: There is no change. The "Tuition Transfer Request Form" will be enclosed in the material package, which will be sent on April 1. Please pay it by the deadline. However, tuition payment will be deferred for those who will apply for reduction or exemption system. For the details of the application, please check your e-mail account and ATOMS provided above.

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Q&A for Continuing Degree-Seeking Students about Spring 2020

To AIU students and to their parents:

On March 19th President Suzuki announced the closing of all AIU dormitories for the 2020 spring term along with the postponement of the start of AIU classes to April 20th. Additionally, he explained that all AIU courses will be conducted online during the 2020 spring term.

As President Suzuki stated in his announcement of these decisions, AIU was planning to receive about 130 international students from our affiliated schools around the world, as well as about 200 freshman from all over Japan. We had intended to start their international liberal arts educations on campus.

However, and unfortunately, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly since the beginning of the year. Of particular concern are “cluster infections.” Cluster infections occur in environments where the virus spreads quickly through a segment of the population or an isolated group. As AIU is a residential university where students from around the world gather to study and live together, the risk of a cluster infection is much higher for the AIU community in comparison to a typical Japanese university. If one student is infected the infection could easily spread throughout the university community. Additionally, in the case of even one infection, AIU would have to isolate all the students, faculty, and staff and disinfect all the classrooms, dormitory rooms and common areas, and the cafeteria. To accomplish this, the university would have to close. The impact on our students, faculty, and staff would be enormous. The decisions of President Suzuki were based on an understanding of these circumstances and were made for the sake of the university’s mission to provide a safe and enriching study environment. We ask for your understanding.

Implementing online courses for the 2020 spring semester will allow AIU to support its students to stay on course for their graduations and employment without any disruptions. Also, we recognize that some students might be worried about the quality of their learning when it is done in an online format. Everyone should rest assured that AIU is preparing diligently to deliver the best quality of education through online formats.

The spread of the coronavirus is filling the world with anxiety and confusion. But having the wherewithal to overcoming this type of hardship is a quality that we want our AIU students to develop. We want our students to be steadfast and ambitious in pursuit of their educations.

We know that you have questions regarding the courses and classes. Below, we have listed some of them along with our answers. As we receive more questions, we will provide more answers. We want you to have all the answers and information that you need in order to be secure in your understanding of the path AIU is taking and how instruction will take place during the spring semester.

We have also provided additional, separate guidance directly to AIU students who are currently abroad.

Sincerely,
Prof. Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University

Questions and Answers:

Question: How will the online courses be conducted?
Answer: There will be a hybrid system of course delivery. In some cases students will be interacting with their instructors and fellow students simultaneously. In other cases there will be what we call asynchronous course delivery where students will, for example, watch a prerecorded lecture and respond to questions about the lecture before a set deadline. Regardless of the format, students will need to access the AIU ATOMS and AIMS. Please pay attention to the upcoming information regarding the details on the procedure.
Question: I don’t have a computer, do I need to purchase one?

Answer: A computer is essential for enrolling in online courses, writing essays, creating presentations, and other academic tasks. Therefore, AIU asks all students to purchase or secure a computer for their use both for their immediate studies and for their future study abroad programs. The computer model must be equipped with a web camera and a microphone, so if your computer does not already have these devices included, please purchase them separately. Please see below for the recommended specifications for purchasing a new computer. However, if you already own a computer, it is not necessary to purchase a new one:

Minimum Required Specifications
  • CPU: Intel Core i3 or above, AMD Ryzen 3 and above
  • Memory: 8GB or above
  • Internal Memory SSD 250GB and above (no HDD)
  • Internal Web Camera and Microphone are recommended or external ones connected via a USB connection
Recommended Specifications
  • Able to output visuals by HDMI or via an adapter
  • Minimum 3 year warranty
Question: Do I need access to the Internet for my courses?
Answer: All students will need to have access to a stable, high speed, Internet connection to view lecture videos and take part in video-based online meetings by the time classes begin. Students using mobile data connections should be sure to have unlimited data access.
Question: Is there any economic support from AIU in order to help me with getting a computer or an internet connection?
Answer: For those students who qualify for tuition reduction, as defined by Japanese law, AIU is currently exploring offering a non-interest university loan. Students will pay the loan back in the future but with no accrual of interest on the loan.
Question: How should I purchase textbooks for my classes?
Answer: For textbooks that were planned to be sold at the university, AIU is working with the textbook sales contractor so that students will be able to purchase textbooks online and have them delivered to their homes. Additionally, some courses have additional textbooks that must be purchased according to the directions of the course instructor. Please follow your instructor's guidance for purchase in those cases.
Question: Must I leave and stay away from the AIU campus?
Answer: Yes. Students should depart and not return to the AIU campus. the cases with students who do not have their residence in Japan (including all exchange/study abroad students), students whose residence is in an area where there is an ongoing spread of COVID-19, or other students who have other special circumstances will be discussed and dealt with individually. Please wait for a follow-up email to be sent from the AIU Office of Student Affairs (Degree-Seeking Students) or the AIU Center for International Affairs (Exchange/Study Abroad Students).
Question: What happens to the rent when you move away from campus?
Answer: We did not collect the rent for March and April even if students left their personal items in their rooms. If students have already paid for March or later months their rent payments will be applied to the fall semester or later semesters. If students do not return to live in the dormitory in the fall semester, AIU will refund these dormitory fees.
Question: I would like to come back to the AIU to retrieve my personal items from my dorm room, may I do so?

Answer: As visiting the AIU campus and campus facilities is prohibited for the time being, you are not allowed to come to campus for any reason, even for retrieving your belongings left in your room.

In case you left any items in your room that are necessary for the start of the class, the university will send them to you. Please contact the Housing and Student Facilities Team of the Division of Student Affairs by email.

Question: How will the academic calendar be impacted?
Answer: An updated academic calendar with the new course registration period and other information will be posted on the university website soon. Students will be informed by email when it is ready
Question: Must students who live off campus return to their hometowns?
Answer: No, they do not need to do so. All students may access the online courses from their current lodgings off campus.
Question: Are the library, classrooms, or graduate students' rooms available for student use during the spring term?
Answer: In general, no, these facilities cannot be used. However, e-resources such as e-books and online journals that can be accessed online from your home will still be available.
Question: What happens to the class schedule?
Answer: In general. the original schedule will be followed; however, there might be adjustments in the case of individual courses and classes depending on the delivery format and according to the syllabus.
Question: Can students still participate in club activities?
Answer: Those club activities that may be conducted online are encouraged, but any club activities where students physically gather together are not permitted.
Question: What will happen to TOEFLR-ITP and other English language examinations?
Answer: We are not able to conduct language proficiency tests during the spring term. We will consider scheduling tests if the situation with COVID-19 allows.

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Operation of the Fall 2020 Semester and Matriculation Ceremony

Dear Students,

Thanks to your positive attitudes our spring semester online courses were successfully completed. You have been patient and continued your studies in the face of this unprecedented, world-wide, emergency. I am proud of all of you.

Regarding the fall semester, we announced on July 3rd that our tentative plan was to accept our new students and some of our current students to live on campus. Further, we stated that we were hoping to offer our courses online, parallel, and also in-person. Since that time, and especially from mid-July, the number of new COVID-19 infections has sharply increased. Due to this circumstance, and in consultation with medical professionals, we have decided to continue to have a closed campus from September to December. Further, we will continue to offer our courses only online.

Under the current set of circumstances, even with less than half of our normal student population living on campus, it would be a hazardous situation. We would be accepting students from all over the country, and we would have student from areas, and traveling through areas, that have been impacted by this surge in infections. We do not want to put anyone at risk. Additionally, on August 3rd, the Governor of Akita Prefecture issued a travel advisory, cautioning anyone from traveling across prefectural borders, and especially from visiting, or traveling from, regions such as the Tokyo Metropolitan area, that are currently impacted by the spread of COVID-19 infections. Given all of these circumstances, we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to continue to have a closed campus and only online classes.

For those of you who were looking forward to life on the AIU campus, especially our new students, we know that it is unfortunate that you won’t be able to meet in person with your friends and professors at AIU. It is especially painful to think of our seniors who will be graduating without being able to return to spend their last semester at their favorite campus. We hoped until the last moment that we could welcome some students back to campus. However, the surge in infections has forced us to change our plans.

In the week prior to our original July 3rd announcement, the national infection rate was 125 new infections per day. From July 27th to August 2nd, the infection rate jumped to 1227 new infections per day. With the infection rate increasing to ten times the earlier number, we had no choice but to act and change our original plan. Your health and safety and the health and safety of our faculty and staff must be our priorities. Additionally, we must understand that AIU is a public institution and we have a social responsibility to make sure that no infections spread from our campus to the Akita community.

Our top concerns remain to secure the safety of everyone and to continue to provide a stable and excellent educational program. In addition, we will continue to foster initiatives and regional exchanges in collaboration with our overseas partner universities. We will use the best of the online learning environment to help you continue to achieve your academic goals and fulfill your personal objectives.

Please be aware that our fall classes will start from Monday, September 7th, as scheduled. Additionally, our September 6th matriculation ceremony will be held online.

As we start on our summer vacation, it is my hope that you will take some time to relax and to refresh yourselves. Please enjoy the summer holiday as best you can, and within the bounds of social distancing. Be attentive to your health and safety. Though it may take a while for the pandemic to come to an end, I would like you to continue to move forward with your studies and your lives. I know that, working together, we will never let the challenges of the current situation defeat us.

Sincerely,

Norihiko Suzuki
President
Akita International University

Changes to the Operation of the Fall 2020 Matriculation Ceremony

  • Date and Time: Sunday, September 6, 2020, 11:00 am
  • Venue: Online via Zoom
  • Participants: Students who enrolled in April 2020 or September 2020, exchange students who are enrolled in the Fall 2020 Semester.
  • Program (Provisional): Matriculation of New Students, President’s Address, Speech by Representative of New Students, etc.

Notes

  • The fall semester is scheduled to start on Monday, September 7th.
  • Further details about the ceremony will be provided to participants separately.

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Message to Fall 2020 Inbound Exchange Students

Dear Fall 2020 Incoming and Continuing Exchange Students and Partner Institutions,

Greetings from Akita International University.

Cancellation of In-person Mobility for Fall 2020 Semester

I regret to inform you that Akita International University has made the difficult decision to cancel all of our inbound and outbound student mobility programs for the Fall 2020 Semester. While we will not be able to welcome you to Akita this fall, we have also decided to offer some of our courses online and make them available to you.

We are painfully aware that you were looking forward to your in-person exchange experience at Akita International University and the community and experiences here. We, too, wanted to take every opportunity to make this possible for you and for the past several weeks, we have been collecting and analyzing information from reliable sources to see if there was any possibility to welcome you to Akita. However, that information eventually led us to this challenging decision.

While we have seen that several countries have started developing and testing drugs to combat the virus, the process of testing, then creating production and distribution systems to ensure widespread availability is anticipated to take until the end of the year at earliest. Additionally, while research is proceeding on producing a vaccine, that process requires even more careful testing and development, so the earliest projections for general availability is next year. The WHO has also stated that the pandemic situation is expected to continue for some time, and has pointed out that some areas of the world are still at risk of a rapid growth in infections.

Some countries in Europe and North America, in particular, have begun implementing phased resumption of core economic activities, but it is not yet possible to predict their outcomes or make decisions based on them. Many experts are still predicting a second or third wave of infections and a long battle to come. In light of this situation, as of May 16, Japan will have immigration prohibitions in place against 100 countries and regions around the world, including nearly every country where we have partner universities. Under these circumstances, we cannot be sure when it will be become possible to welcome international students to Japan again.

Based on this uncertain situation, we have determined that we unfortunately cannot guarantee a safe and fulfilling study abroad experience for students in the Fall 2020 Semester.

Fall 2020 Virtual Study Abroad: Online Courses for Exchange Students

AIU has decided to offer a select group of courses online during the Fall 2020 Semester and to make them available to students from our partner universities who had applied for the fall semester. Japanese language courses as well as some content courses will be available.

Students participating in our fall 2020 virtual exchange will also be able to participate in virtual student life activities, which have already started in the spring semester.

The Center for International Affairs will be continuing with the screening of mobility applications for the Fall 2020 Semester. Students who are interested in enrolling in our Fall 2020 Semester courses as exchange students should continue with their application procedures. Your exchange coordinators will be in touch with you after this message with further details about your options and the specific procedures based on your enrollment and application status.

Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented danger. I hope you all join with me in believing that we will be able to overcome this challenge. We must all consider the post-COVID-19 world, what it will be like, what actions and behaviors we must take to adapt, and how we can prepare. This is also a period of unprecedented potential for growth. To that end, I hope that you all continue your studies and prepare to make a strong, positive impact on our world.

Best Regards,
Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University

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Message to Spring 2021 Outbound Exchange Students

Dear Students Planning to Study Abroad in Spring 2021,

I am writing today with an important announcement about Spring 2021 Study Abroad.

AIU has been collecting information about the global situation, including assessments from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; infection rates, immigration restrictions, and visa processing limitations in our partner universities’ countries; international flight availability; as well as the decisions of our partner universities in preparation for resuming in-person student exchange in January 2021 or later. However, at this time we have determined that in-person study abroad is not possible at almost all of our partner universities.

At this time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued an Infection Risk Level 3: Do Not Travel warning for all of your study abroad destination countries and regions. Many countries, including the USA, the UK, France, and others are continuing to see an increase in infections and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Additionally, many countries have imposed immigration restrictions or limitations against travelers from Japan or suspended processing of visa applications.

On the other hand, Japanese news media has reported that the government has started to consider lowering the Infection Risk Level for a few countries to Level 2: Avoid Non-Emergency, Unnecessary Travel, and there is a possibility of changes in the government’s stance moving forward. We will handle decisions related to these countries on an individual basis. However, since the emergence of COVID-19, AIU’s decision standard has been our mandate to secure the safety of the AIU community and to continue to provide a stable and excellent educational program, so we must carefully consider our approach to countries and regions at Infection Risk Level 2. Please understand that regardless of whether or not the Japanese government lowers its Infection Risk Level, there is a possibility that your study abroad country or university may refuse to accept international students, so we will continue to follow this information closely.

We recognize that some of you consider graduating in four years to be your top priority, while others have a strong desire to study abroad in person, even if it means delaying your graduation. We believe that AIU ought to respond flexibly to your various individual situations, so we have considered several options to present to you. For students who wish to prioritize graduation, in this emergency situation AIU will exempt you from your one-year study abroad graduation requirement if you complete one of the following Study Abroad Alternatives: A “Virtual Study Abroad” during the Spring 2021 semester or an “Independent Study: Study Abroad Alternative” approved by AIU. At this time, we do not know when or where it will be possible to study abroad in person again, but once it is possible to do so, AIU will provide students who have completed one of the Study Abroad Alternatives above with the opportunity to study abroad in person on exchange for a semester. Additionally, for students who want to participate in a full year of study abroad by any means necessary, you may also choose to withdraw your study abroad application and apply again for study abroad for the Fall 2021 Semester or later.

Although study abroad in person in spring 2021 is not possible, studying abroad in person is not the only way to prepare yourself to become a person who can succeed at an international level. I encourage you to keep an open mind to every opportunity you have, including participation in the study abroad alternatives, to advance your international studies and participate in activities that contribute to your future goals. In this time, while the whole world is facing an unprecedented danger, we must all fully dedicate ourselves to accomplishing what we can do now, while keeping our top priority on preserving our life and health. Let us all overcome the global crisis that is COVID-19 together.

Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University

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Message to Fall 2020 Outbound Exchange Students

Dear Students who Were Planning to Study Abroad in Fall 2020,

I am reaching out to you today with an important announcement about fall 2020 study abroad.

I regret to inform you that AIU has decided to cancel all Fall 2020 Semester outbound and inbound study abroad. We are painfully aware of how important the one-year study abroad experience is to all of you and how much you were looking forward to it. For this reason, we have spent the last several weeks collecting and analyzing information from reliable sources to see if there was any possibility to operate or study abroad program until the last possible moment. However, that information led us to this challenging decision.

While we have seen that several countries have started developing and testing drugs to combat the virus, the process of testing, then creating production and distribution systems to ensure widespread availability is anticipated to take until the end of the year at earliest. Additionally, while research is proceeding on producing a vaccine, that process requires even more careful testing and development, so the earliest projections for general availability is next year.

We have also seen that some countries have begun implementing phased resumption of core economic activities, but recently in the cases of Germany and South Korea, that has already led to an increase in infections, so we cannot predict the final impact of these measures. In fact, many experts are still predicting a second or third wave of infections and a long battle to come.

Countries around the world are still implementing strict measures on movement and, as of May 14, 184 countries and regions currently still have immigration restrictions in place against Japanese citizens and persons traveling from Japan. Some countries are not processing visa applications for Japanese citizens and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not lowered its Infectious Disease Risk Level 3 (Do not travel) warning in place for countries where AIU’s partner universities are located. We are also aware that many of our partner universities have already announced that they will not accept exchange students for the Fall 2020 Semester.

It is possible that over the coming summer, some countries will get the domestic COVID-19 situation under control and return to a relatively normal way of life. There may be some people who think that it would be safe to continue student exchange to those countries. However, if the predicted second or third wave of infections strikes those countries, we could once again find ourselves in a situation like February and March of this year, when all of our students had to return suddenly to Japan in a very difficult situation. Additionally, we have seen in other countries that the mortality rate from COVID-19 is particularly high, and that medical institutions have been overwhelmed. Please understand that your health and safety are most important to us, so we are not able to send you abroad into such a high-risk situation.

Experts around the world have stated that we are facing an unprecedented danger. While you unfortunately will not be able to participate in study abroad this coming semester, we are certain that you will also have the opportunity for personal, global experience abroad in the future. For now, though, the most important thing is to protect your lives and safety, focus on what is possible in the current situation, and use this time to establish the skills and ability to face the challenges of the future. 

Best Regards,
Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University

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Information for AIU Graduates

Postponement of Spring Graduation and Matriculation Ceremonies

In light of the current spread of COVID-19, the March 2020 Graduation and Completion Ceremony as well as the April 2020 Matriculation Ceremony will be postponed until a later date. The university is currently considering another schedule for the postponed ceremonies, which will be announced as soon as it is decided. For more information, please see President Suzuki's announcement here.

Delivery of diplomas and Certificate of Graduation/Completion

Diplomas

Diplomas will be given to students at the postponed Graduation/Completion ceremony, whose schedule will be decided later. However, if you need them earlier, please apply for it using this form by 5:00 P.M. on Friday, March 6.

If you do not need Diploma earlier and are willing to attend the postponed ceremonies (including undecided to attend the ceremonies),

  • Your diploma will be kept at the university and given at the ceremonies.
  • In the case you become unable to attend the ceremonies, your diploma will be sent to the address you have provided.

Certificate for Graduation/Completion

Certificate for Graduation/Completion (2 copies in Japanese) will be sent to all students who graduate or complete in March 2020. In case you applied for extra copies of certificate(s), documents will be sent along with the 2 copies of certificates in Japanese.

Please apply for extra copies of your certificates using this form.
*If you have already applied for it, you do not have to apply for it again.

Teaching Certificate

The university will send Teaching Certificate to all Students (including students who graduated in August) who applied for the certificate.

Official Transcript

If you wish to receive transcripts, please apply using this form by 5:00 P.M. on Friday, March 6.

All documents will be sent to the address you specify in the forms on Monday, March 23. The university will bear the cost of postage.

If you have any questions about receiving diploma and certificates, please contact the Division of Student Records at studentrecords@aiu.ac.jp

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