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