Sep 17 2020

Start of the 2020 fall semester

To: Registered students and their families

Meiji Gakuin University will start its 2020 fall semester on September 21, as scheduled. Fall semester courses will be conducted as a combination of face-to-face and online learning.

When conducting fall semester courses, the University will follow two core guidelines:
1.At Meiji Gakuin University, we consider face-to-face classes as the basis of university education, so as many courses as possible will utilize face-to-face classes.
2.Because it is impossible to predict how the COVID-19 situation will develop, we will not force any students or faculty to come to campus.

In order to proceed under both guidelines while maintaining social distancing, during the fall semester we will reduce facility occupancy by approximately one-thirds (using only one in three classroom seats).

Note that to determine how to best become a university in this “with-Coronavirus” era, during the summer break we conducted simulations of school commutes, class and break schedules, timing for extracurricular activities, etc., and prepared facility environments for campus utilization. Measures for preventing new infections include the creation of disinfectant solution stations, providing equipment for self-measurements of body temperature, partitioning of reception desks, lounges, and the Pallet Zone, establishment of spaces for eating, and improved facilities for cleaning, ventilation, and hand-washing.

Regarding information environment facilities, to improve the campus Wi-Fi environment we newly added dozens of new terminals across the Yokohama and Shirokane campuses, better allowing students to participate in online classes while on campus. We also expanded dedicated classroom AV equipment to allow online streaming of face-to-face classes. We furthermore created an on-campus studio for streaming of classes, greatly increasing the number of classes that can be recorded for online viewing.

Compared to spring semester, we have greatly improved systems for supporting learning through both face-to-face and online classes. We intend to provide real-time streaming of actual classes for those courses that will implement face-to-face classes, allowing students to choose between class participation either in person or online. Instructors of those courses will furthermore be able to switch course formats between face-to-face and online learning, as the situation dictates. We hope that by doing so, we will provide sufficient flexibility for allowing face-to-face classes to continue, regardless of how the coronavirus situation evolves. A list of courses that can include face-to-face classes and those that will be held entirely online is available on Port Hepburn, so please confirm which category your courses belong to.

With the start of face-to-face classes in fall semester, we will remove the current restrictions on campus admittance. While everyone coming to campus will still be expected to take sufficient precautions for preventing the spread of coronavirus infections, we should see a gradual return to expected university functioning, including club activities, exchanges between friends and faculty, and utilization of libraries and other facilities.

We will also continue providing scholarships for students who have experienced financial adversity due to the COVID-19, with the period for the second round of applications beginning in November. Note that students who received this scholarship during the first round remain eligible too, so please feel free to reapply. The awarded amount is up to two payments of \400,000 (up to \800,000 in total).

In these ways, Meiji Gakuin University is working toward best solutions for providing courses in this “with-Coronavirus” era. Simultaneous provision of face-to-face and online classes is a completely new experience, but we hope to continue to maintain the quality of education that has always been our goal, rather than reductions of tuition, etc. We appreciate your understanding of and cooperation with this policy.

It remains impossible to know how the state of COVID-19 infections will evolve in the future. Above all else, we are working to ensure that the University does not become a site of cluster infections, and we appreciate everyone’s continued and thorough cooperation in helping us to prevent the occurrence of infections on our campus.

Leo Murata
Meiji Gakuin University
September 16,  2020