Making health and safety our highest priority in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Spring Semester, Keio University implemented various measures to protect the well-being of our students, faculty and staff members, and other members of our community. Classes and lectures were in principle held online, and following the government's declaration of a state of emergency, we closed all university campuses and facilities. Despite the great anxiety, I am sure you all must have felt under these dire circumstances full of restrictions, you all made great efforts and commitments to continue with your studies, and I commend you all for your hard work and dedication.
At present, in preparation for the start of the Fall Semester, the faculty and staff members of the undergraduate faculties and graduate schools are tirelessly working together as one to create an environment where all of you, our students, can devote yourselves to your studies with peace of mind. From what we experienced in the Spring Semester as well as through the feedback we received, it became clear that while there are certain advantages to online classes, including the possibility to engage in repeated learning at your own pace and simultaneous interactive discussions, it is no substitute for learning on campus. Having physical real-world interactions with faculty members and peers is such an important element in building character, and the various practical knowledge and learning you can absorb in classroom settings, in the library, gymnasium, and on the sports grounds is a fundamental component of Keio's educational philosophy that emphasizes personal growth through participation in both the regular curriculum and extracurricular activities.
However, the virus is showing no signs of abating worldwide and there is still no visible end in sight for the chaos and unpredictability it has brought. It has therefore been decided that for the Fall Semester, classes and lectures will continue to be held online, but we are also planning to bring back some real-life, in-person classes on campus. Nevertheless, please rest assured that necessary measures will be taken to prevent the spread of the virus for these on-campus encounters. Entry to the campuses and the reopening of campus facilities, which have already begun partially, will continue to be expanded in stages while we implement thorough safety measures.
In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, this summer, there were days when we were threatened by heat waves and disasters caused by torrential rain. For many of you, it may not be easy to muster the motivation and get back into the mindset to return to your student life and refocus on your studies after the summer holidays. However, please recall what originally inspired you to study at Keio University with its long history and rich traditions. We do of course understand that it takes a lot of willpower and determination to continue your studies especially under the current difficulties you are facing and the many restrictions on your daily life. So, please know that Keio University is determined to do everything in its power to support all of you while you engage in your academic studies, with the arts, and in sports, and we will ensure that no one is left behind.
Although the social situation regarding COVID-19 has changed since the Spring Semester, it is still of vital importance to be in a "don't get infected and don't infect others" frame of mind. Every individual must be aware of this, and act sensibly and proactively to prevent the spread of infections. Moreover, do not be misled by false information. Assess the nature of the situation and act appropriately.
Back in his day, Yukichi Fukuzawa, the founder of Keio University, was troubled that people were still being influenced by the remnants of the feudal way of life, waiting for directions from those in power and unquestioningly following instructions and orders whenever a situation requiring action arose. He thus embarked to nurture individuals who pursue knowledge, are not influenced by the current trends of the world, and possess a spirit of independence and self-respect, empowering them to become people capable of acting independently. The existence of citizens who can think for themselves and responsibly act on their own initiative instead of waiting for instructions and orders from others can be said to be a way of measuring a nation's maturity.
Since its establishment in 1858, Keio University has overcome many hurdles and crises caused by wars and disasters, and as a private institution of learning supported by benefactors who share in its philosophy, evolved into one of Japan's leading comprehensive universities. Whenever the university faces a crisis, the overwhelming support we receive through the power of shachu kyoryoku (the entire Keio community coming together in a spirit of collaboration), fueled by our students, alumni, and faculty and staff members, enables us to prevail. And this time too in the midst of the turmoil resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, a great many of our alumni, led by the Board of Councillors and Keio Rengo Mita-Kai, came together to raise funds to support our students and the Keio University Hospital.
Students at Keio University are not just students. You are all members of the Keio shachu. So, let's all work together to overcome this pandemic and preserve the spirit of independence and self-respect as well as the liberal and benevolent atmosphere that has always been a part of Keio University.
I am looking forward to seeing you all in good health and spirits in the Fall Semester and hope that it will not be too long before our campuses are once again bustling with students and full of life and energy.