A sixth wave of COVID-19 is currently making its presence felt in the Tokyo metropolitan area, primarily caused by the Omicron variant. Keio University held face-to-face classes and semester-end examinations as scheduled even when the Tokyo metropolitan area was under its fourth state of emergency from July 12 to September 30, 2021. It also permitted extracurricular activities to go ahead on the condition that thorough measures to prevent infections were in place. This was an outcome of the rapid roll-out of the vaccination program at Keio and the informed decisions of knowledgeable experts at the Keio University Hospital Division of Infectious Disease and Infection Control based on the infectious capacity of COVID-19 at that time. As it turned out, the number of cases at Keio University actually decreased even when the Tokyo Metropolitan area was battling the fifth wave during the summer. This means that the fifth wave did not in fact make it to Keio University.
However, the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant has driven a rapid increase in the number of cases at Keio as part of the sixth wave of the pandemic. Amidst this situation, the Keio University Infection Response Center for COVID-19 investigates and achieves a day-to-day understanding of the current status and course of infections among Keio students, faculty, and staff members, and liaises with the Keio University Hospital Divison of Infectious Disease and Infection Control to discuss how education and research should be conducted. As a result of these discussions, Keio University and its graduate schools will adopt the following policies in light of the current status of infections.
- Education and research, of primary importance to the university and its graduate schools, will proceed as scheduled. Classes and semester-end examinations that are scheduled to take place in a face-to-face format will proceed as scheduled. Following discussions with the Keio University Hospital Division of Infectious Disease and Infection Control, we have concluded that the risk of infection remains low even among those commuting to school using public transportation and during classes and semester-end examinations in classrooms, provided that everyone wears masks correctly at all times. We have already conducted a scientific survey of classroom ventilation and have precautions in place to deal with those that have been deemed inadequately ventilated.
- Extracurricular activities will meanwhile be suspended until the end of the final examinations period in the Fall Semester, in light of the fact that the number of infections among students participating in some extracurricular activities has increased, even with thorough infection control measures in place. Any decisions following this time will be based on the status of infections at Keio University and the expert analysis of the Keio University Hospital and Keio University Health Centers.
The increasing number of infections occurring at Keio represents a threat to the health of the faculty, staff, and students as well as those around them, and goes against our social responsibility to prevent the spread of infections. Please be particularly conscious that eating and drinking with one's mask off is extremely risky, and make every effort to prevent infection. We hope that all of you will endeavor to help us overcome the sixth wave while remaining diligent in your studies and research and attentive to your health.