The class implementation policy of Academic Year 2021

Sophia will principally offer classes in person in AY2021

December 21, 2020

Yoshiaki Terumichi

The year 2020 is approaching its end.

A year ago, no one would have imagined that we would be living in a world like this. Challenged with unprecedented circumstances, Sophia University also could not welcome you on campus this entire year.

The status of COVID-19 infections remains critical not only in Japan but around the world, and while it is impossible for anyone to predict when the situation will reach an end, I believe we have come to a stage where we need to determine and let you know the policy of how classes will be offered in the 2021 academic year.

As we have communicated since the beginning of the current academic year, as a university, we bear a social responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and prevent the spread of infections originating on campus.

However, after spending a year of offering almost all classes online, we judged that it was time to enter a new phase to maintain and secure enriching student lives for all students, across all faculties and departments, graduate school programs and grades; and therefore, we have sought and discussed what measures Sophia University should take in this context.

Sophia University will principally offer classes in person in AY2021. However, courses with more than 200 students registered every year will be offered “on demand” style. “On demand” means class will not be delivered live using Zoom or other tools, but will instead be delivered in the form of lecture materials or video on the Internet so that students can take the class wherever and whenever they wish during a given period as determined by each professor.

The aim of taking this approach for classes with large numbers of registrants is to make an effort to reduce the risk of infection by avoiding large gatherings in closed spaces. Some classes may be delivered in a hybrid style, combining in-person classes and online classes, harnessing our experiences with online classes in AY2020 and actively incorporating methods that proved to be effective.

Other classes will principally be offered in person, allocating classrooms according to new classroom capacities that will secure enough space between seats.

We are thoroughly inspecting room ventilation and making preparations to maintain an environment that will satisfy the required ventilation levels indicated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Welfare.

Many of you may feel anxious to receive this notice at a time when the status of infection is unstable and even seems to be exacerbating. If you should have any concerns regarding your health condition, please be reassured that we are ready to listen to your concerns and take personalized measures. Required procedures will be posted on Loyola on a later date. Cafeteria use and information on extracurricular activities will also be communicated.

As I mentioned before, we cannot make precise predictions of how the situation will be in April and beyond. However, Sophia University has made this decision on how classes will be offered in 2021, based on our experience with online classes this year, for the further deepening and continuity of unique learning drawing upon our One Campus features, while taking maximum safety measures to prevent the spread of infections.

Students who are currently overseas or outside of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area are asked to prepare for classes and research activities on campus next spring. Please understand that depending on the status of infections in and outside the university at the beginning of the semester, or on developments in national or Tokyo Metropolitan government policy, we may be forced to change our plans.

We would like to ask you to act responsibly to protect yourself and those around you. The conscience and actions of each individual, including not only wearing masks and washing your hands, but also refraining from gathering with many people to eat and drink, has significant meaning.

As a world embracing the shared experience of this pandemic seeks the ideal future society, I would like you to remember the educational spirit of Sophia University, as students who are “for Others, with Others” and make each day worthwhile.

We should have communicated earlier what we have been considering and discussing as a university and where we are headed. We apologize for creating anxiety among our students as we needed much time for discussions amid drastic changes in the status of infections. In order to take the next step, Sophia University is determined to make every effort to advance preparations.

Please stay safe and healthy and spend the peaceful Christmas holidays.

We all look forward to meeting you on campus in Spring 2021.

Sophia University

For Others, With Others