April 14th, 2020
President, Sophia University
With the declaration of a State of Emergency given the extensive spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), I am sure that you are finding your days filled with tension that you have never experienced before. I would imagine that for students of Sophia University, it has become an opportunity to be present with others and to think about others, attaching personal meaning to the extraordinary situation that has emerged during your university life.
Having traditionally focused on face-to-face education, Sophia University, as a private university, has maintained a style of small-group learning. Under the current circumstances, we decided to start classes on May 25, seeking ways to engage students in face-to-face learning. However, with the situation intensely changing day after day and with the State of Emergency declaration effective through May 6, until which universities have also been asked by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to suspend operations, we are faced with ever-increasing challenges. At present we see little possibility that the situation will turn for the better in mid-May to late-May.
Sophia University must prioritize the health and safety of its members, including our students, faculty and staff, and address the ever-changing circumstances. This will lead to the safety of your families and other people close to you. We must also fulfill our social responsibilities by acting under our educational principle of “Men and Women for Others, with Others.” In order to prevent the second wave of coronavirus infections, it is evident that it would be inappropriate to have 14,000 people gather on campus in the immediate future. Moreover, we also have students studying abroad who have not been able to return to Japan and international students who have been looking forward to studying at Sophia University but have yet to arrive in Japan.
Given these circumstances, Sophia University has decided to offer all classes, in principle, online from May 25. I regret that we will miss the opportunity to deliver classes in person. However, I request your understanding that this is an important measure to be taken in order to overcome the current crisis. Challenged with these unparalleled circumstances, Sophia University will make preparations to overcome this crisis in the best way we can, as would be expected of Sophia. Please prepare yourself for classes and organize your studying environment. Please also take the time to contemplate how you can flourish in personal development.
I thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding and wish you and your families good health.
∗ More details of those classes to be updated on the following dates.