April 16, 2021 NEWS

To All Students, “Towards a New Form of Online Learning”

April 16, 2021

To All Students,
“Towards a New Form of Online Learning”

Dai Nakamoto, Dean, Academic Affairs
Norifumi Kawahara, Dean, Student Affairs
Junji Nakanishi, Dean, Student Affairs

With start of the new semester in April, each student has begun their fulfilling student life that includes classes, extracurricular activities, and interaction with friends. At Ritsumeikan University, we have taken all possible infection prevention measures so that students can enjoy their student life, which includes face-to-face classes and extracurricular activities, with peace of mind, even in this difficult COVID-19 situation.
However, it is said that COVID-19 variants, which have recently begun to be identified, are not only highly infectious, but may also cause severe illness even in young people. In addition, there are signs of an explosive spread of infection in the Kansai area. Some students have expressed that they are worried about going to school and the congestion on campus.
 For this reason, the university has raised the activity level of the “Ritsumeikan University Action Guidelines in Response to COVID-19 (Business Continuity Plan)” (BCP) by one level to“BCP Level 3” . As such, the university will switch to primarily online classes from Monday, April 19.1Providing opportunities to meet and interact with friends on campus, which acts as a node for these activities, is one of the important roles of a university. However, protecting the safety and security of students and other people who gather at the university is the most basic premise of such activities. Of course, if the infection situation improves such that students’ safety and security are ensured, and the BCP level is lowered to BCP Level 2, the class format will be promptly revised and face-to-face classes will resume.
In addition, creating opportunities for students to learn and grow in an online environment just as in a face-to-face environment has become one of the university’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the last academic year, students experienced using the internet to further their studies and found this experience to be an opportunity for communication in a way different from face-to-face communication. Thus, we realized that online learning has great potential. Even in extracurricular activities, a new form of student life is being created through the establishment of the “Cyber-Campus” and the exchange of information online via RIMIX and RI-sA. Rather than simply thinking of these as alternatives to face-to-face interaction in classes, it is important to improve the quality of classes regardless of the implementation format. Together with our students, we would like to create new forms and new values for online learning.
On the other hand, regardless of whether you learn face-to-face or online, it is important for each individual to manage their health and lifestyle in order to make sure their studies are productive and that they have a fulfilling student life. It is understood that most reported infections are caused by multiple people carelessly eating and drinking off campus, that is, droplet infection caused by talking with the mask off when eating and drinking. As chains of infection from students to their friends and family are being reported, please make sure to eat alone and silently both on- and off-campus. In addition, refrain from having social gatherings for seminars and club activities that involve eating and drinking, regardless of whether they are for regular classes or extracurricular activities. In particular, please do not hold welcome parties for new students involving eating and drinking.
In order to safeguard your own health and the health of your loved ones such as family and friends, you must absolutely avoid causing cluster infections in any regular class activity or extracurricular activity. It is essential for each and every one of you to thoroughly take all appropriate infection prevention measures, including those in your daily life, so that face-to-face activities can happen. Behavior that does not comply with these measures may lead to waiving one’s right to continue face-to-face activities. Also, even if face-to-face activities continue, participation in classes and club activities is not compulsory. If you feel uneasy about your physical condition, please feel free to contact a faculty member or the Medical Service Center.
As Osaka Prefecture has called for universities to switch to online classes, some of you may be wondering why this request extends to the other RU campuses. This is because the commuting area of students belonging to colleges on each campus spans multiple prefectures including Osaka Prefecture. There are a large number of students moving between campuses, and infections are spreading throughout the Kansai area. As it is now time for each and every one of us to be aware of this situation and work together in order to minimize movement and contact between people for preventing the spread of infection, we ask for your understanding.
Even after this change in BCP level, you can still enter the campuses. You can also use information-related facilities such as the libraries, and facilities like commons and lounges. We hope that you will use these facilities after thoroughly taking infection prevention measures. In addition, college administrative offices, Manabi Stations, Offices of Student Affairs, and Offices for Athletes and Sports Services are open, so please feel free to contact them if you have any concerns or things to consult about regarding your student life. The university is providing job-hunting support, study abroad consultations, and general student life consultations in various forms including online, by phone, and in-person.
In response to these trying times, the university firmly supports students’ studies, their student life, and their academic efforts. Together, let's overcome this difficult situation.

*Please read the following manual carefully to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

1 The change in class format will generally occur from April 19. However, the handling of this matter may differ depending on the class, so for details please be sure to check notices from the teacher in charge of the class via the syllabus or manaba+R.

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