[President's Message] to Students Studying from Home

News General 2020.04.10

The cherry blossoms of April are now in full bloom in Kyoto. Usually, classes would be underway at Uzumasa and Kameoka, and the campuses would be full of activity as we welcome our new students. As you know, we now find ourselves in an unprecedented situation where we are unable to enjoy such simple pleasures. I think that many of you share my sentiment when I say that this is truly unfortunate. 

In this message, I would like to explain a little bit about what is going on around us. 

COVID-19 is characterized by an absence of symptoms, even among those who are infected. It is unlikely that you are infected yourself, but I would like to ask each of you to think and act as if you were infected in order to protect the people around you. 

Many others have already made various types of announcements about what we must do to prevent infecting others. However, we must all continue to stringently avoid the “3 Do Nots” and observe a strict handwashing regiment. Do not forget that not only COVID but all sorts of diseases can be prevented by simple handwashing with soap. 

<The 3 Do Nots> 

Do Not go to crowded areas. 
Do Not go into enclosed areas. 
Do Not come into proximity with others. 

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has also made announcements about the “3 Do Nots”, describing them as follows: 

<The Three Cs> 

1. Closed spaces with poor ventilation. 
2. Crowded spaces with many people nearby. 
3. Close-contact settings such as close-range conversations. 

Medical professionals have already explained that many infections can be prevented by observing these simple rules. 

The COVID-19 virus is characterized by having the largest number of bases among all RNA viruses (30,000) and robust self-repair functions during replication. Therefore, it is difficult to inactivate the virus by mutating it with vaccines or drugs, as is done in the case of influenza viruses. These characteristics also make it difficult to produce a vaccine in a short amount of time, so our first and only defense is to prevent the spread of infection. 

The SARS virus, which is similar to COVID-19, releases about 100 times fewer virus particles from the human body than the influenza virus does. Therefore, as long as a sufficient distance of 1 to 2 meters is maintained, and ventilation is provided, the concentration of the virus can be reduced, and the probability of infection can be significantly decreased. 

There is much discussion about the lack of PCR testing in Japan. However, considering the sensitivity of PCR testing (which cannot detect infection from just a few viruses) and the uncertainty of nasopharyngeal samples (which depend on whether the virus is prevalent enough to be detected), we believe that the current Japanese medical policy of using PCR tests in combination with CT lung scans is the correct measure to take. This is because our country has the highest per-capita distribution of CT equipment in the world. All of you are university students, so I would like to ask that you all respond calmly, logically, and with scientific reasoning. 

To reiterate, do not violate the above-mentioned “3 Do Nots”. Please do not forget that you could become the perpetrator of harm at any time. 

The next thing I want to talk about is your studies. In principle, we ask that all students avoid coming to campus until May 6. Nevertheless, I want all of you to use this as an opportunity to study hard at home. 

The best way to avoid the “3 Do Nots” is to find a place at home for yourself, like your room, and use this quiet time to do some deep thinking and self-reflection. 

In particular, this is an excellent opportunity to think about why you came to KUAS, what 
you want to do when you return to campus, and what you hope to achieve as a student. Use this occasion to think about your goals for your future university life and how you will achieve them. Think carefully about what sort of life you hope to spend, and how you should spend your time at KUAS to make those dreams a reality. 

I believe that many students set a goal for each new school year, but I think that this is a chance for you to plan what you want to learn throughout all of your remaining school years, what kind of career you want to have, and what efforts those goals will require. 

Classes at KUAS are proceeding as planned via remote learning. Make sure that you keep a close eye on the university homepage and Sentan Navi. I think that the teachers in charge of your classes are already starting to issue assignments, and introductory class videos will also be released soon. I want to ask all of you to study hard so that you do not fall behind when face-to-face classes start again. 

As you know, KUAS has set rigorous standards and requirements for passing courses and graduation. I hope you keep this in mind and continue to study hard. 

Do not forget that studying is not just about the classroom. Reading books, watching movies (at home), listening to music, and doing a variety of indoor activities can greatly enrich your introspective intellect. There are even exercises that you can do in your own room. The Department of Health and Sports Sciences will provide everyone with more information about this shortly. 

As I wrote above, in principle, no one is allowed to come to campus right now, but students may come to campus for their own self-study. So long as they avoid the 3 Do Nots, students may come to campus and study by themselves using our campus classrooms, libraries and computer rooms. 

With the right attitude, you can turn this challenging year into a valuable lesson that will aid you in school and beyond. Until then, all of us at KUAS will do everything we can to support you. 

We will get through this together. 

MAEDA Masafumi