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To all OU students: A message from President Nishio

2021-4-15(Thu)

Greetings to all OU students,

Osaka Prefecture faces an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases, with new cases at the university confirmed on a daily basis. Variant strains spreading rapidly in Osaka are highly infectious and cause more serious illness even in young people.

Recently, COVID-19 cases are spreading among younger individuals, particularly those in their teens and 20s. COVID-19 is not someone else's problem. You all need to take your own health seriously.

Osaka University has urged its students to take COVID-19 precautions and has taken measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as securing sufficient classroom ventilation in order to bring students back to in-person classes. Unfortunately, COVID-19 infections linked to drinking parties involving OU students have been reported, though the spread of infection in face-to-face classes has not been confirmed.

This year, Osaka University held its entrance ceremony, which was not held last year, with preventive measures against COVID-19 in place, and began the year with full-fledged face-to-face classes. It was our sincere hope that students would be able to enjoy life on campus this year.

However, the occupancy rate of hospital beds in Osaka Prefecture is at 97.8% as of April 14, 2021. The rate has risen rapidly and the prefecture’s health care availability is in a critical situation.

As part of quasi-emergency steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, on April 14, Osaka Prefecture requested that universities hold classes online and refrain from extracurricular activities.

In order to sincerely respond to these requests and prevent the spread of the virus, OU has made the difficult decision to move most of its courses online and prohibit extracurricular activities.

Placing further restrictions on students, who have begun their lives on campus with high expectations, is heartbreaking for us. However, we will resume in-person classes once the situation improves, so we’d like to ask you to cooperate with our efforts as university community members in Osaka Prefecture so that you can get back to enjoying life on campus without restrictions as soon as possible.

It should be stated that the virus that causes COVID-19 is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets. In order to prevent contraction via droplets, the university asks you all to properly wear masks, wash your hands, and avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.

You should refrain from speaking without wearing a mask, including during meal times, and from speaking loudly in close-contact settings even when wearing a mask. Additionally, you must not join gatherings in groups, such as drinking parties, singing at karaoke, and drinking and eating at friends’ houses, as these are identified as high-risk situations for virus transmission.

If the university can get each and every one of its members to understand and implement these prevention measures, we can surely prevent the spread of COVID-19. Let's raise our awareness about this COVID-19 outbreak and be diligent in carrying out preventive measures to overcome this pandemic crisis together.

 

Thank you.

April 15, 2021

NISHIO Shojiro
President, Osaka University

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