Hello to everyone. I am Seiichi Matsuo.
Our world is being ravaged by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, upending our lives and impacting each and every one of us. Even here in Nagoya and in Aichi Prefecture, the number of people testing positive for this virus is gradually increasing. Last weekend, Governor Omura announced that Aichi Prefecture would declare its own local state of emergency and requested that drastic measures be taken to prevent the further spread of disease.
In this unprecedented situation, we at Nagoya University recently announced the measures we are taking to prevent the spread of disease: our Alert Categories and Specific Activity Guidelines, which describe the steps we will take to respond to the current situation. Amidst the sudden changes, I have decided to release a second Message from the President to share with students, faculty and staff the way of thinking that our Specific Activity Guidelines are founded on, as well as express my hopes that the entire university community will understand the crisis facing us and tackle the challenge of preventing the spread of disease.
Firstly, we are implementing telework procedures in all undergraduate and graduate schools and departments to the greatest extent possible. In administrative divisions, affairs have been put in order to allow each section to work from home on a rotating basis, and I have been informed that about 40% are currently implementing work-from-home. We are also giving instructions that further measures be taken in order to reach the 70% requested by the governor. We are once again asking that other divisions and departments advance work-from-home measures as much as possible. To that end, the on-campus nursery schools have already shortened their hours, and broadening the scope of our work-from-home policies will result in fewer children coming to day care, thus lessening the chances for infection to spread. I ask for your cooperation and assistance in helping to protect the lives and health of our children.
We have also taken a variety of steps in our main mission of education. We have prohibited undergraduate students from coming to campus. Instead will be conducting all classes remotely using ICT, primarily NUCT, and we have diligently prepared for our classes to begin on April 17. We have stated in our guidelines that experiments and practical training classes will be conducted as usual, but given that the pandemic is showing no signs of abating, we believe that further measures are necessary. Therefore, even though classes are beginning very soon, we have decided to make the following change: experiments and practical training will be, to the best of our ability, either postponed or limited to ten people or fewer, and will continue to be so at least until Aichi Prefecture's state of emergency is lifted. Furthermore, while graduate students are allowed to come to campus, these activities should be kept to the bare minimum necessary, and we strongly request that graduate students refrain from coming to campus unless it is absolutely urgent and necessary. Please keep this in mind and take every care when using research labs and conducting seminars.
We have also changed the Activity Level for meetings. Starting this week, all meetings with ten or more attendees may not be conducted in person and instead must be conducted online. Last week, many departments conducted and tested online meetings, and I am encouraged by how widely the use of online meetings has spread.
Lastly, I would like to repeat a request made at last week's Education and Research Council. If infections continue to spread, it is quite possible that the entire university may be closed or its operations drastically limited. Furthermore, the present situation is severe enough that this could occur at any time. In fact, one employee at the University Hospital has already tested positive, and while there is at present no sign of further infections and the impact on the University Hospital's functions is limited, there is no telling what the future may hold. Accordingly, I ask that each division and department at Nagoya University prepare for such an eventuality by drawing up and sharing a BCP (business continuity plan) covering emergency responses, such as steps to maintain the bare minimum of institutions, assets, and resources and preserve the necessary environment to enable research to resume in the future.
As President, my greatest hope is that we come together to overcome this crisis so that the entire Nagoya University community can stride forward to a brighter future. Thank you.