More than 10 universities in Tokyo have decided to continue online classes in the fall semester, the second half of this academic year. The measure comes in response to a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the capital.
One of them is Aoyama Gakuin University. Some 19,000 of its students will continue to stay away from its campuses, except to conduct scientific experiments. This means most of them won't visit the campuses for the whole academic year.
Officials at the university say they made the decision for the safety of students, teachers and other staff members. The coronavirus outbreak has worsened, with the number of new infections in Tokyo exceeding 100 a day.
University Vice President Inazumi Hiroshige says some point to the risk of infection posed by in-person classes, while others argue that attending lectures is better than taking online courses.
He says the university faces the difficult task of deciding which side of the argument to come down on. He adds that there's no quick answer to the question of how to live with the virus.
Inazumi also says that the university places importance on direct education, but that holding in-person classes will draw many students to the campuses.
He explains that one of the reasons for continuing to hold online classes is that some of the students have returned to their hometowns to avoid infection.