After a meeting attended by union members working in universities and professional training colleges (senmon gakko), due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the General Union has submitted demands to 75 universities.
You can find the responses as they come in by clicking here.
Union members view the possibility of a return to face-to face-lessons amidst an explosive new growth in coronavirus infections with both anxiety and alarm.
While we understand that many universities are being pressured by MEXT and even parents to reopen campuses as soon as possible, if university campuses resume face-to-face lessons thousands of employees and students will be put at risk.
There is now considerable evidence that university age students, although less likely to develop serious symptoms, can be a major vector in the spread of the virus to those working in universities, to their classmates, and to their families.
Our members and our union believe that the resumption of on-campus classes at the present time would be a disastrous move from the standpoint of public health.
We have many members who fall into high risk categories due to age or pre-existing conditions whose lives could be threatened by a resumption of normal classes.
We note that under the Occupational Health and Safety Law, employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for their workers.
We therefore submit the following demands:
1. That all universities do not restart face-to-face classes from the second semester.
2. That teachers, especially those with either certified or uncertified underlying mental or physical health conditions or due to a more advanced age, or live with others in the same situation, be allowed to teach online.
3. As hybrid approaches that use both online and face-to-face lessons put a lot of extra burden on teachers, teachers not be required to prepare for hybrid approaches.
4. That your university be transparent in reporting outbreaks of Coronavirus at the institution” and/or “among faculties, students and staff”.
We have asked for a response by August 18th and hope to make the information available to all.