COVID-19 and ASIJ: Uncertainty in Omicron Times

Article by Tei Kim, Section Editor

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the course of 2021, COVID-19 indeed proved itself a formidable enemy to the ASIJ community.

In January, we saw a sudden transition from the Hybrid model to Distance Learning, due to a sudden outbreak of cases. Only two months later, in March, we returned to the traditional model of Face-to-Face. As school life appeared to be taking a turn for the better, prom was canceled, again due to COVID-19. As school reconvened in August, it finally seemed as if we were slowly returning to life before Covid. Starting strong in Face-to-Face, we returned to the system of rotating classes, more spaces were made available to us, and school was starting to feel normal once again. 


Indeed, not everything was the way it had been before the pandemic. Masks, constant sanitizing, social distancing persisted—but these were all things that the student body was eagerly willing to comply with, in order to win back any time and experiences that they had missed out on. Fall season athletic teams were able to have a proper season, clubs were able to reconvene their activities in person, and Class Comps and Spirit Day finally resumed after over a year of being put on halt. 

Although not all aspects of campus life returned to their pre-pandemic state, the first semester of the 2021-2022 school year proceeded in the best way possible. Various successful attempts were made at improving the student experience; for instance, the Class of 2022 was granted Senior Privileges, which had been temporarily suspended in the last school year due to COVID-19.

As we enter both 2022 and second semester, ASIJ faces yet another challenge – Omicron. On January 8, Mainichi News reported 1224 COVID cases in Tokyo, the first time numbers exceeded 1200 since September. According to the CDC, the Omicron variant is more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. Although its exact transmissibility, or in comparison to the Delta variant, is unknown, it is expected that anyone with the Omicron infection is capable of spreading the virus to others, regardless of vaccination or symptom status.

Many families in the ASIJ community traveled overseas during the winter break, whether to see family, friends, or for other purposes. At the same time, as Omicron hit Japan, the government began to tighten travel restrictions and quarantine rules.

Although the second semester has begun with the Distance Learning model, if everything goes according to plan, students will be back Face-to-Face on January 24. 

Omicron has been on the rise all over the world, but we can be hopeful about returning to Face-to-Face soon. As COVID cases continue to surge all over the world, it is important that we all comply with risk mitigation measures, and continue to be mindful of the pandemic situation.