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Hiroshima San-iku Academy Responds to COVID-19
July 03, 2020

 The Japanese school year begins in early April and ends in mid-March. However, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many Adventist educational institutions, like the rest of Japan, were temporarily closed from April to May 2020. These closures have significantly impacted the secondary Adventist schools, which have a boarding school system.


The boarding school system plays an important role in our San-iku educational activities. For example, the students learn life skills from living in the dorm and healthy eating habits in the cafeteria.  They develop spiritual maturity through religious education and activities provided throughout each day of the week. And they learn musical expression and cooperation through extra-curricular activities, such as choir, brass band, and handbell choir. Unfortunately, because these activities require close personal interactions, we have been unable to conduct our usual learning atmosphere due to the school closure.


Notwithstanding, we have been attempting to mitigate the situation here in Hiroshima San-iku Academy through the following actions.

Going Virtual with the Internet

• Christian Broadcasting

We have been providing worship and religious programs on our academy’s official YouTube channel (youtube.com/HSaniku) for all of our students. For example, from Monday to Friday, we upload “Evening Worship” and “Chaplain’s Message” programs, and every Sabbath, we livestream the “Divine Worship Service,” which is then made available for viewing after the broadcast on the YouTube channel. We also have other programs, such as “Peace Time,” where our high school chaplain interviews other teachers about their thoughts on God’s Word.

We hope these internet broadcasts will not only encourage our current students but also strengthen all of our alumni in their Christian walk.

• Virtual Classrooms Using Internet Conference System

At 8 a.m., from Monday to Friday, the homeroom teachers can be heard here and there, as they sit in front of their laptops cheerfully greeting their students for short homeroom activity. Our students will then start their studies in their home, using handouts and worksheets (which have been mailed to their homes) and watching video lectures (which have been recorded and uploaded by our teachers). 

This learning style has changed our classes from group to individual study. In addition, if the students have questions, they can easily email or call their teachers. While this educational style has its challenges, it may have led to some unexpected benefits, such as building the students’ self-study skills and allowing them to study at their own time and pace. For our teachers, they have had to learn many new skills for over 500 video lectures that they have produced, such as shooting, editing, and uploading.

• Virtual Open Campus

One of the struggles our school is facing is not being able to directly reach out to prospective students.  Throughout the school year, our school hosts various information sessions and two open campus events, one in late spring and one in the fall. We invite prospective students to witness and experience Hiroshima San-iku Academy’s campus life. Open Campus, in particular, is invaluable because it allows the prospective student to personally experience and see the positives of dormitory living.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been asked to keep outside visits to a minimum for the health and safety of our students. As such, we will not be able to conduct our usual promotional activities. While it is a poor substitute, we are endeavoring to present the best of our school with several new video broadcasts of life on campus and of interviews with various alumni and current students, teachers, and staff members. 

• Musical Activities on Social Media

Here in Hiroshima San-iku Academy, music plays a big role. We have extracurricular activities, such as choir, brass band, and handbell choir. Students can also pursue self-enrichment with music lessons and small music groups, or they can praise God by playing the piano during worship service. Our school also holds Christmas charity concerts to promote ADRA, which has come to provide aid after natural disasters not only around the world but also in Japan.

As with everything else, these activities have grounded to a halt with the temporary school closure. Rather than let this obstacle hinder them, our students have risen to the challenge. With the help of the music department, they have made remote music videos and broadcast them on various social media platforms. Some of these music videos were viewed more than 3,500 times in only three weeks! Inspired, some of our alumni have contacted our school for the first time in a long time.

Campus Activities

• School Maintenance 

Hiroshima San-iku Academy was built to be surrounded by God’s handiwork. Maintaining this “Garden of Nature” is a privilege but not without effort. Normally, all year round, our students work around the campus mowing the lawns, cutting the weeds along the roads, weeding the gardens, and planting seasonal flowers.

This first half of the term, our staff—especially the cafeteria department and the dormitory staff—together with some teachers have been making a valiant effort to retain the beauty of our campus. We have taken on the tasks of cutting the grass and caring for the flower beds. And we are also preparing for the return of our students by repairing pathways, installing fences (to prevent the wildlife from harming the gardens), painting the dorms, and more.

• Prayer Support

The junior high and high school religion committees have started a project: prayer support. Every day, the chaplain will get together with selected teachers during the workday to pray for our students, teachers and staff members. During a time like this, it is especially important for us to lean on God.  Our new duties and worries often cause us to become so busy with work. We need to take time to remember to not lose sight of the importance of communing with God and with our spiritual brothers and sisters. Prayer is a special way to follow the light and stay the course during these uncertain times.

• Preventive Measures against COVID-19

The students will be returning to campus on June 14, 2020, Sunday. We have been preparing the campus to prevent any COVID-19 infection. The Nurse’s Office has prepared bottles of antiseptic solution for each classroom and for the dorms. They have also made up a procedural chart for infection control. The nursing staff have readied protective clothing, isolation rooms (both in and outside of the dorms), a procedure flowchart for treatment with the school physician, and a contact list with local health center personnel.

During the school closure, we asked the students to keep a record of their daily temperatures and health condition, which they later submitted to the school nurses as requested. For the upcoming campus return, only those students who have been in good health for 14 days prior will be allowed entrance. In addition, for the first 14 days upon returning to school, the students will be strictly monitored to avoid the Three Cs—“closed spaces” with poor ventilation, “crowded places” with many people nearby, and “close-contact settings” of close-range conversations.  

Furthermore, during the first 14 days of return, everyone will be required to wear a mask and check their daily temperature. Everyone will be asked to do their part to sterilize common places of touch, such as handrails, doorknobs, and toilet seats. For meals, students will be given healthy bentos, which they will then eat in their own dorm rooms. The school schedule will be limited, with clubs and music activities being temporarily cancelled. After this 14-day period, if no infection is found, we will gradually return to our regular school life.

We have prepared everything we can to welcome students back to this campus.

Not only Hiroshima San-iku Academy but all of the San-iku boarding schools are facing problems and concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that the Adventist secondary education in Japan is of great value and that the boarding school system is an effective method for providing our youth with the basis of an Adventist lifestyle. Still, we are being asked to offer a more attractive and modern educational method post-COVID-19 in light of the new lifestyle measures being made for COVID-19. We believe we have a mission from God, and we are humbled. We will continuously work in this educational field for the souls of our youth. Please remember us in your prayers.