Back on campus: Georgian College officials push vaccinations

There is a mix of excitement and anxiety on campuses across Simcoe County as university and college students head back to class Tuesday.

"It's a little anxiety-inducing because we all have gotten used to this online learning format, and then to transition into in-person, it's a little bit of a struggle," said Alexandra Aiken, Georgian College second-year student.

On Tuesday at Georgian College, 9,000 students started their semester, although 70 per cent of learning will continue online.

"Our hope is because, of course, everyone is getting vaccinated to be on campus, over the course of the semester, we will increase activity," said college CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes.

While campus life certainly feels back to normal, health and safety protocols are still in place, including mask-wearing, smaller class sizes and rigorous cleaning.

New this semester, students on both campuses are required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

"Vaccination is certainly the very best to combat anxiety and the potential of a fourth wave," said Lakehead University Orillia campus principal Dean Jobin-Bevans.

Still, students say today has been a long time coming.

"I love seeing the students here. It's great seeing an active campus after being remote for so long," said Nicole St-Pierre, who is in her third semester of her program. "It's really great to see people again and seeing students be so excited."