Northern College students and staff will have to prove they are vaccinated

After a year and a half of distance learning, Northern College students are returning to their respective campuses for some in-person learning. (Lydia Chubak/CTV News)

Northern College officials are excited to be returning to in-person learning and said having a vaccine mandate will help keep their students and employees safe from COVID-19.

Throughout the worst of the pandemic, president Dr. Audrey Penner, said "there wasn't a single outbreak at any of its campuses."

Penner said this fall, students enrolled in programs and living in residence will be required to prove they are fully vaccinated before mid-October, with proof of one administered dose before being allowed to move in.

All employees will also need to show proof they've been vaccinated. The province has also chosen the college to pilot a rapid screening process.

Penner said despite the challenges the pandemic brought, the college did not have to permanently lay off any employees or close programs.

“One of the things that is really a highlight for us right now is recognizing that we’re one of the top two colleges in the system in Ontario for an increase in enrollment," she said.

"Our enrollment has increased by 7.5 per cent, which is pretty good compared to many of the colleges in the system that are actually experiencing a decline. So we’re really thrilled with that.”

She said she is also waiting to welcome 250 international students who will be arriving later this month. And, she will be visiting municipal councils this fall, when she will share details of Northern College's capital projects.