BARRIE, ONT. -- Georgian College in Barrie and Lakehead University in Orillia are preparing for students to return to in-person classes and activities this fall.

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities told post-secondary institutions that classes would return without capacity limits or physical distancing.

The ministry advised schools to have a plan for how learning would continue if there are COVID-19 outbreaks.

Lakehead University said it plans for a primarily in-person learning experience for the 2021-2022 academic year and "will adjust any plans" following safety regulations.

Georgian College president and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes said welcoming students back is something they have been looking forward to for some time.

The Barrie college's fall 2021 schedule "will include a combination of remote online and in-person delivery. Georgian students and employees can expect a gradual increase in on-campus activity as the semester progresses," a statement from the college stated.

In a memo to post-secondary schools, Deputy Minister Shelley Tapp said that continued vaccination progress and "improvements in key public health and health care indicators" were factors to getting back to "the cherished in-person experiences."

Tapp also said the ministry would release updated guidance on health and safety measures in early August.

Universities and colleges still have to follow all public health and workplace safety rules, including requiring masks indoors.

The government schools will still have the flexibility to use a mix of in-person and online learning.

With files from the Canadian Press