SUDBURY -- Cambrian College is now just a few weeks away from the start of the school year. Unfortunately, officials with the college say fewer students are enrolled in programs.

In a normal year, Cambrian College has about 5,000 students, but officials say this year they are only expecting around 4,000. Travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is largely to blame.

“Primarily the decrease in enrolment will be international students because at this time right now we won’t have any new international students,” said Bill Best, president of Cambrian College. “We will only have students that are coming into their second, third, fourth or fifth semester. Domestic enrolment is probably going to land somewhere close on par to last year, so that’s very encouraging.”

Admissions officials at Cambrian say as of Tuesday morning, student registration is currently at 3,500.

Best said he believes that number will continue to increase.

Numbers will increase

“I think we had around 2,000 students register on the very first day, which is pretty normal," he said. "Then you have a couple hundred a day registering as you go. We’ll probably see that continue to creep up as we get closer to the beginning of the fall semester.”

Officials with the college said the school is moving into a hybrid, blended approach.

Students who need mandatory in-class learning for their courses will be allowed on campus for that purpose, but all the theory will be done online.

“The vast majority of our programs, like accounting, business and anything that can be done online from a theory perspective, will be done online,” said Best. “But our welding program, heavy equipment program, they are going to have to come to the school.”

The school said it has been busy getting each of the buildings equipped with all the appropriate safety measures.