REGINA -- The University of Regina is updating its on-campus COVID-19 guidelines as students and faculty prepare to head back to the classroom in the fall.

In a letter to students, university leadership said starting on Aug. 1, masks will only be required in designated areas and the university will open all entrances to allow normal access to campus.

Masks will be required in all classrooms, labs, studios and in the library. All students and instructors taking part in face-to-face learning will need to wear masks unless they have a medical exemption. Masks are recommended in elevators and stairwells.

Mask use will be optional in meetings and other public areas, like the food court, gym and theatres. The university said there will be physical distancing in classrooms and study rooms, and it is encouraging students to wear masks and distance themselves when meeting in public areas.

The letter said students, faculty and staff are “strongly encouraged” to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the U of R, the fall semester will be a transitional term as the university will continue to assess and adjust safety protocols. The university anticipates a full return to normal in the winter.