VICTORIA -- All B.C. teachers will soon have access to video conferencing software to teach students remotely while classes are suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The B.C. Ministry of Education says it has licensed Zoom, a popular video-conferencing software, for every K-12 student in the province.

The government says it will be up to teachers whether or not they use the app, but the software is now available to all students in both public and independent schools in B.C.

The ministry says the Zoom server that will host the communications will be based in Canada and feature added encryption.

Students will not need their own Zoom account to access the "virtual classrooms," according to the province.

Students have been out of classes since last month as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced British Columbians to remain home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

The province says teachers will have access to the Zoom app this month, along with instructions on how to set up a virtual classroom.