VANCOUVER -- The University of Victoria has joined post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland in cancelling in-person classes and transitioning to online instruction for the remainder of the current term.

UVic joined the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Trinity Western University in making the switch to online-only courses Friday, as the global COVID-19 pandemic prompted Canada's federal government to advise against all non-essential international travel.

"The provost, in consultation with the Emergency Operations Centre, is recommending, effective Monday, March 16, transitioning from face-to-face to alternative modes of instruction and evaluation for the remainder of this term," wrote UVic president Jamie Cassels in an email to students and faculty Friday.

"We recognize that it would be inappropriate to require a single approach to completing courses and final exams this term," Cassels wrote. "As a result, we are asking faculty and instructors of undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies courses to use their best judgement regarding the delivery and completion of courses."

Among the options faculty have for transitioning to online instruction are "emailing students with course content, posting slides or lecture notes online, uploading video content and using online learning platforms."

Faculty are also authorized to change the weighting of assignments and tests to determine final grades, assess any final projects that do not require in-person delivery, add a new assessment component to their courses and conduct final exams via alternative means that don't require in-person attendance.

While in-person classes at UVic are cancelled, the university remains open, according to Cassels' message. Research laboratories, administrative offices, campus services, libraries and recreation facilities are all open, as are residences, food services and campus security, he said.

"We know these decisions will require some adjustments, and I thank all members of the university community for your patience, flexibility and cooperation during these extraordinary times," Cassels said.