VANCOUVER -- Several B.C. universities have announced plans to move all classes online in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Trinity Western University have all confirmed they are transitioning to remote lectures beginning next week.

UBC had previously decided to suspend in-person classes with more than 250 students, under the advice of provincial health officials, but president Santa Ono said they have expanded their response in the face of "an unprecedented scenario for the university."

"We understand this shift in delivery will have a significant impact on our community and you have many questions. I would ask for your patience as we seek to answer those questions," Ono said in a public letter to students and staff.

"To be clear, we are not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students, faculty or staff. However, we understand the need to be prepared as a university and act accordingly."

Online classes are scheduled to begin on Monday at UBC and SFU, and Wednesday at TWU. In the meantime, staff are helping faculty adapt their teaching materials.

Ono said UBC is also "exploring the potential to offer exams remotely and considering any potential impacts on graduation ceremonies." Details on those decisions will be shared as they become available, he said.

Simon Fraser University said all campuses will remain open after classes move online, and noted that the risk of catching COVID-19 in B.C. currently remains low.

"We are taking appropriate steps to ensure continuity for students in a manner consistent with the advice of the provincial health officer to maximize social distancing," SFU said on its website. "Thank you for your patience and support in this challenging time."