There has already been a huge reaction on social media. Here is a flavour of what educators and students have been saying.
Secondary teacher John Naples-Campbell posted a video shortly after the education secretary announced this afternoon that exams would be cancelled, a move that even two world wars had not managed to force before.
Mr Naples-Campbell said schools were in "uncharted waters" but that it was the "just and correct decision". He admitted, however, that he was nervous for students in subjects such as drama, dance and music, as practical exams accounted for 60 per cent of their grade, which thousands of students had already sat or were due to sit soon.
VLOG post 1 - teacher’s thoughts in uncharted waters... pic.twitter.com/4xfewAZN1c— John Naples-Campbell (@JNaplesCampbell) March 19, 2020
In another video message, Fife student Bailey-Lee Robb, who is a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said secondary pupils should take the next few days to "switch off and process" the news that schools were closing and exams being cancelled.
Statement from Bailey-Lee Robb, MSYP for Cowdenbeath and Member of the Education and Children’s Services Committee;— Bailey-Lee (@BaileyLeeRobb_) March 19, 2020
My message to young people of Fife. @carrielnds @CllrFaySinclair @aewingmsp pic.twitter.com/ssLO9SXgpm
As a father of an S4 pupil, devastated by this and an educator I want to say well done @JohnSwinney . This was the only decision possible in the circumstances. Our teacher judgements are robust and young people will get their qualifications. Let’s focus on love and staying safe.— John Stuart - Education (@john_education) March 19, 2020
There is a lot of disappointment that S6 and P7 pupils will not be able to mark leaving school in the way they had hoped, although some schools, such as Blairgowrie High, have managed to mark an occasion that appears to have come more than three months earlier than expected.
Similarly, P7s at Victoria Primary in Edinburgh overcame their disappointment about a cancelled camp to replicate the experience as best they could on school grounds. Meanwhile, Belhaven Hill School, in East Lothian, had a very early Easter egg hunt.
Not the S6 farewell we had planned but we wish all our Super 6s a happy, healthy, prosperous future. pic.twitter.com/gQNFvKM27S— Blairgowrie HS (@BlairgowrieHS) March 19, 2020
The P7s in our school playground were (good naturedly) chanting "we want a school trip" this morning. Hard to have this rite of passage taken away so abruptly. But for some pupils the school closures mean they are unlikely to return to school again https://t.co/c2yxDz16RB— Emma Seith (@Emma_Seith) March 19, 2020
Much excitement as Easter egg hunt in full swing. Might as well make the most of our final evening of term. 🐇🍬— Belhaven Hill School (@Belhaven_Hill) March 19, 2020
Had to chase the crows off the hidden eggs before the children got out - were worried about corvid-19. pic.twitter.com/DqrePCjZjl
Many schools, teachers and parents are sharing some of their preparations for home learning, which will start in thousands of households on Monday, although schools will still operate in some form for vulnerable pupils and key professionals such as doctors, nurses and police.
And while there was a lot of sadness about the events of the past two days – and concern about the wellbeing of both students and staff – there was a groundswell of confidence that teachers would rise to this historic challenge.