College and university students will be expected to continue with remote learning at least until the end of February.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the vast majority of students would be expected to stay at home to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Colleges in Shetland are awaiting further information from the Scottish government early next week on how the ruling will apply in level three areas. Some students on practical courses may be able to return for face to face tuition.
Ms Sturgeon apologised to students for the impact on their education.
“I feel bitterly disappointed on your behalf that it’s being so disrupted,” she said.
Prior to the announcement the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association had called for all teaching to be delivered online, where possible.
HISA president Florence Jansen said: “We believe that no student should be expected to return to campus should they not need to, but that the decision should be their own.”
A limited number of students will be able to continue their learning in person, such as student nurses or doctors on practical placements.