Pupils in schools across the north-east will be required to wear face coverings in corridors, communal areas and transport from next week.
The Scottish Government has made the decision, which will apply to all pupils aged 12 and over from next Monday, based on fresh information from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It will not apply in classrooms, where youngsters are already socially distanced.
The Scottish Government says it is necessary due to there being more chance of people mixing in corridors and communal areas, with less ability to distance.
The move has been welcomed by senior figures in the north-east, who say it will help keep staff and pupils safe from the threat of Covid-19.
Ron Constable, the secretary of the Aberdeen branch of the teaching union EIS, said: “We welcome this announcement from the Scottish Government. It has been coming over the last couple of week because once the WHO started recommending it, it was a done deal.
“Anything that is put in place to protect young learners and staff in our schools is really important.
“In time we might see this extended into classrooms, like they have done in other places. But in the current situation, you can’t plan more than a week or so ahead because things are moving so quickly.
“This decision is a good thing and will keep pupils and staff safe.”
Education chiefs across the north-east also welcomed the decision by ministers.
Gillian Owen, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee said: “We are very aware that public health guidance will continue to evolve, sometimes at pace.
“Our schools are supportive of encouraging children and young people to follow the measures recommended by scientific experts at a national level and we continue to monitor the situation closely.
“I think schools will welcome the advice on face coverings coming into play next week and will continue to be very supportive of all of our children and young people.”
John Wheeler, Aberdeen City Council’s educational operational delivery convener, revealed the local authority had already been examining how to implement the policy in schools across the city.
He said: “This makes absolute sense. We are asking the young people to wear face coverings in all sorts of other situations, so to do so in some areas of the school and on transport is right.
“There have been a few outbreaks in other parts of the country which have originated in schools so anything that can be done to keep pupils and staff safe from the threat of the virus is to be encouraged.”
Martin Greig, who sits on the city council’s education committee, added: “Liberal Democrats have been calling for this policy and it is good to know these concerns are being heard at last.
“This new requirement to wear face coverings is welcome but should go further. The aim is to protect not just the pupils but also all those who they later come into contact with.
“Pupils should not only be required to wear face coverings but should also be encouraged to wear them more extensively. Face coverings should always be worn on school transport for the safety of all.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in her daily briefing: “We expect that most children and young people will have access to face coverings already as part of their daily lives. However, we will work with local authorities, to ensure that schools also have supplies – so that no child is disadvantaged.
“There are of course people for whom wearing a face covering is not appropriate – which is why there are already exemptions in place for individuals with breathing difficulties or certain disabilities when it comes to wearing a covering in places like supermarkets.
“So there will also be young people for whom it is not appropriate to wear a face covering in school and schools will of course discuss that with pupils and parents. But let me be clear that nobody should be stigmatised in a school because they cannot, for one of those reasons, wear a face covering.
“We hope that these changes provide some additional assurance to pupils, staff, and parents. We know it’s not easy, none of what we ‘re all having to live with right now, generally or in schools, is easy but it is all about trying to minimise the risk of transmission. And we will of course continue to keep the guidance under review.”