Schools and colleges across Wales will move to online learning until January 18th, the Welsh Government has announced.
It comes as Ministers have faced mounting pressure from teaching unions who have openly criticised plans for schools to reopen in the New Year.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said the change of plan is "the best way to ensure that parents, staff and learners can be confident in the return to face-to-face learning, based on the latest evidence and information."
Schools and colleges will remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable learners, as well as for learners who need to complete essential exams or assessments.
Before the announcement, some schools in the Vale were preparing to resume face-to-face learning as early as Wednesday.
This was in line with the Welsh Government's initial plan to allow them to choose when to reopen, ahead of an expected full return by January 18.
But education unions called for a rethink of the plan due to safety concerns after it was announced the Covid-19 variant spreading across Wales was 70 per cent more transmissible.