Getting children back to school safely is Middlesbrough's number one priority, the town's Mayor pledged today.
But Andy Preston stressed schools would only reopen when all possible measures are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of pupils, staff and the wider community.
Mr Preston's commitment followed positive meetings and discussions with head teachers from schools across the town.
While the majority of Middlesbrough's schools - including all secondaries - operate outside of the Council's control, Mr Preston promised to support them as they work towards reopening their doors.
Mr Preston has repeatedly stressed the vital importance of education for young people in some of the most deprived wards in the UK, and is determined that reopening should not be delayed until September.
But the Mayor also said he fully understood anxieties - from schools, parents and unions - around maintaining health and well-being as lockdown measures begin to be eased.
And he paid tribute to teachers and support staff who have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown to keep schools open for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
Mayor Preston said: "There's nothing more important than getting our kids back to school, and we're working really hard to make that happen as soon as it's safe to do so.
"Some of the poorest kids are missing out on life-changing education - that's a crime, because all our young people deserve the chance to thrive.
"Teachers, heads and schools are all determined to get back to teaching, and we will do everything we can to support them in that.
"Safety will always be paramount, and schools should only reopen to more pupils when we're sure the right measures are in place for kids, teachers and parents.
"I know how anxious a situation this is for parents. We're going to work hard alongside schools so they can be as safe as possible as soon as possible.
"Clearly most schools won't return on June 1, but we want to explore every avenue so that the year groups that need classroom time the most can spend time with their teachers and friends before the summer.
"Home learning is no substitute for some of our young people and we shouldn't lose sight of that.
"In Middlesbrough we have some really disadvantaged kids who really need the routine of their school environment.
"I'm committed to finding a way to get kids back to school as soon as it's safe. It's so important for Middlesbrough's children's futures that we try everything we can."