Fall School Planning | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

While there is still much uncertainty about what school will look like in the fall, we know that many are concerned about the well-being of students and staff. We are concerned about the public health of our communities and schools as much as we are about the impact that not being in school has had on our students’ well-being, especially for those who rely on school for food, safety, social connections and more.

Like all Minnesota school districts, we are planning for three different scenarios per the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE):

1. Distance Learning
2. Variations of a hybrid approach (a combination of in-person and distance learning)
3. In-person schooling

We are gathering input and learning about the concerns from staff, students, and families through surveys and virtual meetings during the week of July 13.

Important Information for Families

Hotline and Family Resources

District 287 Family Hotline: 763-550-7222

The Hotline helps families navigate:

  • Mental health and behavior support
  • Basic needs, such as food and shelter
  • Technology support for distance learning
  • Child care

The voice messages for families who are Spanish or Somali speaking will be checked multiple times per day.

287 FAMILY HOTLINE (Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 4 PM)
  • English: 763-550-7222
  • Español: 763-550-7224 - voicemail
  • Soomaali: 763-550-7234 - voicemail
  • Tech Help for Students: submit a request

Family Resources Guide

English: Online I Printed

Spanish: Online I Printed

Distance Learning Confidentiality Notice



Virtual Library Cards

Libraries are offering virtual library cards and free access to books, e-Books, and downloads - plus tutoring, educational materials, and assistance with accessing community resources, too. Anyone with internet access and a Hennepin County Library card can check out eBooks and eAudiobooks through the website or with the Libby, RBdigital, or cloudLibrary apps. To find available ebooks, use this search page. All students can check out eBooks from eBooks Minnesota without an account or a library card.

Mental Health and Student Well-being

We understand that concern over this new virus can make students and families anxious.  Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking actions that reduce the risk of illness. Helping children cope with anxiety requires providing accurate prevention information and facts without causing undue alarm.

  • Steps to Reduce Students’ Anxiety Related to COVID-19: It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If parents or educators seem overly worried, children’s anxiety may rise. Our school staff work to reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy. It's important to give students concrete things they can do to keep themselves and others healthy will reduce stress. Teaching children positive preventive measures such as talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety.
  • References for Families: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (coronavirus): A Parent Resource

Know that not all children respond to stress in the same way.  Some common changes to watch for include:

  • Excessive crying and irritation
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (e.g., toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

How to talk to your children about COVID-19

  • Take time to talk with your child about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can understand.
  • Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your child’s exposure to media coverage of the event. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Help your child to have a sense of structure and consider creating a visual structure. Make a visual plan for the day, introduce it in the morning, and work your way through it during the day. This will help them with any anxiety and these unexpected changes. Once it is safe to return to school or child care, help them return to their regular activity.
  • Be a role model; take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members and rely on your social support system.
  • Learn more about helping children cope.
Technology Help and Internet Access

Does your student need technology help for distance learning? Submit a tech help request.

Internet Access at Home

New Internet Essentials customers will receive two months of internet service for free, then it will cost $9.95/month plus tax. Apply by April 30, 2020 by calling 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

The Spectrum Internet Assist program is available to anyone who doesn’t have internet access free for 60 days. Call 1-844-488-8395.

Their Lifeline program is a government assistance program for low-income families without internet access. Call 1-800-921-8101.

Xfinity has opened their hotspots to the public for free during the COVID-19 outbreak. Enter your zip code in their website to find all the hot spot locations in your area. Once at the location, enable wifi on your device and select "xfinitywifi" on the list of available networks.

From your smart phone
Depending on your carrier and plan, you may be able to set up wifi using your mobile device. AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have eliminated data caps for mobile devices. Please contact your carrier for more information.

Free Food

Free Meals at School: Most school districts are providing free meals at pick up sites, along bus routes, and even delivered to homes where needed. Your child does not need to attend the resident school district to receive these meals.  Information about free meals can most easily be found on your resident district's website or social media pages.

If you are in need of meals and for some reason are unable to obtain them from your resident district, please contact your child’s Social Worker.  We will make every effort to help families who need them, find free meals for their children.

Due to low participation, Monday, March 30, 2020 will be our last bag meal distribution at Intermediate District 287 school sites during the school closure.

  • Food Banks: If you or someone you know is struggling to put food on the table, you can call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Food shelves are a lifeline for people suffering from hunger. To find one near you, visit this map: hungersolutions.org/ find-help/
  • Second Harvest Heartland: Second Harvest Heartland, the state’s largest food bank, has donation and volunteer opportunities at 2harvest.org/. You can also call: 1-888-339-3663
  • Minnesota FoodShare: helps stock nearly 300 food shelves across the state. You can donate here: mnfoodshare.org/donate
  • Loaves and Fishes 
  • Free Produce    
Past Family Communications

287 Pandemic Response Plan

District 287 Precautionary Measures

Our administrative team continues to monitor the Center for Disease Control, Minnesota State Departments of Health and Education precautions, protocols, and response activities for a pandemic outbreak. These agencies help determine how and when all Minnesota schools should respond to infectious illness.

When school is in session, District 287 take the following precautions: 

Gatherings and District-sponsored Travel: District 287 will follow the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health, including canceling gatherings of more than 250 people; canceling or postponing events of fewer than 250 held in venues where close contact (within 6 feet) is unavoidable; and canceling events or meetings where most are at high risk of COVID-19 illness should be limited to 10 people.


  • Until further notice, District 287 will cancel large, nonessential gatherings, such as school assemblies, field trips, school/community events, and other gatherings that are not central to core responsibilities and operations to serve member districts, students, and families.
  • Effective Monday, March 16, all district-sponsored out-of-state travel will be suspended. District-sponsored in-state travel will follow the above guidelines per the Minnesota Department of Health. Personal travel is a personal decision and while District 287 doesn’t have guidance for employees, we encourage you to follow the travel guidelines recommended by the Center for Disease Control.

We encourage staff to practice social distancing for staff and students when possible.

Work Experience Programs: We recognize that some students spend time in our communities, for example in hospitals and nursing homes, where there is greater risk of exposure to COVID-19. Until further notice, community work experience programs will be suspended. Students with work experience assignments within our buildings will continue.

Monitoring Attendance: Please help us ensure that students who exhibit signs of the flu or COVID-19 stay home from school. Schools will review attendance daily and look for any anomalies, such as several students/staff who work in the same program out ill. We’ve also decided that during this period, we will not send letters to families about attendance.

Daily Building Cleaning Procedures: Keeping buildings and surfaces clean and disinfected are key to prevention efforts. COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for hours to days, making cleaning and disinfecting surfaces an important first line of defense.

  • Extensive Cleaning: District 287 will clean and disinfect all public areas (entryways, hallways, gym, cafeteria, bathrooms) of the school and classroom light switches and door handles.
  • Classroom Cleaning Kits: We’ve invested in clean-up supplies for in-classroom sanitizing in an effort to proactively protect students and staff from illness-causing germs and viruses. 

Food Service Procedures

Adjustments to Meal Preparation: All site salad bars will be closed for the time being. Individual servings of pre-dished salad (salad boat) and veggies will be offered to students during lunch. Canned fruit will be pre-portioned in disposable cups with lids, eliminating self serve bowls.

Handwashing before Meals: Students will be instructed to wash their hands before coming to breakfast and lunch, making sure to wash with soap for 20 seconds.

PIN Pads: At some sites, the use of the PIN Pad by students will be eliminated and food service staff will enter student PIN #'s. At sites that only have 1 food service staff member, PIN pads will continue to be utilized by students but will be sanitized frequently, minimally between lunch groups.

Cafeteria Surfaces: Cafeteria line surfaces will be sanitized between lunch groups.

Closing School Information

Many staff and families are wondering about how District 287 would handle a closure. We don’t have all of the answers at this time, especially if there were to be an extended closure, but we do have a general idea of how District 287 would approach a closure due to COVID-19.

First, we recognize that District 287, as an intermediate school district, serves a unique population of students. We often operate differently than a traditional K-12 school district.

  • District 287 serves a disproportionate number of medically vulnerable students
  • There is frequent movement and transition of students within buildings and within the community or across sites
  • Staff frequently travel between buildings and to and from our 11 member school districts
  • Staff are often in close physical proximity to students to provide support or manage safety incidents
  • Staff have high exposure to bodily fluids, including saliva

When would District 287 close? The District would close if there were to be an executive order from the state. Currently, District 287 schools are closed for students March 16-April 3.

Additionally, a  district-wide closure may be implemented if confirmed exposure to COVID-19 by a staff, student, or family member occurred in one or more 287 buildings.  District 287 may also decide to close schools based on exposures in a member district. The closure would include all schools, programs at Hennepin Technical College, Care & Treatment, and Itinerant Services, unless otherwise specified.

This information is the extent of the clarity we can provide at this time.

Safe and Healthy Schools

At Intermediate District 287, our top priorities are the health, safety, and education of the children entrusted to us each day. From H1N1 to the measles, District 287 has preparedness plans to manage illness outbreaks in a coordinated, strategic way that prioritizes the health of its students, families, and staff.

District 287 Pandemic Response Plan

We continue to be proactive with the daily monitoring of any developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please be assured that as a part of our procedures, we have a Pandemic Response Plan to guide us in the event of an outbreak of infectious illness.

Our administrative team continues to monitor the Center for Disease Control, Minnesota State Departments of Health and Education precautions, protocols, and response activities for a pandemic outbreak. These agencies help determine how and when all Minnesota schools should respond to infectious illness.

COVID-19 Information

What is COVID-19?

Situation Update for Coronavirus (Minnesota Department of Health)

Visit the Minnesota Department of Health's  Situation Update for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage for daily updates about cases in Minnesota.

How can I protect my family?

The coronavirus is a virus that affects the respiratory system. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

It’s natural for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families. The best guidance at this point is to take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough, and
  • Practice good hand washing

More information on the novel coronavirus is available from the Minnesota Department of Health.