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.

We are gathering input and learning about the concerns from staff, students, families, and our 11 member school districts. The 2020-2021 plan will be finalized and communicated to our stakeholders in mid-August.

2020-2021 Draft Back to School Plan

Message from Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski

Dear 287 Families,

We recognize that District 287, as an intermediate school district, serves a unique population of students, many who are medically vulnerable. While every student is different, all students deserve teaching and learning that works best for them.

We've designed a plan that begins with innovative distance learning and carefully builds our capacity over several phases to safely serve students at school. The continuum will allow us to move between the phases and safely adapt to the pandemic around us.

My promise to you as we navigate this pandemic is that safety and well-being will come first and we will engage staff and families to understand their diverse needs. We will have a laser focus on racial equity in order to build the groundwork for Black and Brown students to thrive in our new reality. Similarly, efforts to understand trauma, including racial trauma, will be central to our work in the upcoming school year.

We're in this together.


Sandy Lewandowski


Summary of Draft Back to School Plan

Here are the basics of 287's plan:

    • The draft plan has four steps (0, 1, 2, and 3)
    • We will move up or down the steps depending on the nature of the pandemic and the safety of in-person schooling
    • Steps 1 through 3 gradually increase the percent of a school building's staff and student capacity (from 10% to 25% to 50%) in order to safely increase the percent of students we serve in school. Students will attend school 2 days per week and there will be 1 disinfecting day. Students are phased in by grade-level grouping, starting with elementary.
    • All families have the choice to keep their child at home no matter the step

Returning with Stronger Practices

Students can meet their teachers & staff in-person: Students will have the opportunity to meet their teacher and staff in person (socially distant) before the start of the school year or within the first week of school.

Bi-weekly teacher-family connection: Every teacher will connect with each student/family at least two times per week regardless of which step we are in.

Every student will have a mentor: Students will have a mentor, likely an Education Assistant, who can support tutoring, enrichment activities, and social-emotional learning,

Weekly mental health support: Mental health team members will connect with students once each week for individual and/or group sessions. Some students may have home visits.

Learning goals: Expectations for learning goals will be raised to strengthen inquiry and higher-order thinking skills along with skills needed to recover learning gaps.

We will talk about race: Many staff, students, and families continue to be impacted by the murder of George Floyd and the worldwide protests to fight for racial justice. Some students may have experienced race-related trauma over the summer. 287 staff will engage in conversations about racial equity and justice. Educators will receive resources to help them lead and facilitate these important conversations with students.

Innovative Distance Learning

We heard from families that students need a new, more innovative version of distance learning. There will be 3 pathways of distance learning, as well as some significant improvements.

Pathway 1 - Non-Digital Work: This pathway usually involves physical resources delivered to a student, such as worksheets, readings, and assignments. The teacher provides guidance for the work. The student completes the work, and sends it back to the teacher, who grades it and provides feedback.

Pathway 2 - Digitally Managed Work: This pathway usually involves using available and readily accessible digital learning resources and tools for delivering and managing student work, things like Google Docs, email, video, links to websites, etc.

Pathway  3 - Learning Management System, like Moodle: This pathway involves using a Learning Management System like Moodle to hold and manage all student work, teaching, and grading.

How we're making distance learning better

Daily Safety Practices at Every School

  • Daily temperatures check upon arrival at school
  • Social Distancing of 6 feet of space between students and staff a all times
  • Masks/face coverings are worn by 287 staff at all times; masks encouraged for students at all times
  • Handwashing and hand sanitizing throughout the day
  • Pick up/ drop off, meals & flow of students: each school has a site-based plan for student pick up/drop off, meal distribution and how to manage the direction and flow of students throughout the day

Important Information For Families

Gathering input to make decisions in students' best interest

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.

We are gathering input from many stakeholders to make decisions and consult regularly with the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education to better understand specific guidance for intermediate school districts as it relates to opening this fall.

Here are some of the factors we have shared with state and local leaders:

  • 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
  • Coordination of transportation and programming schedules with 11 school districts across the West Metro
COVID-19 Planning Teams

Fall School Planning: A team of 287 staff meets weekly to plan and prepare for what school may look like in the fall. This team of diverse staff includes nurses, social workers, family engagement, food and nutrition, transportation, academics, staff professional development, district leaders, racial equity, and more. Members of the team are gathering input from staff, students, and families to understand concerns about planning for school this fall.

Incident Command: A team of district leaders and principals meet 3 to 5 times each week to plan and prepare for the day-to-day operations as a result of COVID-19. The team includes staff experts in health and safety, mental health, academics and learning, special education, human resources, communications, and more.

Past Family Communications