DIXFIELD — Superintendent Pam Doyen told Regional School Unit 56 directors Tuesday that district schools will be closed to the public, starting this week, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

At the end of this week teachers will only have access to the main office area and the teachers’ lounge in Dirigo Elementary School in Peru, and T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School and Dirigo High School, both in Dixfield. Classrooms will be off limits.

“That is because we are trying to close down the rest of the buildings so that the janitors can sanitize them all and not have to keep resanitizing when people walk through,” Doyen said.

“We will continue to serve food and deliver materials to houses but our buildings will be closed,” she said.

The board approved a remote education plan for students, who are using computers for online learning and working from packets prepared by teachers.

Classes will be suspended until at least April 27.

In other business, directors approved a preliminary budget in excess of $13 million for 2020-21. It’s a 2.41% increase from this year’s $12.71 million.

Carthage’s assessment would increase 23.77%, while Canton’s would drop 0.08%, Dixfield’s would drop 2.14% and Peru’s drop 0.02%.

“The additional factors that impact this budget include the fact that per administrative direction I told all the administrators and directors to keep the controllable portions of the budget to a minimum; they all managed to do that, some even came below what they had last year,” Doyen said.

Directors added to the budget a six-hour-a-day van driver position, a contracted social worker position at Dirigo Elementary School and a club adviser position at Dirigo Middle School.

Directors will make a final decision on the amount April 14 or 28, depending on when they are allowed to meet in one space, Doyen said.

Tuesday’s meeting was based at Dirigo High School where Doyen and Director Donald Whittemore of Carthage met, while the majority of directors and administrators participated via Google Meet.


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