DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 56 plans to open its three schools again Tuesday, after a two-week shutdown caused by three COVID-19 cases at Dirigo High School in Dixfield.

Students at the high school, T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School and Dixfield Elementary School in Peru have been receiving remote instruction while schools and cleaned and disinfected. In-school classes started Sept. 8, but were canceled a week later because of the virus.

The board of directors in a meeting Tuesday received reports from Earl Couture, a middle school educational technician and the district COVID-19 coordinator, and Kathy Wilcox, high and middle school nurse.

Couture said if one person tests positive for the virus, all students would learn remotely for 72 hours. “Anytime within the next 14 days if there was another individual with another positive case, we would automatically go to 14 days,” he said.

That procedure meets all criteria of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said.

As of Tuesday, Oxford County has had 103 confirmed cases of the virus, 85 recoveries, three hospitalizations and one death, Couture said.

Wilcox said COVID-19 testing Tuesday at Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico potentially affected two district students who were potential close contacts, but they would be covered by RSU 56’s 14-day quarantine.

She also said the recent 16 positive cases and one death at at ND paper mill in Rumford “had the potential to affect our community as well.”

In other business, directors voted to offer some fall sports at the high school and middle school.

Jess McGreevy, athletic director for the high school, said the Maine Principals’ Association has approved golf, cross-country running, soccer and field hockey with conditions that include wearing masks when not on the fields and social distancing.

“All (athletes) need to prescreen for symptoms just like they do at school: everyone needs to maintain distancing whenever possible like during warm-ups or stretching; face coverings must be worn when not engaged in active play; no fist-bumping, high-fives, back-slapping, or anything like that,” McGreevy said.

The Mountain Valley Sports Conference has also ruled that there will be no fans at the fall sports games except for senior night games, she said.


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