DIXFIELD — Regional School Unit 56 schools have closed for the fourth time since the fall due to COVID-19 cases, Superintendent Pam Doyen told directors Tuesday during a Zoom conference.

She notified the community by a letter Saturday and Monday that cases had been detected and numerous staff and students were quarantined.

On Tuesday, directors voted to approve changes in the district’s Return to Classroom Instruction Framework to allow buildings and/or grades not affected by outbreaks to return to in-person instruction before the 14-day quarantine expired.

On Wednesday, Doyen said, Dirigo Elementary School would to return to in-person instruction for prekindergarten through grade 4 on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and grade 5 on Monday, Jan. 25.

Dirigo High School students will return to in-person instruction Tuesday, Jan. 19, and Dirigo Middle School students Friday, Jan. 22.

This year, due to coronavirus health restrictions, when school is in session and the school buildings are open students receive in-person classroom instruction or virtual learning if they choose.

The Center for Disease Control has designated Oxford County a moderate risk for spreading the virus.

In other business, Alyssa McLean, an eighth-grade student at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School, asked the board to consider adding a mini-half pike and some benches to the skate park on the school property in Dixfield.

“I think that adding on to the skate park is a great idea,” McLean said. “In my opinion in the summertime there isn’t much to do around town.”

She said the price of a mini-half pike is $1,000 to $2,000 and she and others would be willing to raise the money for it.

Directors tabled a decision on the purchase until she and other students interested in the project meet with Kenny Robbins, district director of Buildings, Grounds and Transportation, and the board’s Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee.

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