COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools are continuing to trend upward.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers March 24-30.
In total, there were 3,245 cases in schools in that time, an increase of 651, or roughly 25%, since the previous week.
The report includes 2,441 student cases and 804 employee cases. The positive cases represent 0.27% of students and 0.57% of staff.
Last Thursday's report showed 1,993 positive cases among students and 601 among employees.
COVID cases in schools were on the rise through the holiday season and the omicron surge, but had trended downward after Jan. 13, when 48,414 were reported.
Through the month of March, though, cases have ticked back up.
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Massachusetts' statewide school mask mandate was lifted at the end of last month, leaving each district to decide on its own whether facial coverings would be required.
The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported by the DESE takes into account school districts (including charter schools), collaboratives, and approved special education schools. The data only represents what has been reported to the state.
The state had stopped publicly reporting the school data in mid-June as school was winding down and cases were dropping. The report on June 16, 2021, included only 53 new cases in students and 5 among school staff.