coronavirus

Mass. Schools Report Almost 10,000 COVID Cases in Last 2 Weeks

A total of 8,513 students and 1,396 employees tested positive between Nov. 18 and Dec. 1., according to data from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools rose significantly over the past two weeks, with 9,909 students and staff testing positive.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which encompassed two weeks worth of data due to the Thanksgiving holiday. A total of 8,513 students and 1,396 employees tested positive between Nov. 18 and Dec. 1.

In the last report, 3,257 students and 558 employees tested positive for a total of 3,815. That report was also a dramatic increase from the prior week, when 2,640 students and 381 staff members tested positive, totaling 3,021.

The student cases represent 0.93% of the estimated 920,000 students enrolled in K-12 schools. DESE said 1.0% of the roughly 140,000 staff members tested positive in the last two weeks.

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 June 16 report included only 53 new cases in students and 5 among school staff.

COVID cases are also surging across the state. Massachusetts health officials reported another 5,170 confirmed cases Thursday -- the first single-day total over 5,000 since mid-January.

The last time Massachusetts reported more than 5,000 COVID cases in a single day was on Jan. 16, as last winter's surge was receding, state data shows.