New COVID Cases in Mass. Schools Down for 2nd Week After Rising for Months

In the last week, 6,106 students and 1,941 employees at Massachusetts schools tested positive for COVID-19, representing 0.66% of the student body and 1.39% of school staff

NBC10 Boston, File

Following months of rising COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools, they have fallen in each of the last two weeks.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers May 26 through June 1.



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During that week, 6,106 students and 1,941 school employees tested positive for coronavirus, representing 0.66% of the student body and 1.39% of staff.

The total of 8,047 cases is a drop of about 36.8% from last Thursday's report, which identified 12,729 cases. That report was also a decrease of about 31.9% from a week earlier.

The most recent upward trend began in early March, shortly after Massachusetts' statewide school mask mandate was lifted. It appeared to slow in the report issued May 19, which showed an increase of just 7.3% over the report on May 12 — when cases rose by 62.6%.

The peak of school cases this year came on Jan. 13, when 48,414 were reported following the holiday season and the omicron surge.

Thursday's report comes after the announcements of major changes to testing and quarantine protocols in Massachusetts schools.

Starting this fall, the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says it will suspend its COVID testing program.

DESE announced in a memo on May 24 that the state-run school testing program would end after this school year, and that Massachusetts would stop supplying at-home tests to schools beginning in the fall.

The Department of Public Health also announced that effective May 25, children exposed to COVID-19 who are not experiencing symptoms are no longer required to quarantine from K-12, child care or recreational camp settings. Testing is also no longer required for asymptomatic exposures.

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported by 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.

Top Boston doctors explain the latest on rising coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, how soon reinfection can occur, mask guidance and immunity during NBC10 Boston’s weekly series, “COVID Q&A.”
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