After increasing for months, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools has gone down in recent days.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers May 19-25.
In that period, 9,803 students and 2,926 school workers tested positive for coronavirus, representing 1.1% of the student body and 2.1% of employees.
The total of 12,729 cases was a decrease of about 31.9% from last Thursday's report, when a total of 18,698 cases were identified.
The most recent upward trend began in early March, shortly after Massachusetts' statewide school mask mandate was lifted. It appeared to slow in last week's report, 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.
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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.