COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools have dropped by more than 30% since last week after a sharp and steady climb.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers Jan. 13 through Jan. 19.
In that time period, 28,151 students tested positive for coronavirus, as well as 4,758 staff members, for a total of 32,909 school cases.
A week earlier, the state reported 48,414 total cases, including 41,063 students and 7,351 employees.
The total number of new school cases decreased by about 32% — the first week-over-week drop in more than a month — but it's still higher than the weekly average from the state report on Jan. 6, which comprised two weeks of data. There were 51,100 total cases in that data set, or 25,500 per week.
The decrease in cases among students and school employees comes as new daily cases in Massachusetts have been trending downward — 14,384 were reported Thursday. In the Boston area, levels of COVID detected in wastewater have fallen to around where they were before the omicron surge began.
The school cases from Thursday's report represent 3.06% of the students and 3.4% of the staff at Massachusetts schools.
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.