New COVID-19 cases at Massachusetts schools have risen sharply, with more reported in the last week than in the previous two.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers April 28 through May 4.
In that time, 8,079 students and 2,636 staff members tested positive for coronavirus, a total of 10,715 school cases. Those cases make up 0.88% of the student body and 1.88% of school employees.
Because of April vacation, last week's report included data from April 14-27. In that report, 6,309 student cases and 2,339 staff cases were confirmed for a total of 8,648.
Despite Thursday's report covering half as much time, it represented an increase of nearly 24% over the prior report's total.
New COVID cases had been on the rise through the holiday season and the omicron surge, but began to decrease after Jan. 13, when 48,414 were reported. From around the start of March, though, cases have ticked back up.
Massachusetts' statewide school mask mandate was lifted at the end of February, leaving each district to decide on its own whether facial coverings would be required.
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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.