New COVID-19 cases reported in Massachusetts schools have continued to decline for a fourth straight week.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers Feb. 3 through Feb. 9.
During that time, 5,634 students and 1,089 school employees tested positive for COVID-19, a total of 6,723 cases in Bay State schools.
That total decreased by 43.9% since last Thursday's report, when there were 11,986 school cases.
New cases in schools have been trending downward each week after Jan. 13, when 48,414 were reported. Before then, they were on a sharp climb through the onset of the omicron variant and the holiday season.
The cases reported in the last week represent 0.61% of Massachusetts students and 0.78% of school employees.
This week's report comes on the heels of Gov. Charlie Baker's announcement that the statewide mask mandate in schools would be lifted on Feb. 28.
Each school district will be able to determine whether masks will continue to be required. Mayor Michelle Wu said Thursday that Boston schools would continue to require masks after the end of the month.
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.