New COVID-19 cases reported in Massachusetts schools have dropped for a second straight week.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers Jan. 20 through Jan. 26.
In the last week, 18,536 students tested positive for COVID-19, as did 3,150 staff members, for a total of 21,686 school cases.
That total is roughly 34.1% lower than the previous week's total of 32,909 cases among students and school employees. That number represented a decrease of about 32% from the prior week's total — the Jan. 13 report included 48,414 school cases.
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The downward trend comes after a sharp and steady climb through the onset of the omicron variant and the holiday season.
The COVID cases in this week's report represent 2.01% of Massachusetts students and 2.25% of school employees.
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.