As a downward trend continues, there were fewer COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools in the last two weeks than in the previous one.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers Feb. 17 through March 2. There was no report last Thursday during a school vacation week that began with Presidents' Day.
In that two-week period, 2,395 students and 689 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, a total of 3,084 school cases.
The weekly average from the new report represents a decline of more than 60% from the report on Feb. 17, which followed a week with 3,251 student cases and 670 employee cases, totaling 3,921.
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.
Massachusetts' statewide school mask mandate ended Monday, leaving each district to decide on its own whether facial coverings would be required.
Boston's mask mandate for indoor public spaces ends Saturday, but masks are still required in the city's public 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 report on June 16, 2021, included only 53 new cases in students and 5 among school staff.