State education officials on Thursday reported a total of more than 2,500 staff and students testing positive for COVID-19 in the past week, a 28% jump from the previous week as virus cases tick up across the Bay State.
The total of 2,594 staff and students is a 28% increase from the previous weekly report of 2,022 infections. COVID-19 cases are starting to rise in the state after mask mandates were lifted and as the omicron BA.2 “stealth” variant spreads.
The report published on Thursday by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows that 1,993 students and 601 staff tested positive for the coronavirus from March 17 to Wednesday.
Coronavirus pool testing is being used in more than 2,200 public and private schools, about double last year’s count, according to DESE. The test positivity rate in school in this report was 0.98%, up from 0.72% in the last report.
Districts with the most cases in the past week includes: 74 in Brookline; 69 in Wellesley; 63 in Worcester; 61 cases in Boston; and 54 in Concord.
Boston Public Schools reported 36 student cases and 25 staff cases in the past week.
The K-12 schools mask mandate was lifted at the end of February, as most districts made it optional to wear masks. Boston Public Schools continues to require masks for now.
With no remote learning options allowed this year, all kids are back to school in-person full time. Across all grade levels, an estimated 920,000 students and 140,000 staff are now participating in some form of in-person learning.
The DESE weekly report includes the number of positive COVID-19 cases as reported to DESE by school districts including charter schools and collaboratives.