COVID

Mass. schools report more than 60% increase in COVID cases

The surge comes as some districts reinstate mask mandates.

As schools report large surges of COVID cases, mask mandates are being reinstated. AP Photo/David Goldman, File

COVID numbers throughout the state, particularly in schools, continue to surge. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released data on Thursday that showed an increased case count of 62.6 percent compared to the previous week.

This number includes positive cases from both students and faculty. From May 5 through May 11, the department recorded 13,380 new positive cases in students and 4,043 new positive cases in staff. These cases make up 1.45 percent of all students and 2.89 percent of all school employees.

The week before, from April 28 through May 4, the state recorded 8,079 new positive cases in students and 2,636 new positive cases in staff. The numbers are reported to the public every Thursday.

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COVID cases soared during the holiday season and early January, but decreased through February. Since March, however, they have steadily risen once again.

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The number of positive cases reported by DESE takes into account public school districts, charter schools, collaboratives, and approved special education.

In response to the rising case counts, school districts around Massachusetts have either fully reinstated mask mandates or issued formal recommendations for mask usage. Northampton public schools made them required once again earlier this week, after the number of cases reported to schools or detected through the district’s pooled testing program more than doubled from 64 to 139 over a three-day period, The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

The superintendents of Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge all recommended mask usage in school buildings, following the CDC’s classification of Middlesex County as having a high level of COVID-19 transmission.

Statewide, there were 5,576 new cases reported Thursday. State numbers peaked in early January before dipping later in the year. They have been rising again since mid-March.

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