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Mass. reports 85 new coronavirus cases among public school students, 18 among school staff members

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 6/10/2021 Felicia Gans
a group of people walking down the street: Students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School returned to classrooms for full-time, in-person learning in May. © Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff Students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School returned to classrooms for full-time, in-person learning in May.

The number of school-related coronavirus cases continues its downward decline. Local schools and districts in Massachusetts reported 85 new coronavirus cases among students and 18 among staff members for the week that ended Wednesday.

The number of cases reported among students was at its lowest single-week level since late September, when districts were not yet required to report cases to the state. The number of cases among staff members, however, increased slightly from last week, when just 13 new cases were reported.

Cases have declined significantly in recent weeks, even after the number of students attending school in person rose in mid-May when high schools were required to fully reopen in person. The state K-12 education agency estimates about 735,000 students across the state are attending some form of in-person learning, and about 140,000 staff members are working in buildings.

Cases only are reported among students who are attending in-person school; cases among students in a fully remote learning model are not being tracked by the state. Cases among staff members only are being reported if the employee was inside a school building within the seven days prior to the reported case.

Among the highest number of cases reported in a single school or district for the week ending Wednesday, Boston Public Schools reported six cases among students and four among staff members, and Worcester Public Schools reported six cases among students and three among staff members.

The latest figures, released Thursday, include any cases reported to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education between June 3 and 9. State education officials are not tracking when the cases occur, only when local schools and districts report them to the state.

Local school districts have been required to report their coronavirus cases to the state education agency since mid-October. The first three reports of the academic year did not require districts to report their cases.

Combined, a total of 14,096 cases among students and 6,232 among staff members have been reported to the state since September.

The pool testing program, which bundles multiple samples together to test at once, processed 11,830 pools from 176 school districts from May 31 to June 6, the state education agency reported Thursday; 25 pooled results came back positive. When a pool is positive, all people in that pool are retested individually.

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