The number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools is continuing to rise.
In the last two weeks, there were 6,309 student cases and 2,339 staff cases for a total of 8,648.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers April 14-27. It did not release a new report last week because of school vacation.
The total from Thursday's report is an increase of 3,285 from the previous report, which confirmed 5,363 school cases between April 7 and April 13. But the weekly average (4,324) is down.
Thursday's two-week data set shows 0.69% of student and 1.67% of employees at Massachusetts schools tested positive.
New coronavirus cases in schools have been trending upward in recent weeks. The total in the April 14 report was about 42.4% higher than the one reported on April 7.
COVID cases in schools were on the rise through the holiday season and the omicron surge, but had trended downward after Jan. 13, when 48,414 were reported.
From around the start of March, though, cases have ticked back up.
Massachusetts' statewide school mask mandate was lifted at the end of February, leaving each district to decide on its own whether facial coverings would be required.
More on the COVID-19 pandemic
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.