For a third straight week, new COVID-19 cases reported in Massachusetts schools have dropped.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers Jan. 27 through Feb. 2.
In the last week, 10,068 students and 1,918 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, for a total of 11,986 school cases.
That total is roughly 44.7% lower than the total of 21,686 school cases in last week's report. The Jan. 20 report showed 32,909 cases in Massachusetts schools, while 48,414 were reported a week earlier.
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This downward trend began after a sharp and steady climb in cases among students and teachers that occurred through the onset of the omicron variant and the holiday season.
The cases reported in the last week represent 1.09% of Massachusetts students and 1.37% of school employees.
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 June 16 report included only 53 new cases in students and 5 among school staff.