The number of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools has shot up significantly, with 17,423 students and staff members testing positive in the last week.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which covers May 5-11.
During that time period, 13,380 students and 4,043 school workers tested positive for coronavirus. Those cases make up 1.45% of the student body and 2.89% of employees.
The total cases represented an increase of 62.6% from last week's report, when 10,715 cases were confirmed in schools, including 8,079 students and 2,636 staff members.
New COVID cases had been on the rise through the holiday season and the omicron surge, but began to decrease after Jan. 13, when 48,414 were reported. From around the start of March, though, cases have been ticking 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.